Kevin Johnson, our community pastor, continued his two-part series. He began with an affirmation that it is the very nature of God to speak to us and lead us. Not only in exceptional situations but as a general rule! God is not a single independent entity, but a community of three persons. Community, and therefore communication, is as the foundation of God’s reality.
Kevin Johnson, our community pastor, continued his two-part series about hearing God. He began with an affirmation that it is the very nature of God to speak to us and lead us. This is true not only in exceptional situations but as a general rule! God is not a single independent entity, but a community of three persons. Community, and therefore communication, is the foundation of God’s reality.
Clear the clutter. Obviously, if our lives are so noisy and fast paced that we can hardly hear our own thoughts let alone God’s voice, then we will have to be intentional about creating time and space to hear from God. We all need sacred time and space to relate to God. Recall how Elijah, after participating in the mighty works of God, STILL needed to get away and find quiet, sacred time and space with the Lord.
Once we are positioned to hear from God, there are many different ways this might happen. Kevin focused on three of the most common expressions of God’s voice:
The most common way is through Scripture. The Bible contains the testimonies and the stories of God’s people over the course of thousands of years! We have much to learn about walking with God from such “a great cloud of witnesses”! (Heb. 12:1) Thankfully, we are not left alone with a large book of sometimes complex ideas and relationships. God’s Spirit plays an essential role in helping us discern the voice of God for us today. It is the Spirit that makes the Bible a living word for us today.
God also speaks to us through gifted teachers and close friends. When we align our lives with God and are open to it, we will hear God speak frequently through people around us. Frequently we might get the sense that a message we heard, though delivered to many, perhaps thousands of people, seemed as though it were designed just for our own life circumstances! This again is God’s Spirit working to help us apply the truth to our lives.
Sometimes, like with Elijah, God will speak to us more directly through what some refer to as a “still, small voice.” We have language for this type of communication with God, but we don’t always recognize that it is God who is speaking! Sometimes, what we refer to as our “intuition” can really be God speaking to us in a subtle way. Sometimes we just know that something is right or wrong, but we can’t explain why. This may be God’s Spirit communicating with our spirit (Rom. 8:16), and we just know what to do. Other times, great ideas seem to just jump out at us out of the blue! Again, could be God leading us. Often we can identify these because the idea would never have occurred to us had it not come from God. (Biblical examples of this include: Neh. 1:1-4, 2:11-12; 1 Chron. 28:12.)
We also may get impressions from God that help us see how God is feeling about something. After all, the goal of discipleship is to see the world through the eyes of Christ and respond in the way that Christ would respond. As we become more sensitive to the Spirit, we will get impressions about things to do, stop doing, or change in how we relate to others. Kevin used the example of getting an impression about being more sensitive to his family even while he is working hard on the sermons these past couple of weeks.
But how do we know it’s God speaking and not a bad taco we ate last night? Kevin offered three ways of confirming the voice of God. Just because something passes these three tests doesn’t mean that it must be from God, but it’s a good place to start:
- Does it agree with Scripture?
- Is it consistent with the character of Jesus?
- Check it with trusted, godly friends.
Over time, we may notice that the voice of God has a sense of authority and weight to it. The spirit of it is warm yet firm, not argumentative or condemning.
In all these things, our ability to hear from God is dependent upon our submission to God’s Spirit. Paul calls this walking in the Spirit (Romans 8:5-9). As we walk more consistently in God’s Spirit, these ways of hearing from God will become clearer and more frequent.
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