Hearing from God
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, who was too full of herself and all she did was talk about things related to her? And finally, when she finished what she had to say and it was your turn to speak, she was least interested, says goodbye and hangs the phone, or gets up and walks away? You would consider her behaviour as rude and insulting and would not be looking forward to any more conversations with such a person.
Sadly, this is how many people interact with God. Most people think of prayer as a monologue where they do all the talking and God does all the listening. Prayer, in fact, is a dialogue between God and you. Wiser is he, who does most of the listening, while God does most of the talking. There is nothing that you can say to God that He already does not know, but God has a lot to say to you, that you know nothing about.
There are those who think that hearing from God is a gift that only a few Christians are entitled to. The truth is that hearing from God is a privilege given to all believers of Jesus Christ. Sadly, many Christians live their lives not hearing anything from God. The primary reason many Christians cannot hear from God is because they are not listening.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:15 ESV). It is obvious that everyone with sound hearing would be able to hear. Nevertheless, this is not in reference to hearing what is said, but rather understanding what has been said. When his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’” (Luke 8: 9-10 ESV).
The secrets of the kingdom of God is given to his followers, but not to any outsider. However, the grace of God continually reaches out to all people, especially those not belonging to the kingdom of God, and when they accept this amazing grace they too will become His followers and disciples. It is then that they will be able to hear and understand, see and perceive.
There are those who think that God does not speak to sinners but only to the righteous. God speaks to all people; sinners as well as righteous. If He never spoke to sinners, they would have never repented of their sins and would have not been saved. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32 ESV). God spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus, while he was a sinner which led him to his conversion and he became St Paul.
However, if a person has continually refused to hear God’s voice and has hardened his heart, then such a person may not hear from God unless he repents. God is gracious towards sinners, nevertheless rejecting God’s grace can harden a person’s heart and make sin a barrier from hearing from God. Therefore, scripture warns us in saying, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15 ESV).
Sin primarily separates us from God, we lose our fellowship with God. Jesus died on the cross in order to restore the fellowship between Our Father and us. Hence, it is important for believers to walk in righteousness so that we can continually be in fellowship with God. If a person refuses to abide by God’s word and live in unrighteousness, such as person may not hear from God. Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God (John 8:47 ESV).
How can one recognise the voice of God? How can one differentiate between God’s voice, your own voice or the voice of the devil? My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27 ESV). It’s easy to recognise the voice of a person with whom you have a relationship, but if it’s a stranger’s voice you would not trust him, because you don’t know him. Likewise, when we have an intimate relationship with God, we hear His voice clearly and He knows us and He leads us.
The level of intimacy we have with God is dependent entirely on us, because God never shows partiality nor is He a respecter of person. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8s ESV). If a person cannot hear from God, then that person is withholding closeness with God.
If any relationship lacks intimacy, it may be because of lack of love, trust or failure to reconcile. In our relationship with God, there is only one party that is the cause of all offences and that is us. If you cannot hear from God, it is because of your un-reconciled relationship with Him, since God is all loving and never the source of any offence.
It is God’s will that we have constant fellowship with Him. If there is no communication, then there is no fellowship and where there is no fellowship, there is no relationship. If we are not hearing from God we are not in sincere relationship with Him.
The greatest miseries in life are due to not hearing from God and not obeying what we have heard from Him. One word from God has brought many to salvation, healing, deliverance and blessing beyond measures. Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV).
Listening to God is like turning on the radio, you have to tune into the correct frequency to get a proper reception. Hearing from God requires us to diligently seek Him, love Him, revere Him and obey Him. God requires your undivided attention and obedience. It is important to hear God’s words, but it is equally important for us to do what it says. Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves (James 1:22 NLT).