How many times have you heard this verse? "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) And how many sermons have you listened to which included one or more of the following terms: sin, backsliding, lack of faith, out of God's will or doubt? Do you see the correlation between the two extremes? In one we hear God and do it, and the other, we have obviously missed it.
Any good evangelical can focus on sin, and what's wrong with your "walk." But I always think there is more fruit when we focus on what to do now! You can beat yourself later with the your sins of omission (stupidity). For now let's think about a solution to the problem of hearing God.
John Wimber once said, "The Christian has two problems. One is hearing God, and the other is not hearing God." When God doesn't speak, we won't know what to do, or when to do it. When He does, then we are responsible for whatever it is that He has spoken to us.
God speaks in many different ways, there is a list HERE if you need one.
First let's tackle the problem of not hearing God. Let's consider this verse in John. "I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me. The sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice…." (John 10:14) The implication is this. If we are saved, we should know God's voice. The problem is in not hearing it. Before we condemn ourselves for not knowing how, or not hearing His voice, let's take moment and look at why we wouldn't recognize the voice of someone in the natural.
- We don't know them, or have never heard them before.
- They are not speaking loudly enough, or we are not listening carefully enough.
- We are listening for the wrong thing.
- We are not accustom to listening.
- We are doing all the talking.
- There is interference.
- There is too much noise.
- We need to turn up the volume.
- We've been texting, but not having a real conversation (Just reading the word.)
I could write 10 blogs on how to be better listeners, how to make room for God in our lives, or how to pray-- and I may. But don't you want to hear God today? Here are some steps to take to make that happen.
- Time: To hear God, is to know Him. It is going to take time-- otherwise you'll just be in doubt.
- Understanding: To hear God, means that you have to learn how He speaks. Here I can tell you, it is most often the "still small voice" It will be a whisper in your spirit. So, be sure to find a way to tune into your spirit. This is a personal relationship, so for you, it will be different that for me.
- Atmosphere: God speaks all the time, and everywhere. However; He seems to be the loudest when you are soaking in worship, in prayer or in some sort of meditative time. This could be at work, at home, in jail (as with Paul) or any other place where you have learned to tune in to His spirit.
- Anointing: I have written about the manifest presence of God; the here and now presence not the abiding presence of God. In His manifest presence, there is often a specific thing that He will speak. These are rich times for many Christians, times that make knowing Him even more valuable.
- Sovereignty: God speaks when, and where He pleases. Sometimes we pass through a desert time-- but even there, we can receive water from a rock.
Hearing God is work, but once you begin-- once you become accustom to Him-- you Christianity will become so much more real.