In a world full of distractions, it can be a struggle to hear from God.
We may look at others who constantly share about their “God moments” or encounters with God, and wonder why hearing God doesn’t seem to come so naturally for us.
But rest assured, God speaks today and He wants us to hear His voice. How do we do it? Read on.
What does it mean to hear God?
When God spoke in the Bible, it comes in different forms.
Sometimes He spoke out of a storm (Job 38:1), other times it was a gentle call (1 Samuel 3) or whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). God even spoke to Balaam through a talking donkey (Numbers 22:21-35)!
Some of us may find it discouraging that we don’t experience earthquakes when talking to God, but God provides a different, better communication channel today.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
God has given us Jesus, His Son, so don’t have to hope to hear a voice out of hurricanes; we can approach God right now because He speaks to us through Jesus who is revealed in the Bible.
But for those of us who have not yet had the privilege of such experiences, how can we begin to hear from God?
In Habakkuk’s time, the people of Judah were living in fear as Babylon, the nation in power at the time, posed a dangerous threat to God’s people.
The prophet Habakkuk, wrecked with anxiety and anger, climbs the rampart and makes complaints to God on behalf of the people.
Then we read in Habakkuk 2:1: “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
Here, we can see how Habbakuk positions himself in two ways:
First, Habakkuk removes himself from the noise of the city by literally climbing to the highest point of the city which is where he can hear God’s voice most clearly.
He makes the physical effort to get to a place where he can best hear God. For some of us, that might be our bedrooms. For others, it might be the reservoir bench or the carpark rooftop. Whatever it looks like for you, make the effort.
Second, in making the effort to get up to that high place, we see that Habbakuk expects to hear God.
That gives us some insight into what it means to have a conversation with God. We should come ready to speak, and come ready to listen. We should approach God confidently, with faith and expectation we will hear from Him, and with the obedience to follow through with what we are told.
The Word of God
The Biblical Greek translation of “the Word of God” has two terms.
Logos refers to the inspired, written Word of God. Rhema refers to the word God personally and directly gives us.
In other words, it is through God’s Logos word that He speaks His Rhema word to us and into our lives.
Thus, it is vital that we fill ourselves with the Word of God by regularly meditating on His Word. After all, one way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us is by accessing what we store in our hearts and minds and bringing it to remembrance (John 14:26).
Thus, if we truly want the Holy Spirit to guide us, we need a regular intake of God’s Word. We need to be reading the Bible and applying rightly into our lives what it says.
God, my brain or the Devil?
“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)
It can be hard to know where each thought comes from in our minds. Here are two questions we can ask to help discern whether our thoughts are coming from God.
- Does this contradict God’s Word?
- What would my spiritual community say about this?
The Holy Spirit often speaks to us through the Word of God. Any word to us from God would never contradict what is already written in the Bible.
So, if the thought, prompting or word does not conform to or align with the Word of God, it’s not from God. If the thought or idea’s fruit produces anxiety, worldly anger or something that is not of God — that gives us a clue as to who really is speaking.
There is also wisdom in seeking out your spiritual community for guidance when it comes to hearing God’s voice.
Those who are more spiritually mature like our leaders and elders will be able to give us good advice on what we can do better to follow God.
They can also point us in the right direction and correct us if we are on the wrong path or side of things.
If we sense that the Holy Spirit is prompting us, we can also test it by involving trusted brothers and sisters in Christ who will give us counsel and pray with us.
Are you listening?
Ultimately, hearing God is not a passive action but an active one.
Hearing God requires us to intentionally seek Him, physically and spiritually, while immersing ourselves in the Word.
Revelation 3:20 encourages us: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Are we hearing His voice? And are we hearing His knocks?
- When was the last time you heard God?
- What do you think helps or hinders you in doing so?
- Where is a special place you can physically go to and hear from God? Make a habit of doing so.
- What is a verse or a book in the Bible that you can meditate upon and soak in? Do it in conjunction with #3!