How to Hear the Voice of God
The Scriptures teach that we hear God’s Voice to us in at least one of five ways. His Voice can come to us through one or two channels or three or four might combine. Sometimes we hear all five.
On rarer occasions the Holy Spirit alone will bear direct witness and clearly impress us. Usually, however, He seems to use the four more “common” channels to teach us and direct us.
To learn how to hear His Voice should be the first passion of every Believer.
Life begins when we listen to “the Voice from Heaven”! I have used the following “Victory Visual” hundreds of times to illustrate this illuminating insight.
The Lord speaks by Scripture, by the mind, by others, by experience and, when best, by His direct impression.
I. The Word Hand:
This is an illustration using the five fingers of the hand to represent how we get Scripture into our life — Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, Meditate. (see Victory Visual #12) An essential grasp of Biblical teaching can only be gained by vigorously practicing these five guidelines:
- First, we should hear the Truth preached and taught. (Romans 10:17)
- Second, we should read many passages for ourselves and be alert to the
power of it to touch us! (Revelation 1:3)
- Third, we must learn how to study the Scripture on our own. Don’t be content with others pouring their bucket of living water on you … dig your own well! New visions and dimensions of tasting Christ’s kind of life will emerge. (Acts 17:11)
- Fourth, the most telling evidence of a Believer’s zeal to know Christ is to test his or her will to memorize many key Scriptures. (Psalm 119:9–11)
- Fifth, nothing is more wonderful to our thought life than having the rich and empowering words of the Father to meditate on. To immediately draw on some verse when you hit a crisis or challenge is instant strength. Meditating on Scripture increases your oneness with the Savior as much as anything you do! (Psalm 94:19)
II. Truth in Our Minds:
You cannot act or decide on anything “in wisdom” unless the knowledge is first in your mind. The Lord gave us a mind in order to think and be responsible. You don’t pray about stopping the car at a red light! The mind is one of our Lord’s greatest gifts. Paul tells us how to think in Philippians 2:5–11 and 4:8–9. Our Lord tells us where “His mind” came from. (John 7:16)
Truth in your mind is the source of true hope!
III. Godly Counsel of Others:
Some of the most momentous decisions I ever made came as a result of heeding the counsel and advice of different people the Lord placed in my life. Verd — who led me to Christ. Bob — who settled it in my heart to
serve the Lord as a Baptist. Harry — the key person in my decision to move to Arkansas. Sid — who told me not to be anxious to move if the Lord was
blessing me where I was! My list is large!
Where would we be without the empowering and enlightening counsel of His “angels” in our lives! We must learn to listen to those who are given the
Lord’s mind about the things that touch us! (Psalm 119:24, Proverbs 15:22 )
IV. Experienced Definitions:
As a six year old I didn’t know what “shock” meant when I was told not to put my finger in the open light socket. But when I was alone I licked my finger so it wouldn’t hurt (!!!???) and stuck it in the socket!!! That was some 70 plus years ago and I haven’t done it since!!!
Experience taught me the meaning of “shock”.
Many other realities need to be “taught by shock” as Believers experiment with the “energies” that confront their lives … health, love, wealth, marriage, friendship, employment, school, children, fear, depression, betrayal, doubt, suffering, loneliness, death of a loved one, success, aging, pressure, contentment, tension, etc., etc.
All of these life encounters … either “good shocks” or “bad shocks” … should drive us to His Voice! The “shock treatments” of experience are powerful
confirmations of truth! (II Corinthians 1:8–9)
V. The Spirit Speaks Directly:
A mother sensed an urgent need to take her three-year-old daughter to the hospital and not delay. The Scripture was silent on the specific health issue. Her mind went back and forth! Her husband counseled, “We can go later.”
Her experience said her little girl looked O.K. But a “Voice” said “Go right now!” and she “knew”!
Midway in the hour long trip her little girl began to have convulsions. Later, the doctor told her that if she had waited 30 minutes longer her child would have died!! Her perforated colon was leaking poison into her body.
Her mind, the Scripture, other people, and even her experience were not specific enough to give this mother a definite yes or no, go or no go! But, the inner Voice of the Spirit impressed her in what she needed to do at the critical moment! (This is a true story in my family.)
The Savior will always speak to us when it is best and needful in one or all of His five ways. Our joyful duty is to practice “learning to listen” until we can hear His Voice in whatever way He speaks! This is why we have The Counselor. (John 14:25–26)
Making good decisions depends on “balanced listening” to all five impressions of our Lord’s Voice. Being partial to only one source leads to
lack of clarity and precision if not serious error!
The more reflective person tends to exalt the Word and/or the mind and is blinded to the proper place of experience and relationships. A person who depends too heavily on feelings, either from what others say or by trusting one’s own experience alone, is robbed of assurance and strength from Biblical revelation and disciplined minds.
Our guiding principle is that the Holy Spirit:
- will speak to us when He thinks it appropriate, and
- will never lead us contrary to His Scripture. (John 8:31; 16:12–15) Scripture cannot be broken. (John. 10:35)
The Believer who cultivates all five sources of the Lord’s Voice will enjoy life as one who receives “the light” to reign over all their circumstances and situations. (John 8:12)
He or she thus displays the fruit of the Christ Life. “… to declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (I Peter 2:9)
Whatever the condition of our world or the level of conflict that is ours personally “we reign while we wait” for our approaching destiny “in Christ.” We see all things from “the commanding heights” and dwell on our Savior’s example. (Hebrews 10:12–14)
Jesus said “I speak only what I have heard My Father tell me!” (John.12:49) Blessed is the Believer who does likewise! If His Voice seems silent then simply read more Scripture and keep listening!
Be alert to these five channels and be a continuous listener! When our Lord decides to speak you will hear His Voice … impactively, empoweringly, and
transformationally! This is what our Lord defined as life in John’s gospel. (6:57,63; 10:10; 17:3) To hear and yield is to “Live Free and Forever”!
A VFC Victory Visual: #10
© Copyright Ventures for Christ Inc., 2012