Hearing God, Pt. 3

In this series, I’ve been examining how to hear God’s voice. To consistently hear the voice of God builds faith, confidence, and hope.

However, surveys reveal 90% of Christians don’t believe they hear God’s voice.

But if you are a born-again believer in Jesus, He is your shepherd and states clearly in His word you are a sheep who hears His voice (John 10:27). He wants us to know His voice and follow Him.

Settle this truth in your heart, you hear His voice! Learning how to clearly discern God’s voice evolves from spending time with Him in real relationship.

He is the good shepherd who loves us, laid down His life for us, and desires to walk with us in close fellowship and communication.

There is no formula to hearing the voice of God. Each of us will hear and communicate with God slightly different.

Foremost, do you believe you can hear God? If so, how do you hear God? Where do you hear God most often?

In Luke’s gospel, we read how Mary sat at the feat of Jesus and listened to His word. But her sister Martha was busy serving others. Jesus said she was troubled and anxious about many things. (Luke 10:38-42)

Jesus told Martha, “One thing is needed, Mary has chosen the better part.” She quieted herself and chose to listen to Him. Not just teaching, but relationally connecting with Jesus. The Message Bible states, “One thing only is essential.”
Most of us tend to act like Martha, thinking about the “many things” we need to do or can do for God. But what does Jesus want from us? To follow Him and obey Him! It’s so simple, yet we make it complicated.

Paul warned us about being “led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Cor. 11:3

There are many things that can help us grow as Christians. But Jesus made it clear that one essential thing is to have close relationship with Him, whereby we can hear Him. If you have a close relationship with someone, communication is involved.

Fellowship is impossible if we cannot hear Him as well as talk with Him.

Even Jesus lived in close relationship with the Father and could hear His voice. He demonstrated how to live from relationship and communication with the Father.

Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 years in John five. Afterward the religious leaders criticized him for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus responded as to why He healed the man, and that He was in direct communication with Father God to do the miracle.

So, Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” (John 5:19 NLT)

Jesus did nothing on His own initiative, but only that which He saw the Father doing, and heard the Father saying.

Believers in the early church, before there was a Bible, lived in close relationship with the Lord. Before Gutenberg invented the printing press in 15th Century, and Bibles were mass produced, Christians believed in Jesus, “heard God,” and followed Him.

How? The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer, who guide us into all truth as Jesus promised:

However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. (John 16:13CEB)

Notice in this promise how the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and with us, speaks to us and guides us?

The Holy Spirit, One who is just like Jesus, present with us always, is the person of the Godhead who is continually speaking and guiding us as Jesus promised.

The Christian walk is allowing the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer, to guide into all truth, as Jesus promised.

We worship the God of the Bible, not the Bible itself! Scripture is not an end to itself; but points us to God and relationship and communication with Him.

The Holy Spirit illuminates the written word to help us hear God, as well as to our hearts about matters. We are on a journey of discovery as we sit at His feet—listening!

One Thing is Needed

The first and foundational principle to hearing God is relationship with Jesus foremost. Or as He told Martha, “One Thing is Needed!”

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to His word. But what does this look like? It is simply positioning ourselves to focus our attention on the Lord and listen to Him.

Prayer is more about listening to God than talking to Him. What God is after foremost is real relationship with Him. Communion springs out of relationship with Him.

Again, most of are like Martha, worried and distracted by many things. We start thinking about what we can do for God instead of just loving Him from our hearts. Authentic relationships develop from sincere love.

Often, we get things backwards. We hear “three steps to success,” or the “five steps to happiness,” or the “seven steps to a successful marriage.” And somehow think, “If I can then do these, I’ll be successful!”

But one thing is needed. Just one. It begins with simple heart felt love of Jesus. Hearing Him releases His peace and confidence God has this! Keep it simple, don’t over complicate your relationship with Jesus.

Jesus told Martha that only one thing was necessary, and it was what Mary was already doing—listening to His words. He wasn’t going to stop Mary from hearing God’s truth so she could help Martha in the kitchen!

For me, when I discovered the Father Heart of God, my ability to draw near to God and receive from Him changed. I discovered both in the Bible and experientially that God’s heart is one of mercy, grace, and love. He is slow to anger, abounding in mercy.

Like any good parent, He is also my authority and teacher. But above all else He is the Father–my Father! Contrary to the church tradition I was raised in, where God was distant, harsh, and ready to judge.

Do you see God as harsh? Distant? Waiting to punish? Or do you see Him as a loving Father?

The writer of Hebrews states,

… draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help… Heb. 4:16

If we do the “one thing” as Jesus said, here are some of the things we can expect to hear God speak to us:

Words. John 6:63 “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

Faith. Rom. 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Peace. John 14:27 “My peace I give to you.”

Joy. John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Love. Rom. 5:5 “…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Assurance of forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Guidance. John 16:12-13 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Wisdom. Jam. 1:5 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God… it will be given to him.”

Needs Met. Phil. 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Final Thoughts

Next week I’ll continue with this series and give a teaching I heard from another pastor 20 years ago on some practical steps to position yourself to hear the voice of the Lord.

Until then, choose to spend time at the feet of Jesus this week, ask Him what is on His heart and expect to hear from Him!

Bob Sawvelle

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