One main source of struggle and confusion almost every Christian faces today is in how to hear the Voice of God. Many feel God would never talk to them; many falsely use God's Name to get what they want (God said..."); many follow their own desires, thinking it must be God because their heart so desires it; many simply think the days of God speaking to us individually are long since gone—and that God's Voice was for Biblical times, before we had His Word. So, in all of our questions about God's Voice, our starting place must obviously be to determine once and for all that God does still speak today because it would be a waste of time to try and hear Someone we do not believe is even speaking, or Someone we don't believe wants to speak to us especially.
So, without exhausting every possible point and verse we could offer on the subject, we will give just a few solid and Biblical answers to this question first: What was God's ultimate Goal in Dying for our sins? To reconcile us to Him and restore fellowship. And though we are still imperfect, how does He see us through the Blood of Christ? As Christ! Does God have Fellowship with Christ? Are we His Precious Beloved, now won back to Fellowship? Does God love us dearly and call us His Inheritance? Does He want, and Promise Special Fellowship now with those who love Him? John 14:16-21. Does He Promise to literally dwell in you? Does He Promise to reveal Himself to us in an individual and unique way if we listen to Him? Psalm 32:8. Does He Promise to guide and teach us in our lives? Does Scripture not say that God alone draws a man to His Salvation? That God alone gives us the will and the power to do good? Philippians 2:13. That the Spirit in you is the one who Illuminates Scriptures to you? John 16:13; 1 John 2:27. His Word says the Spirit now lives in our hearts to give Peace, Draw us to Salvation, Confirm our Salvation, Teach us, Comfort us and Direct us. How can the very Spirit of God indwell your soul and do all of these things without speaking to you? Individually, personally? We could have skipped all of these verses and gone straight to this verse, which proclaims His unmistakable Will outright and kind of settles it completely [but what fun would that have been?]: John 10:14-27. With all of this Scriptural Evidence; with all of the things God Promises to communicate with us about on an individual basis; if you and I are not hearing Him, who do you think the problem lies with—Him or us? We not only can hear, we must hear to do anything for him in our time and place.
After studying everything I was hopeful to communicate about Hearing God in our personal lives, I realized how perfectly it all fits into the picture of gardening. So if you will allow me to do so, we will follow the pattern Jesus Himself used when Teaching and use a Parable. This lesson is different than any I've ever studied or taught about on the subject of "Hearing God" before because I've come to realize people do not need to be taught how to hear God. If You really want to hear Him; if you are really prepared to hear, you won't be able to miss Him. But these two words—want and prepared—are where the true focus and work needs to be. And I promise you, some will Hear God as you've never felt possible. With that thought in mind, let’s see where we seem to be missing God. There are two Words used to represent the Word of God in the Greek--Logos (General, Complete Written Word of God; it represents the Thought, Reasoning and Character of God; it means the Power and Knowledge behind All Things [It is the Word John used to also describe Jesus Himself in John 1:1]; The Written Expression of the Essence of God): Acts 6:7 and Rhema (directly spoken word referring to a specific topic; literally means "utterance”; This is A Word spoken directly to someone from God) Luke 1:38. This is where so many people will miss hearing God's Word or be completely misled in what they think they are hearing. A Word from God (Rhema) to you personally will never, under any circumstances contradict, add to, or twist His already given Commands in Scriptures (Logos) [there are zero exceptions to this truth]: Galatians 1:9; Hebrews 13:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21. First you must decide that you truly want God's Will and Wisdom when you are trying to hear Him, and not just get a confirmation of what you already think or want. That means no matter what your emotions may be telling you—no matter how good or right it may look; no matter how badly you want it; no matter how you may justify it in your mind—if God's Word has already spoken about it—that settles it:
You will hear no contradicting message from Him. [You are not an exception; He will not overlook it in your case; He is not working in a new way for your situation]. And if you feel you hear Him saying otherwise, it is your own heart justifying your own wants and ways. We will never hear God when we come to Him with such a self- focused, predetermined heart. Truly attempting to hear God is loving Him so much that you are seeking His Heart and Wisdom as your passion, and Trusting that Heart when you find it, not seeking His approval for what you want, even more than Him. I have seen so many people, even pastors and Evangelists, start with the premise of what they want, and then attempt to twist or change God's Word to mean something other than it does in order to justify themselves. Their hearts are already showing desire for self, not God's Truth when they do this. So, before any of us can seek God's Voice in a personal direction or decision, the first step is to come with a real, and devoted heart to pleasing God no matter the cost, no matter the answer. And the second step is to know everything the Written Word of God already says about the subject before seeking a New Revealed Word personally.
