This is big...and honestly I think when it comes to our relationship with Jesus this is...everything. When we need to make a decision, when we need wisdom, when we need confirmation we are relying on being able to hear His voice. What I have realized from my own personal experience and from talking with friends is most people don't know if they are hearing His voice or their own, and that most people don't know how to even hear Him. They sit quietly and wait but all they hear are crickets and a few minutes later, they are writing their "To-Do's" for the day or they are thinking about something that happened the day before. It is so difficult to hear Him. So I want to help! Now I am NO expert...this is just me sharing my personal journey and how I have learned to hear Him talk to me. I want to share five truths that I think if we can grasp these, you will begin to hear Him in an intimate and direct way in your life.
1. Know that He is Always Speaking
"My sheep hear My voice." John 10:27
I love this scripture, and to me this means He is ALWAYS talking, we just need to learn to be in tune with hearing Him. I remember often I would pray, "God just speak to me, just tell me what to do." But the truth was that He already was speaking to me. Sometimes I think we ask for things that we already have. We ask for the fruit of the Spirit when we already have them, we just need to claim them. And we ask God to speak to us, but He is. He has been speaking to you every day. It's time now to get your mind and heart wired to hear Him.
2. Understanding Yourself
If we are made in the image of God, then understanding who He made us to be will put us more into alignment with who He is in our lives. For example: I am a very sensitive person. All my life I feel like I have been led to believe that this is a negative thing, a nuisance. I was "too much" and an annoyance or inconvenience. But what I am realizing is that my sensitivities are actually my strength. I am "A Feeler" so I actually can "feel" the Spirit so to say. Being overwhelmed by compassion for someone, sensing that a store or a place I am in is not safe, that maybe I shouldn't watch this TV show, that I feel that I need to hug this person, or pray for someone, or do this or that. The more I am aware of those natural feelings, I am realizing that they are the Spirit directing me. Now if the emotion I am feeling is anger or frustration, clearly those are not of God so that's just my own ugly flesh, but what I am saying is that many times, those feelings are the Spirit speaking to you. Bring those under His authority and watch your relationship with Him blossom.
My husband? Yeah, not a feeler, he is a knower. He knows the Word. The way the Bible comes to life to him just blows me away. And this matches his personality because he loves strategy, puzzles, putting pieces together to make a bigger picture. God made him this way, so when he reads scripture, the Holy Spirit begins to speak to him, that this story in Genesis actually is a parallel to this story in the gospels, and this character is the same as this character and it goes on and on. How has God made you? Be aware of your personality, He is speaking to you in the way you naturally see and experience moments.
3. Find Your Space
We are all so different, and what is so amazing is that the Spirit knows that and He wants to connect with you right in that place. So the key is to find your space. Carve out time every day to connect with Him. It might be your ride to work in the morning. You turn off the music, silence your phone and you dedicate the next 20 minutes to listening and praying and communing with Him. For me, I get up at 6 every day, workout and then go on a prayer walk around my neighborhood. It's hit or miss if my neighbors think I am crazy for talking out loud, but the truth is, I feel Him every morning I do it. And the more it has become a habit, the more I crave it, and the more I expect for Him to meet me there. Find your space, whatever it looks like for you. A comfy chair with a cup of coffee, a walk on the causeway, your back porch, maybe it's your lunch break. Make it a habit, make it a priority. I promise He will meet you there. If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak. Allow Him into your home, your car, your workout, your walk, your morning, afternoon and evening.
If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak.
4. Determine Who is Speaking
We hear more than the Holy Spirit's voice. We also hear our own voice and the voice of the Enemy. It is vital to be able to determine who is speaking. Here are the ways you can differentiate:
5. He Speaks in a Whisper
When I am really trying to teach my children, yelling at them or screaming will never help them gain wisdom. I might "win" the moment but I have lost the opportunity to speak truth into their lives. The Spirit wants to teach us and guide us, but He won't yell. That is not a loving Father, that is not the heart of the Father or His character. It is always in a whisper, it is always in a calm, loving manner. He wants to teach, guide, direct, and lead, but we must quiet the noise of life, the noise in our minds and listen for the whisper.
It might come to you as you read the Bible, it might come to you in feeling, in a sunset, in a word from a friend, a smile from your husband, a laugh from your child, in a vision or dream, but it will always be in the quiet, it will always be in love, and it will always be in alignment with the Word of God.