Our last few blogs have been about receiving the Holy Spirit. Today I want to help you enjoy the relationship with God that we have through the Holy Spirit.
Even though Jesus declared that “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27), it can take us to hear His voice. I want to look at what the Bible offers us to help us understand how to hear God’s voice.
Habakkuk had a problem and he went to his quiet place, a watchtower, to listen to God. Your quiet place may be walking along the beach, your study, your garden, your lounge-chair, in a field like Isaac (Gen.24:63) or a roof-top terrace like Peter (Acts 10:9). Our minds are so full of distracting thoughts that we need to get into a peaceful place so that our minds can be still.
“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.”
Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others” (Hab. 2:1-2).
Did you notice that Habakkuk waited to hear from God? The idea is that he quietened his mind so that God could speak to his heart. Waiting on God is something we read about frequently in the Bible:
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psa. 46:10) or
“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” (Psa. 37:7).
God speaking to our hearts is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians to grasp when he wrote: “ I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (Eph. 1:18).
Now picture that Jesus is actually beside you. David wrote: “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me” (Psa. 16:8).
David told Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (I Chron. 28:20).
Jesus confirmed that when He said, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
The more you can visualise the reality of Jesus beside you, the more you will hear His voice. (Never doubt the power of visualisation in terms of miraculous healing, too).
Now listen. Very rarely you will hear the actual voice of God which may be like a deep male voice, thunderous (Job 37:4-5) or even like what John heard: “a loud voice like a trumpet blast” (Rev. 1:10). Even more rarely you will see Jesus actually speaking to you.
Sometimes you may see a vision or spontaneous flowing pictures. Mostly you will get spontaneous flowing thoughts, like promptings to pray for someone or a creative solution to a problem that you had no idea how to proceed with or how to work on relationships.
Habakkuk was told after waiting on God and listening, to record the words that God gave him. Write in faith without thinking about it and after a few minutes review what you have written. The flow must come from God because He has promised us that “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart” (John 7:38). You actually can have a two-way conversation like this.
Test what you are hearing. Take your journal to someone you respect in the Lord and test what you have written in your journal. Check that what you are hearing lines up with Scripture.
Listening to God is a two-way love relationship that will change your life.
All quotations are from the NLT.