So, just how important does that make it to be in God's Word? Searching God's Wisdom? And just how important is it to be in a church that teaches and preaches the True Word not based on programs alone, worship alone, family ties alone; and not one bent on pleasing men or justifying a cause? These steps alone will answer many questions we want to pray about before we begin. For the sake of illustration and beautiful understanding, if you are a gardener, and God's Revealed voice is the Fruit [Logos] is the seed that is planted. Because nothing will grow from that Seed, but Fruit of that Seed (a watermelon will not grow from a pepper seed), and you must start with the right Seed to get the True Fruit. Your heart's true desire and condition is the soil. If the Seed is not planted in Fertile, Rich Soil, it will die immediately. A Good Sower, will not even waste Seed in shallow or bad soil [and we wonder why He isn't taking sometimes]. And the Sprout that springs from the Seed is the Voice of God which speaks to you individually (Rhema). This Word from God will only sprout with the right Seed, in the right Soil. Do you truly have a heart seeking any Sprout that grows? Did you Plant the Seed deep before expecting a sprout?
In order for a sprout to grow into a Beautiful, Satisfying Vegetable, Fruit or Flower, you must have two more things: protection and patience. If God reveals a clearly defined Word to you, and it begins to take root, immediately, Satan and the world will come to try and dig up the sprout before it even breaks ground. Often telling you things such as: God can't do a work that big in your life; He wouldn't use you like that; you deserve better; this can't be Him; He would want you to be happy; that would be too hard, and cost you too much; He can't be telling you that. God will very commonly call you to do something that is beyond your ability; that does seem challenging to your understanding and faith; that will call you out of your comfort or safety; but He will always have your best in mind—growing you; knowing what will truly make you happy; drawing closer to you than ever before; and teaching you to love and serve others in love. If you hear God telling you something—planting a Seed—protect it with all you have—put a fence around the garden, hang a scarecrow. Don't let anyone steal what God has given you. Even John the Baptist, when in jail facing death for his testimony of Christ, had a moment of doubt in what Jesus told him. The only One allowed to replant a new Seed is the Sower. It's your job to work the Garden until it brings Fruit: Proverbs 4:23.
Which brings us to the second thing: patience. What happens if you plant a seed and come back the next day wanting results? Disappointment! So often we do hear from God, but don't get what we want, or hear in a timeframe that pleases us, so we assume it must not have been God; or we grow impatient and attempt to make things happen our way; or we get weary and angry at God and walk away from the Garden. A True Gardener takes real pleasure in the act of working and caring for the Garden, not just in the fruit. God only speaks to us to have fellowship and grow us in our faith and ability. In other words, God lets us plant so we can become Great Gardeners. A wonderful part of receiving a real answer—a real Word from God—is watching expectantly for how He will make things grow; looking for the signs of the sprout popping out; watching the fruit come to maturity in amazement; keeping your communication and excitement alive with Him as He works the whole way through instead of growing frustrated and faithless, and never seeing His answer: Psalm 105:2-5. His Word to you doesn't change because it is difficult, or because it takes longer to see how or why than you thought. You have to keep the weeds from forming and choking the sprout, in prayer and heartfelt seeking. The Holy Spirit keeps water and fertilizer in the soil to grow the Seed into a Sprout (Voice, circumstance, others). You can't walk away and leave the fruit to rot on the ground because you got impatient or tired. And you have to consider these following things as well, when trying to grow in "Listening To God's Voice." First, coming to God in hopes of hearing His Voice is not just rubbing a lamp or looking into a crystal ball for our benefit. It should be done with a personal desire to find out the heart and purpose of our God; to see how He is working in our lives; to see what He has in store for us; so we can get into the plan that He has crafted for us; to be a part of His work; to trust His ways are better, and work to find them. If that is not a major reason you have come to Him for an answer, you are not living your life for Him in the first place: Ephesians 2:10. Secondly, if you know you are too emotionally involved to be impartial to what God says in His Word or in His Personal answer; be wise enough, be honest enough, be Biblical enough to seek Godly counsel about what you feel God is saying. And if that counsel is Biblically sound...
from someone who cares, follow it, regardless of feelings, in faith and love for God. 1 Samuel 25:32-33, 35. Even in all of David's favor with God, he recognized that his own feelings had stifled the sound of God's Voice in this circumstance and heeded advice. We sometimes need to follow his wisdom in our own emotions. Thirdly, if you truly have trouble feeling that God would ever answer you individually, even if He does answer some people, remember Who He is—the God Who is Unchanging, Faithful, Impartial—and Died to draw near to you. And remember who you are to Him. You are not what you do, or don't do right. You are not what others think you are. You are not just who you are with or who you are not with. You are not what you have, or don't have; not what you know or don't know; and not what you are gifted with, or not gifted with. Let God tell you who you are in Him: John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Galatians 4:7; Zephaniah 3:17; Song of Songs 7:10. You are a coveted, blood-bought, forgiven, intimate child of God—who can hear His Voice because He said you could; who can be used because of what He did to make you clean; who can have the faith and ability because He gives it. Trust what He has done and what He will do, instead of yourself, and come boldly, expectantly to Him when asking in prayer. He took Great Sacrifice and Care to Win our Right to Hear Him Personally. Use that same care, sacrifice and reverence to Hear Him, and see what Rhema grows from that Seed.
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