A great benefit of our salvation is that we are able to listen and hear God speak to us personally. It is not possible to have that close relationship with our loving heavenly father without it. Many find it easy to speak to Him, however there are many who have a difficult time in hearing His voice. Our Father does not intend it to be this way and it is not His intention that we miss what He wishes to communicate with us.
As we learn to hear God’s voice it keeps us secure and is invaluable. There is no necessity to go through life not knowing, and unaware of His instruction and heart towards us. He wants us to have the wisdom of God to guide and protect us.
God wants to speak with us and give us His direction. It’s never God who is not speaking, but us who are not listening and hearing. Jesus said some radical things about hearing His voice. Jesus was speaking about Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep and the only way to enter the sheepfold. John 10:3-5 MSG “The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognise his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”
Notice that He said in verse 3, the sheep recognise his voice. He didn’t say the sheep CAN hear His voice or SHOULD hear His voice. He made the statement that the sheep recognise his voice. Many Christians would wonder about the accuracy of that statement since their experiences don’t line up. However it’s not what Jesus said that is wrong; but that all who have that personal relationship with Him can and will hear the voice of God. Many times they just don’t recognise what they are hearing as being God’s voice. They over complicate their understanding of how easy it is to hear Him. The scripture says 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NIV) for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. We can mistake the voice of the God for our own thoughts, but the voice of the God comes to us in our own thoughts.
There are Christians who are, pleading with God through prayer to transmit answers when the problem is with their receivers. It is important that we ensure our receivers are turned on — we need to believe that God wants to speak and therefore we need to start listening. There are times we need to take time, effort, and focus to hear. How do we listen, firstly stop talking, dispense with the distractions and open our mind to hearing His voice. If we are walking rightly with Him we have to accept as in the scripture above “we have the mind of Christ”. Therefore the thoughts we have are His thoughts. Psalm 46:10 NIV says,“Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s often in the stillness, that we hear the voice of God, although there are times that He speaks even in the middle of our busy life.
God will often speak to our spirits, not in words, but in thoughts and impressions. Then our spirits speak to us in words like, “I believe God wants me to do this or that.” God doesn’t typically say “You do this or that,” but He will impress your spirit to do something, and then your spirit says, “I believe I should do . . .” Therefore, we can miss Gods leading, thinking it’s our own thoughts. Many of us have done something foolish and afterwards said, “I knew that was the wrong thing to do.” We didn’t feel right about our decision, but we followed logic, pressure, or another person’s instruction only to find that our impression was actually God speaking to us.
Many years ago I learnt this lesson a hard way when God had given me a word for the church about my missing friend. I shared this with someone prior to presenting it to the church who told me what to say publicly in addition, as it didn’t at the time seem to make sense. Later that week when my friend was found murdered it became clear that had I given the word as I had it from God without the embellishment, it would have been very meaningful to the church, where as now it was far from helpful. I requested to apologise and correct it publicly as it had been me that had given the word. It was a major lesson learnt that I am only called to listen, hear and be obedient. I must not add to what He has said and instructed.
I am convinced that our loving and gracious heavenly Father speaks to us constantly, giving us all the information and guidance we need in our daily lives. It isn’t a problem with His transmitter; it’s our receiver that may need attention. However we need to know that much in life He expects us to make sensible decisions and enjoy ourselves. We do not become super spiritual and consult Him on every issue in life. I recall asking God a question with regards to a decision, and His reply was “please yourself”. There are issues that He is not concerned with. Do I shop at Sainsburys or Tescos? He is not concerned what you do and many times your decisions are not issues where God’s guidance is required. As we maintain that listening ear we will know His prompting, and know when He is speaking to us. If our receiver is switched on it becomes the norm of our life to hear Him when He is speaking. So let’s have an ear tuned to hear His voice knowing there is so much we can enjoy in our journey of life.