by Richard C. Wilson
I believe we hear the voice of God from birth because we come from God to earth. All children come from the heart of the Father, carrying His DNA, created in His image. We are born to hear His voice, but because of the fallen world we are birthed into, most of our environment is filled with that which will cover over the voice of God and make it unrecognizable.
Blood-redeemed believing parents should build an environment that continues to help children recognize the voice of God. The call of parenting is to produce an environment where Holy Spirit is free to accomplish His function. The Holy Spirit will reveal the mysteries of the Father.
John 16:13 -15 – “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. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
It is His voice that draws us to Christ.
John 6:43-45 – “Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”
Let me start at the beginning. I believe it was God’s voice in me that gave me the desire to please Him. That voice took me to the place that I saw I could not please Him in my own strength. At age 22, His voice led me to the revealed truth of “Christ in me.” It was no longer my strength, but His strength living in me. Now the new journey began. I remember the hunger for relationship with God, that “first love”. I knew relationship involved communication with each other. I would start each morning reading in the gospel of John. I would talk to God, ask questions then listen for Him to speak. For example, I would ask Him who I should talk to that day in my circle of friends. I would hear a name come into my thoughts. It was a simple devotion to Christ with a child-like believing. I then obeyed what I heard Him say, knowing it was by His power in me. In the book by Steve Shultz, “Can’t You Talk Louder God?” he states, “Since Christ lives in you, you cannot help but hear Him – That is, it’s simply impossible not to hear Him speak. Since you are God’s creation inhabited by God and Holy Spirit, how can you not hear Him speak?” [i]
Over the course of the last 37 years being involved the ministry, there have been many seasons of “doing” that the simple “being” in relationship with God has been covered over with busyness. Yet His voice always draws me back to that marvelous relationship. God loves to commune with His children. He knows when to listen and when to speak. He has much to say and we need to hear. I think what He has to say at any given time is more important that what I have to say.
Scripture makes it clear that we can hear His voice.
John 10: 1-5 & 14-16 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
John 16:13 – “The Holy Spirit was sent to lead us into “all truth”.
How does the Holy Spirit lead us? Holy Spirit will speak your language, often in your thoughts and also by impressions. The Holy Spirit also causes the written word to come alive to me and this becomes God’s voice.
In his book, Steve Shultz said it like this: “Are you an electrician? Then expect God to speak to you in electrical analogies when you dream, etc. Are you a scientist? Then expect test-tube dream and scientific analogies. Are you a gardener? Expect to hear about ants, shrubs, plants, roses and insects when God speaks. Mysteriously, God sounds much like you – since He speaks to you in your own language. This is why Peter thought he was hearing from God one minute and wasn’t hearing from Him another minute; even so he was hearing from God. The sound will often sound like your own voice speaking within your own head.” [ii]
This is also from Steve Shultz book. “A few – a very few of the hundreds of ways in which God speaks to His children – are listed here:
- A knowing in your “knower.”
- Dreams for yourself or others
- Visions – in your mind’s eye – or open eyed visions
- Feelings in your senses
- The voices and counsel of others
- “Coincidences”, otherwise known as “divine appointments”
- A quickening of Scriptures, and other words or pictures
- Signs along the way
- Songs that are suddenly heard or come to your mind
- Open and closed doors
- A sudden memory
- A voice in your mind or thoughts
- An actual, audible voice
- A sign or a wonder – supernatural events”[iii]
These are some other things I have found helpful in hearing God’s voice:
- It will always line up with Scripture, but not necessarily your interpretation of Scripture.
- It will come as an invitation, leading you not driving you.
- It is often personal, for you right now.
- It will be full of hope even if it is direct and strong. You will be built up, encouraged & comforted.
- His voice will cause faith to arise in you.
- His voice is that of a marvelous heavenly Father. This can be hard for you to grasp if you have had an abusive father.
- His voice may bring strong conviction but not condemnation or false guilt.
- Even in His strictest warnings there will be His life and solutions.
