I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8 Amplified
I find it very comforting to know that God loves us enough to make a plan for each of our lives. That plan was formulated before we were born. Nothing about my life and your life is an accident. But here’s the rub – although God’s plan is the best possible path, it’s not always the easiest. We may have to climb mountains and walk through deep dark valleys, but if we follow His instructions, we’ll discover the rewards of living according to His will. That is why it’s important to ask the Lord to reveal His plan to us and to be ready and willing to listen for His direction. Since God has a plan, we can be certain that He wants to guide us into it. In Mark 7:14 (Amplified) Jesus said to the crowd, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying].”. His goal is that we comprehend what He says.
So, how does God speak to us today?
- God’s primary way of speaking to us is through His Word – The Bible isn’t just a good book, it is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and the only source of truth. When we read it, we’re hearing directly from the Lord. All other methods of listening to God must be checked and compared with the Scriptures to determine if we are accurately hearing Him.
- God also speaks to us through prayer – Prayer is our way of communicating with God by talking to Him, but it is also a time to be still and listen for His guidance. Instead of simply running through our prayer requests agenda, we need to learn (a very hard but rewarding lesson to learn) to be still for a while to see if the Lord has anything to say to our hearts. Whatever the Lord chooses to say to us is far more important than anything we might want to say to Him.
- God may speak through circumstances – When a situation is painful, we must remember that hearing from God is more important than our comfort and pleasure. He uses difficulty and suffering to get our attention. In every event, God has something to teach us. Instead of focusing on why the situation has happened, our first question should be, “Lord, what do you want to say to me?”
- Sometimes God speaks to us through other people – It may come in the form of affirmation and encouragement, or even reproof and warning. The Lord may use anyone He chooses to deliver the message – even someone we may not like. No matter the source, we should thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what is said. It just might be the Lord.
God speaks, so how can we identify His voice?
- God’s voice is always consistent with His Word – Any message must agree with what the Lord has already said in the Scriptures.
- His voice is quiet – God speaks to our hearts through His Holy Spirit in an inaudible but compelling way.
- The Lord speaks clearly – If we’ll tune our hearts to Him by setting aside time to read/study His Word and listen for His Spirit to speak, He will give us clear guidance.
How does the Lord get our attention?
- Sometimes He uses a sense of restlessness – Perhaps we have already planned a course of action but then develop an uneasy feeling about it. If we’ll pray and ask God for specific guidance, He might lead us in an unexpected direction.
- At other times God may gently whisper – Although His voice in soft and inaudible, it rings so loud and clear in our spirit that we know we’re hearing from Him.
Why don’t we listen to God? – Simply put, we do not trust Him.
- We may not believe that the Lord speaks today
- We might be afraid of what He will say
- We could be angry with the Lord
- We could have a rebellious spirit
What are the consequences of not listening to God?
- We won’t receive His guidance and will miss out on His plan for our lives
- We’ll listen to the wrong voices, be deceived, and make costly decisions, and forfeit God’s best
- Others will suffer – An unwillingness to listen to the Lord affects not only us but our loved ones and associates.
My prayer for you and myself is that we will develop a sensitivity to God’s voice and we will grow in obedience to His voice.
Pray for me in this area also – Pastor Steve