How to Hear God’s Voice
It Is Your Right to Hear God
Many don’t actually believe they have a right to hear God’s voice. They presume we somehow were meant to muddle through life, hoping we are pleasing God. That’s not the way the Bible states things should be:
“He who belongs to God hears what God says” John 8:47
If you belong to God, then you can and should hear his voice. It’s your right to hear him moment by moment, day by day. He is ready to help and counsel you in all things. He wants to guide you in your preparations to lead worship and in your leadership during each meeting.
You Hear Him Already
What you must realise is that, though you may say you don’t hear God’s voice, you actually hear him already. Let me prove it to you: How do you know you are saved? You “just know” right? My dear friend Paul Gutteridge, says that you know it in your “Knower”! How do you know when you’ve done something wrong? Once again; you “just know” it in your “Knower”. It’s a spiritual thing. You can’t chalk it on a blackboard or explain it easily, but in your spirit you know things.
Have you ever met someone you’ve never seen before and “felt” something about them – that they’re good, or bad? It’s the “baby” stage of discernment. You’re starting to listen to God and his Spirit at work in you. We have to take these simple beginnings of “hearing” and invest time in tuning our spiritual ears to hear God’s voice, until we can hear him about specific things, using that sense of “just knowing” in your “Knower”.
Faith For Hearing
Romans 12 verse 6 tells us that we “prophecy according to our faith”. One meaning for that phrase is that we will prophecy (hear God and speak out) to the degree that we believe we can. In other words, if you don’t think God can speak to you, you won’t experience it. If you do, you will.
A while ago I was ministering in a meeting and God pointed out a young couple and told me to prophecy over them. They were wonderful to prophecy to, because as I ministered to them they kept saying “Yes, yes, yes that’s right”! The more they encouraged me that I was correct in my prophecies and words of knowledge, the more my faith grew, until I was becoming quite accurate in the things God was showing me for them.
As the prophecy continued I was talking about their daughter, how she looked, what God was saying to her, where she worked etc. I was full of faith and hearing God according to the measure of my faith, which was increasing all the time! Then it happened: God said to me “..and her name is..”. Suddenly fear gripped me. I screeched to a halt and I said to God quietly “Lord, you can tell me what she looks like: There are only a few different hair colours! You can tell me where she might work: There’s a one in a hundred chance to get it right. But Lord, her name: That’s one chance in thousands! I could blow it all!” I turned to the couple and said “What’s her name?”. Of course it was the name I had thought and heard. By then though, it was pointless me sharing that fact!
Fear had paralysed me and immediately cut off my ability to hear. Why? Because I believed I could hear about how someone looked, or what someone did, but I didn’t believe I could hear someone’s name. You will hear God to the measure that you believe you will hear God. How much do you believe you can hear God right now?
In order to grow in our ability to follow the Spirit, we must develop our faith and sensitivity. Personally I spend time most days with a pad and a pen, listening to the voice of God. I sit down, pen in hand, and just start to write what I think God might be saying to me. Irreverent you might think, but actually, if you think that you have God’s Spirit inside you to the point that the Bible says you are “One spirit with him”, then it is no wonder that God’s wisdom is stirring in your life.
I started doing this in 1990 at the instruction of a wonderful man of God. It actually played a large part in birthing my ministry, as for several months I spent four hours a day writing down what God was saying to me regarding my future.
Not only that, but I began to share with other people things God was saying to me about them. I think I was more amazed than them at how accurate some things were! That’s when I realised hearing God’s voice is meant to be a natural part of our daily walk.
I’d encourage you to sit down and start to develop your sensitivity to God’s voice every day if you want to lead God’s people. Simply start to write down what you think God might be saying to you. Ask questions and write down what you think he is saying. Stretch your faith. Be bold! Don’t sit around waiting for a great booming voice. God doesn’t speak with an audible voice too often. I’ve only heard his voice audibly a couple of times in thirty years. Most of the time it’s just a feeling – a knowing – deep down. I sometimes call it a “peace filled hunch”. The more I go with that “peace filled hunch” and listen to God, the more I hear.
How Do You Know it’s God?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything you hear, think or feel is from God. Part of our practice of developing sensitivity is to learn what is of God and what is not. Here are five basic tests to hearing from God:
- Does it Display the Fruit of the Spirit? Matt 7:15-20/Gal 5:22 Does it have the nature of God? Loving, kind, compassionate, even if it has some discipline included.
- Does it Give God the Glory? 1 John 4:2-3 Does it glorify Jesus as Lord, or someone else (e.g. is it hugely self-centred)?
- Does it Submit to the Counsel of Many? James 3:17 Is there anyone mature who can confirm the word?
- Does it Draw you to Jesus? John 16:15 Anything that is of God will draw you towards him in ever deepening relationship.
- Does it Line up with the Word? Titus 2:1 Does is line up with the nature and character of God displayed in the Word of God?
Develop your sensitivity to God’s voice and you will discover the greatest tool available to you as a leader and a Christian. Without God’s voice we are like people walking in darkness. In that dark land the Bible is nothing more than a set of rules we are trying to keep to serve God. That has never been God’s plan for us and never will be. His passion is for an intimate relationship of love, communion and communication.
Hearing his voice will connect you with his power and purpose for your life. By hearing and obeying you will release his glory into your meetings and worship times. Every time you submit to that small, God-connecting command, no matter how simple, then God’s purposes will be released, and you will be walking in the Spirit, instead of imitation or liturgy. This is where the adventure begins!
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