- There is a right “fear of the Lord” that will cause us to know Him more.
- His voice is corrective with direction given.
- God loves to talk to you through what is around you, “Consider the lilies.”
- God speaks to you at your worst or you would not come back to Him. His voice draws you back.
Luke 15:15-20 – “The father’s voice was being released long before the prodigal son returned home. A good father never cuts his children off from his loving voice.”
Jim Chosa gives this insight from his online school curriculum: “How do we know the Holy Spirit is leading us? The love of God flows within and through the spiritual heart to undergird the action (way) Holy Spirit is leading one into. Note: if the Holy Spirit wants something of God’s Word to happen within or through you, He will lead you, by power, into the Word. He never, never drives, coerces, dictates or demands someone to do something or believe something. He knows all about the sovereignty of God within you and He will NEVER violate it. NEVER!!! And He never manipulates you either!”
Mark Virkler gives these four keys to hearing God’s voice:
Key #1 – God’s voice in our hearts sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts, feelings, visions or impressions. Therefore, when I tune to God, I tune to spontaneity.
Key #2 – I must learn to still my own thoughts and emotions, so that I can sense God’s flow of thoughts and emotions within me. As I fix my gaze upon Jesus(Heb. 12:2), becoming quiet in His presence, and sharing with Him what is on my heart, I find that two-way dialogue begins to flow. Spontaneous thoughts flow from the throne of God to me, and I find that I am actually conversing with the King of Kings.
Key #3 – As I pray, I fix the eyes of my heart upon Jesus, seeing in the spirit the dreams and visions of Almighty God. The most obvious prerequisite to seeing is that we need to look. Daniel was seeing a vision in his mind and he said, “I was looking…I kept looking…I kept looking” (Dan. 7:1,9,13). Now as I pray, I look for Jesus present with me, and I watch Him as He speaks to me, doing and saying the things that are on His heart. Many Christians will find that if they will only look, they will see. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. It is as simple as that. You will see a spontaneous inner vision in a manner similar to receiving spontaneous inner thoughts. You can see Christ present with you in a comfortable setting, because Christ is present with you in a comfortable setting. Actually, you will probably discover that inner vision comes so easily you will have a tendency to reject it, thinking that it is just you. (Doubt is Satan’s most effective weapon against the Church.) However, if you will persist in recording these visions, your doubt will soon be overcome by faith as you recognize that the content of them could only be birthed in Almighty God.
Key #4 – Journaling, the writing out of our prayers and God’s answers, provides a great new freedom in hearing God’s voice. God told Habakkuk to record the vision and inscribe it on tablets…(Hab. 2:2). You will be amazed when you attempt journaling. Doubt may hinder you at first, but throw it off, reminding yourself that it is a biblical concept, and that God is present, speaking to His children. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you do, you become tense and get in the way of the Holy Spirit’s movement. It is when we cease our labors and enter His rest that God is free to flow (Heb. 4:10). Therefore, put a smile on your face, sit back comfortably, get out your pen and paper, and turn your attention toward God in praise and worship, seeking His face. As you write out your question to God and become still, fixing your gaze on Jesus, who is present with you, you will suddenly have a very good thought in response to your question. Don’t doubt it, simply write it down. Later, as you read your journaling, you, too, will be amazed to discover that you are indeed dialoguing with God. [iv]
In conclusion, as we mature in our spiritual walk, we need to grow more attuned to God’s voice and the way he speaks to us personally. Each of us will find ways in which we hear God more readily and more clearly. We need to develop an expectancy that God will speak to all of us every day and must learn to make space in our lives to listen to God.
[i] Steve Schultz, Can’t You Talk Louder God, (Destiny Image 2007) p.34
[ii] Steve Schultz, Can’t You Talk Louder God, (Destiny Image 2007) p. 92
[iii] Steve Schultz, Can’t You Talk Louder God, (Destiny Image 2007) p. 95
[iv] Mark Virkler, “You Can Hear God’s Voice” (Communion with God Ministries) pamphlet
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