Have you heard God speak to you?
Author Steve Thompson once said, “The fact that God is the Word reveals that He is a communicator.” If we learn to position ourselves before the Lord to listen, and we learn to walk in intimacy with Him, most certainly He is going to speak to us. Everyone who is born again has heard the Lord speak; otherwise, we wouldn’t have been born again (see John 6:44). The question, however, is can we learn to hear the Lord speak on a consistent basis? If Moses was so intimate with God that he spoke with Him “mouth to mouth,” can’t we learn to live that close to God (see Num. 12:6-8)? I realize that there are times when God may seem silent. Yet, even when God’s voice seems distant I believe that we can maintain intimacy with Him where we hear Him “speak in the silence.” There are occasions when Cindy and I are reading together in the same room and while no conversation is ensuing, being together communicates our love and affection for each other. My point is that we can maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord where His thoughts are ours (see 1 Cor. 2:16).
How does God communicate with us? Thompson indicated that there are two levels of communication. Lower levels of communication include mental or spiritual impressions, perceptions, gentle internal visions, and the still, small voice of God that we hear in our spirit. Higher levels of communication include open visions, angelic visitations, visitations of the Lord, vivid dreams, trances, being caught up in the Spirit, and other less subjective prophetic experiences. Both levels are evident in the Bible and with that backdrop in mind, let’s walk through some basic methods in which God speaks to us or ways in which we can hear Him speak.
First, God speaks by His own voice. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice.” God actually speaks to His people, so there will be times when you hear His voice very clearly. There have been those who have heard the voice of the Lord audibly (see Acts 9:4-6). No doubt that Paul (Saul) heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him, and his life was forever transformed. My friend Dan Bohi heard the audible voice of the Lord tell him to preach the gospel until he dies. Other people sense the voice within their spirit and they know that the Holy Spirit is speaking to them. Intimacy with the Lord creates a familiarity to His voice, and therefore, we’re likely to recognize it more readily.
Pay attention to subtle promptings from the Holy Spirit, too. Sometimes we rationalize away the voice of the Lord because it seems too mundane. Once I sensed the voice of the Lord instructing me to move a chair that had been pushed out from under the table. Thinking it was too casual to be the voice of the Lord, I didn’t follow through only to watch someone stumble over the chair a few minutes later. Over time, by walking with the Lord I have learned to trust that my thoughts are His thoughts, and if you desire to please Him, then trust that your mind is being renewed to think His thoughts. That is what it means to delight yourself in Him until His aspirations become yours (see Psalm 37:4).
Second, God speaks through the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13). The word guide (hodegeo) means to lead or to specifically show the way. Rick Renner said that this word “guide” refers to someone like a personal tour guide who leads you through the exploration of a city, cavern, or the wilderness. As they take you through various sights, they instruct you and teach you everything that you need to know. The Holy Spirit directs and guides our lives moment by moment. In fact, Jesus said that He will lead us into all the truth.
I like the phrase in John 16:13 that says, “He will speak.” The Holy Spirit does speak, and often He will disclose things that are yet to come. You will sense the guidance of the Holy Spirit many times throughout the day if you turn your affections toward Him. Have you sensed His guidance in your life? A friend of mine has a ministry that is established on the simple idea that the Holy Spirit will guide her into extraordinary ministry opportunities if she’ll just listen and obey. One time the Holy Spirit prompted her to drive to a specific city, down a certain road, and to a specific hospital. He led her to the waiting room to look for a woman in an orange sweater. What was the result? She ministered to and gave Jesus away to the woman whom she had never met before. The Holy Spirit desires to guide your life into some extraordinary ministry opportunities if you’ll listen and follow His guidance.
God loves His kids and He will speak to us in a variety of ways. Let’s remain close enough to Him to know how and when He’s speaking. Next week, we’ll look at more ways that God communicates to us.
Jesus, help us to lean in to you and to incline our ear to what you’re saying. We want to hear you speak and we want to sense your Spirit’s guidance. Thank you for communicating with us, in Jesus’ name, amen.