When hearing the voice of GOD, we have to have discernment.
It takes discernment to spot closed doors and open doors.
It takes discernment to recognize God-given dreams.
It takes discernment to know which desires are from GOD.
It takes discernment to obey the promptings of GOD.
It takes discernment to put pain into perspective.
It takes discernment to read people.
In some ways, having more discernment is like learning a new language. It is something that has to be developed. Think of it like this: learning a new language can be frustrating at first, and it requires a willingness to sound a little foolish. But if you keep listening, the language explosion will eventually happen.
Babies have to hear their parents repeat sounds thousands of time before they are able to enunciate those sounds. My 2 year old hears me say my wife’s name (Jackie) all the time. So what does she do? On occasion she will call her “Jackie,” which is totally counter-intuitive to what they are taught, which is calling us “Momma & Daddy.” But kids do what they hear as much as they do what they are told.
We have numerous opportunities daily to hear the voice of GOD. But how do we know it's Him? Here is the thing about opportunities: it's not an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. That is one way to discern if it is from Him. GOD will never lead us to do something that is contrary to his good pleasing and perfect will according to the Bible.
Scripture doesn’t reveal logistics, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t nuance whether we should do this or that, whether we should go here or there. Scripture gives us guidelines, but the Holy Spirit is our guide.
So the priceless question is: How do I hear the voice of GOD?
You have to be in a constant relationship with Him. The better you know Him, the more likely you are to hear Him. Just like with our spouse, we have to cultivate a daily relationship with GOD. Get to know him more and more each day. And how do we grow that relationship?
Anything worth doing usually takes time.
Think about this: How long would your marriage last if you just saw your wife once a week for less than 90 minutes? Not very good. So how can you expect to be in a growing relationship with our GOD if our only interaction with him is at Church?
Not going to happen. We have to be in contact with Him DAILY. If Jackie and I talk and spend time daily, we will know each other better. The longer we know each other, the better I know her. Make a daily appointment with GOD and don’t break it. Spend time reading, praying, and worshiping so that you can be closer to Him. Start small, 10-15 minutes a day and build from there.
If you want your muscles to get stronger, then you have to get uncomfortable. You have to push yourself beyond the point of feeling fine. Same is true with your relationship with GOD. You have to challenge yourself to do things you have never done before.
- Read the Bible cover to cover.
- Pray – sit down, pace, kneel, stand, write, whatever - but talk to GOD. Tell him your wants, needs, and desires.
- Worship - Turn on music. Sing (or imagine singing) and worship GOD.
Most of this is outside your comfort zone. I get it, and you may even be a little scared. Here is my advice: DO IT SCARED. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will get, and the more comfortable you get, the more you will be thinking about your relationship with Him.
MENTOR / ACCOUNTABILITY
Get someone who you know is in a good relationship with GOD. Ask them to teach you and help hold you accountable to doing those things. Have them ask you if you are spending time with GOD. Have them ask you if you are reading your Bible. Also, have them recommend what books to read in addition to your Bible. Ask them:
- What do I need to read in the Bible?
- How do you read your Bible?
- How do you pray?
A solid mentor can help with all of these items.
Understand that any relationship is hard; spouse, friend, brother, sister. They all have their ups and downs, mostly because the human race is fickle and emotional. But GOD is not human; He is consistent, always there, and always wants to see you and talk to you. The hard part about your relationship with GOD is going to be predicated on how much time and effort YOU put in.
Before we end, also understand that there is a time and place for sermons, podcasts and listening to others and their relationship with GOD. All of those things should lead you to action, not just listening. Listening to those who listen to GOD is no substitute for seeking Him yourself. If you become reliant upon others for inspiration, that’s called spiritual codependency.
GOD wants to speak to YOU.
Some of this content is from Mark Batterson's book, WHISPER, but some it is also from my own experience.