Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Hearing From God
Is it possible to really hear from God?
If you did hear Him, what would it sound like?
When I was a little girl in Sunday School, I had the understanding that God had talked to Moses (and Noah, and all the other bible story heroes) in an audible voice, just like I would talk to you if you were here. I used to think: "Wow! If only God would talk to me like that!"
But in that church (which was a good church, and I liked it there) I had never really heard a message on how to be born again. I had never heard that there was a Holy Spirit, and certainly not how to hear His voice.
When I started attending Lydia's church, I heard things I'd NEVER imagined. Lydia and the other ladies at church talked about HEARING FROM GOD, like they actually heard His voice.
This was intriguing. They were not talking about hearing Him, like I had been led to believe that Moses heard Him. This was different.
How would I hear Him, I asked. How would I know it was His voice?
Practice, was the answer.
One of those first nights of hearing Him, was at a prayer meeting. I was willing to hear, I was willing to practice, and as I closed my eyes and "listened", I saw a picture of a girl, and I could see her rib cage. Inside of her rib cage, was a dove. A beautiful white bird, and it was trying to get out! I didn't know what it meant, but I knew that I had "heard" something. This confirmed to me that God wanted to speak to all of His people, and that if we listened, we would surely hear Him.
I began to practice "listening" in my everyday life. I would ask God if He wanted me to go shopping that day or not (or some other daily decision). Then I would hold very still, and strain my ears. Sometimes I would feel a kind of pressure in my ear, as if I was trying to hear something and it was outside of my range (?) and I would think: maybe that is God. He is speaking to me.
I think now (that I've grown a bit, and heard from Him more) that perhaps He was giving me a "sign", or a confirmation like that, because He really did want to speak to me, even though I didn't know how to hear. I was listening to Him as though I would audibly hear Him in my ear, but I didn't understand that God is Spirit- if I heard Him speak, it would be in my spirit.
What does that sound like?
Well, I used to think it sounded a lot like my thoughts. At first, I didn't hear much except for that pressure in my ear, but then as I kept practicing, I would hear more. After awhile, when I would pray or inquire about something, I would sometimes hear the chorus to a song- words that seemed to apply to my situation. Eventually it got to the level where I heard Him speak to me in words. I think this was because I was reading my bible so much. His word had come into my heart, and He was using it to speak to me. (That is not weird or wacky- after all, if He gave us His word, the bible, isn't it what He would say to us, if we gave Him a chance to speak?)
But I did struggle for awhile, confusing the voice of my mind with the voice of His spirit in my spirit. After all, they both took place inside me- they both sounded like me! But one day as I was struggling in confusion over something, and asking God to help me, I heard Him reprimand me: "I am not the voice in your head."
Wow! That really helped me: to examine where the thought was coming from, and what was the motive behind it? After all, there are several voices that a person can hear throughout the course of a day.
There's the voice of the flesh. Generally it says stuff like: "I want more, I hate that, I'm so tired," etc.
There is the voice of the mind. It reasons, and argues and ponders. It's always thinking about something!
There is the voice of the emotions (closely tied to the flesh) and it always tells you how you FEEL.
There is the voice of our enemy, satan. He is deceptive. He hides. He tells you He is God, and that what he has to say is nice, and it would be good for you. Occasionally, he will be overt, and threaten you, if the sneaky stuff didn't work. But the bible tells us he will masqerade as an angel of light. He even used the word of God to try to decieve Jesus. But Jesus (who knew the Word) answered him back with scripture, and did not fall prey to the temptation.
As we get to know God through His word, and also our sincere desire and effort to hear from His Holy Spirit, we will find it easier to hear his voice. It will become "second nature".
Post Script. One of the practices that helped me to blossom in hearing God's voice (and yes, I still NEED to practice: to hear more and better) was a piece of advice from Kenneth Copeland's teachings where he suggested that when you read your bible you should substitute the word LOVE everywhere that it says 'God'. Does that make sense? For example, if you took a verse like John 3:16, you would read it like this: "For LOVE so loved the world that He (Love) gave His one and only Son- that whoever would believe in Him, would not die, but have everlasting life."
1 John tells us that God IS love. If we remember that God loves us; that Love wrote the bible; that Love wants to speak to us; then it will clarify the motive of any voice we hear.
Always compare what you hear with scripture. God's word and His Spirit are one, they will never contradict eachother! God will never say anything to you that contradicts His word, or that isn't based in love.