Before modern technology, our home telephones would ring without the modern device of revealing caller identity on our machines before we answered. Very often we would pick up the phone and the caller would say, “Hello Dad/Mum, it’s me”. The parent would instantly know who was calling because they recognised the voice. Have I learnt to recognise the voice of God when He speaks to me?
There are so many voices from the media clamouring for our attention – television, newspapers, radio, family, friends, neighbours, do-gooders. Some may well have good intentions, but they are not the voice of God to me. God may well speak through one of them to me, but we all have to learn to recognise God’s voice.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice”, John 10:27. Learning to recognise God’s voice is a process. At the beginning of this journey we take small steps. In some way we believe God has spoken to us and we obey. The end result will prove if it was God speaking to me, or just my own thoughts. Mistaking what I thought was God’s voice is all part of the learning process. I just have to humble myself and acknowledge to the Lord that I got it wrong. God will not be angry with me, the fact that I did what I did to Him, (and not to seek my own glory), is what matters to Him. God will use the experience as a learning curve for me.
1 Samuel 3 records how the Lord called Samuel as a young boy, whilst he was serving the old priest, Eli, in the temple. Samuel heard the voice of God calling him, but had not learnt to recognise God’s voice. Eli taught him how to respond when he heard it next time. Samuel heard his name but did not recognise the “Voice”. How many of us hear a word, or the Word of scripture, yet do not recognise, or hear, the Voice speaking through it?
The devil quoted the word of God to Jesus, (Matthew 4), but Jesus knew it was not the voice of God to Him. The voice of God is different to the word of God. God often does speak to us through a quickened word from scripture, but even the written word needs that Holy Ghost quickening as He speaks to our spirit. Jesus referred to the quickened word as a proceeding word, God’s voice to direct us on our proceeding way. Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.
God has many ways of getting our attention when either we have not yet learned to recognise His voice, or we have ignored or dismissed it. He can get our attention through our bodies. Our bodies are not our own any more after salvation, we belong to Another. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 “What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, who you have of God, AND YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN. For you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. My body is God’s property now. How do I treat it? If I want to be sincere with God, I can hear His voice through my ailments.
I can hear His voice through circumstances. Things do not just happen. Sometimes they are the consequence of bad choices, but not always. If God has permitted certain events, (not sent them), He requires me to find out what He is saying in them. Look for God in your circumstances, and His voice will direct your paths.
We can hear God’s voice to us in Gatherings/Meetings……in our home life, in worship. He can speak to us through scripture, a quickened word to our spirit man.
The highest is the still, small voice. As we obey that voice, we receive God’s peace and joy, the hallmarks of His presence and confirmation that He is well pleased with His child. Obedience enables us to hear the voice more clearly next time. As we journey on, we learn to differentiate between a word and the Voice of God to me personally.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”. We often quote this well known scripture, focusing on the “Be still”, but the process of being still is for us to learn to know God more intimately in relationship with Him. Getting to know God as He really is can take a lifetime, but God will reward the seeking heart with a deeper, closer walk with Him. Have you noticed how some people are born again and seem to progress with leaps and bounds to a level of maturity, whilst others seem to be always struggling in their walk with the Lord? The difference is humility and a walk of a surrendered life. Surrender is a daily choice. As I choose to surrender my agenda/will when the Lord inconveniently breaks into my day with either people or circumstances, how do I respond? God is always in the detail. My responsibility is to respond to the Lord when inconvenience or adversity arrives, not to oppose. The Lord will show me how to respond, maintain His peace in my spirit, and enable me, in His strength, to live worthy of Him, to God be all the glory.
Is the cry of your heart to really KNOW God? God births these desires in us because, He too, desires intimacy with us. Many of us have sung the words, “Captivate my heart, let your kingdom come, establish there Your throne, let Your will be done….. So often in Christianity Believers have tried to produce doing the will of God in their own strength, trying to fulfil the Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew 5-7). When my heart is truly captivated by Jesus I will allow Him to rule there, then His resurrection life will automatically flow through me and enable me to live the Sermon on the Mount. As I choose surrender, I go out, and He comes in! Hallelujah, glorious day! John 3:30 can become my choice and lifestyle: “He must increase, I must decrease”. Isaiah 9:7 is my inheritance personally, my birthright when I yield my will to His, “…the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end”. What a promise!
There is an intimacy in knowing God that produces conception in me, a creativity, the flow of the life of Jesus Christ. Knowing God and His character, His attributes, produces a stability in my life. Why could Jesus sleep peacefully in the boat when the storm raged around Him? Because He knew His Father, and operating in that knowledge He knew that God was in control. He gave Him the words to calm the storm:”Peace, be still”. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but God’s peace is a “very present help in times of trouble”, (Psalm 46:1).
We desire more fruit in our lives. When God withholds it could be that we have not yet learned to fully trust His Voice. A captivated heart, a surrendered heart will always say, “Amen”, the yes of obedience produces the sweetness and purity of a Christ centered life. God gets all the glory, we receive all the benefits!