Sunday, February 10, 2013

Listening To God

"Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or to the left" (Isaiah 30:21)
There are many voices that speak to us in our world today, telling us where we should go, what we should do, and how.  As Christians we know were supposed to listen to God for this kind of direction.  However, many of us are either so confused by the many other voices around us that we cant discern Gods voice, or we may not really have an idea of how to recognize His voice in the first place.

So how exactly do we listen to God?  How can we recognize His voice in the midst of so many competing voices around us?  Ive learned to use at least five basic filters to help me determine which things Im hearing are from God or not.  I offer them to you now: 

1) Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17): Is what were hearing consistent with Gods word?  The voice of God will never contradict holy scripture.

2) Gentle Impressions of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 8:10-11):  Sometimes we sense certain nudges or impressions in our inner heart/spirit that are an indicator of the voice or calling of God.  With practice using the other filters (along with our own experience), well increasingly come to recognize the ones that are from God vs. the ones coming merely from us.

3) Godly counsel from others (Proverbs 11:14):  Sometimes Gods voice speaks through the wisdom and advice of others.  What are others telling you about Gods voice?

4) A sense of Gods peace (Colossians 3:15):  The voice of God can often be determined after the fact by a sense of peace about a decision or direction that youve stepped out on faith to take.

5) “Coincidental” confirmation through circumstances (Matthew 18:16 and Acts 18:1-3):  Sometimes things just “happen” to us at the right time -- timing that seems fortuitous and very coincidental.  In my experience, the eyes of faith help us see that there are really no “coincidences” -- that God works through all things that happen to us in life (even the things that He didn’t cause), and often these seeming “coincidences” are God’s way of confirming our direction; of saying “this is the way; walk in it!”

Of course, it hopefully goes without saying that all of these filters are merely tools that need to be used in conjunction with PRAYER -- intentional time to both talk to God and space to listen for God.  As we practice these more and more, we’ll come to increasingly be able to correctly discern the voice of God in our lives.  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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