Wellness of Soul - Bob Sawvelle

Principles to Hear God’s Voice, Part 1

To walk faithfully with God, live victoriously, and fulfill your purpose, you must know the Lord intimately and recognize His voice. Throughout the Bible, we read how God frequently communicated with His people and how important it was for them, and for us today, to obey His word.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will provide important principles to hear God’s voice. The result of hearing the Lord’s voice is robust faith and confidence through the contradictions of life.

After recounting with the children of Israel God’s miraculous provision of manna (bread like food) during the 40 years in the wilderness, Moses declares how God,

“… humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut. 8:3 NKJV

Moses is plainly telling Israel and us today, it is more important for us to live by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” than being concerned about food. Therefore, just as we eat food daily, we need to read God’s word and hear what God is communicating to us each day.

As I will develop in this series, hearing God’s voice is more than just reading the Bible, though this is foundational and where we begin. But it is also learning how God communicates by the Holy Spirit to us, through both the Bible and His gifts (1 Cor. 12).

Jesus reiterated the importance of God’s word while being tempted by the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4. After being led of the Spirit into the wilderness and praying and fasting for 40 days, the enemy comes and tempts Jesus to command stones be turned into bread. Jesus responds,

It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4 NKJV

In this case, the English word for word is from the Greek word rhema. Which means the communicated message. The other Greek word for our English word, word, is logos. Which is the message, or the written word of the Bible. Jesus takes the written word (Deut. 8:3) and by the Spirit, uses it as a weapon against the enemy to thwart His temptation.

So, learning how by the Spirit to hear what God is communicating from His written word as well as inspired utterance, is vital to pray effectively and stand against the schemes of darkness.

For example, Psalm 46:1 declares “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV) In times of trouble, whether personal or international issues, we can hear God’s voice for our situation, pray confidently, and stand in faith believing for God’s care and help! Being confident in God’s voice empowers us through every situation and season in life.

The Psalmist later declares, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Know is from the Hebrew yada which means intimate knowledge of, like Adam knowing Eve in Genesis. To paraphrase, God is saying, “Cease from striving, be confident because of your intimate relationship with Me!”

David knew this because he knew God intimately. David knew the depths of God’s love, faithfulness, and protection.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.” Psalm 27:1,3 NKJV

Why could David be so confident? David chose to live in close relationship with God and learned to recognize His voice and leading.

The Power of the Word

Earlier this year, I taught a series “The Power of the Word.” I examined the parable of the Sower in Mark 4. From the parable,

And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Mark 4:20 NLT

The subject of the parable is both the good ground and the power of God’s Word. The purpose of this teaching is to see God’s Word produce its fullest potential, or 100-times as much in our lives. For that to happen, we must hear God’s Word, believe it, obey it, and act upon it as God leads.

Paul wrote, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV) We read God’s written word; faith grows. We hear God’s Spirit, faith grows. I’ll develop this more. But for now, understand we must HEAR!

It is the responsibility of the hearer to move from a 30-times realm into a 100-times return. This teaching shows the law of increase, here’s how:

We measure everything we hear. When I hear the Word regarding my situation, I determine whether it is received or not, and to what level it is received. I measure everything I hear. The effectiveness of God’s Word is related to how I hear and “measure” God’s promise.

Mark 4:24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.” (NKJV)

“…With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you…” In the ancient world, one would bring to the marketplace containers to purchase measured amounts of food. Bring a pint, get a pint; bring a quart, get a quart. One’s capacity to receive positions them to receive more or become more fruitful!

The way “you” hear it, the way “you” measure and respond to God’s Word, is the measure that it works in your life. You cooperate with God and His Word for increase.

Jesus is telling them, “You will profit from My teachings if you actively listen. To the measure you pay attention to them.” And “as you do, more understanding will be given to you than you could obtain on your own.”

Both God’s written Word (logos) and His inspired Word (rhema), brings forth progressively. 30-times grasp at first, which can lead us to a 60-times understanding. As we press on in Christ, we can move into a 100-times comprehension of God’s Word and truth.

Jesus our Shepherd

In John 10:1-30, Jesus describes how He is our shepherd. How He knows His sheep and they know Him. They hear His voice, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. Further, because He is not a hired worker, He won’t flee when danger approaches the sheep. Rather, He will protect and keep them safe.

In Christ, we are secure, no scheme of the enemy can remove us from His love and care!

Jesus is our shepherd, and He makes it clear, if you are born again, “My sheep hear My voice.” (John 10:27) He wants us to know His voice and follow Him.

Jesus, our perfect example, demonstrated how to live from ongoing contact and communication with Father God. He did nothing on His own initiative, but only did that which He saw and heard the Father doing. What an incredible way to live!

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

There is no formula to hearing the voice of God—I can give some principles, but each of us will hear and communicate with God slightly different.

Learning how to recognize the “language of the Spirit” is vital—Bible, thoughts, words, impressions, vision and encounters—all comprise the language of the Spirit. (I will develop this more next week)

From Genesis to Revelation God continually revealed Himself to His covenant people using dreams and visions. God said we should expect to receive a continuing flow of dreams and visions because the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2

I’ll develop this more next week. Know this, if you belong to Christ, you hear His voice!

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For a deeper look at this topic,  watch the Passion Chuch message “Principles to Hear God’s Voice”

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