My alarm goes off and I rush downstairs. I forgot to pack my lunch the night before, but there’s no time; I have to look over my notes again before my exam. In the quietness of my car as I’m driving to school, my thoughts turn toward God. I want to do His will and I long to hear His voice. I know that even in all the busyness of life God wants to speak to me; but am I hearing God’s voice? Do I even know how to hear God’s voice?
How to hear God’s voice
Thousands of thoughts run through my head every hour, but how is my relationship to God? Do I have a sincere longing to please God with my thoughts, words and deeds? When I do have that longing, He opens my ear to His voice. I have never heard God’s voice in the way I hear people speaking around me, but I know that God speaks to me every day. So how should I actually be hearing God?
A story about the prophet Elijah is a good illustration of how God speaks to me in my heart. When the word of the Lord came to Elijah and told him to stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, God was not in the powerful wind that tore mountains apart and shattered rocks, nor was He in the earthquake. God wasn’t in the fire either. After the fire, Elijah heard God’s “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Quick to obey
So how can I hear this “still, small voice” speaking to me? When, for example, I am in a difficult situation and a Bible verse comes to my mind and strengthens me. Then I am hearing God’s voice!
God also reminds me to do the good, but at the same time He shows me the sin that dwells in my human nature. For example, I can be tempted to become irritated with people I interact with in daily life, even as I am trying to bless them. If my ear is open, I hear God point out that it is my own selfish demands that are the source of the problem, and then I have an opportunity to crucify these demands so that I can change!
When I am quick to obey God’s voice, when I “hear” Him, then He continues to speak to me. It is not always easy to be obedient to what I hear. Usually, it costs me my own will; I must give up my own desires and opinions, in order to do what the still small voice is telling me to do. When I listen and obey, then my personal connection with God grows stronger and deeper!
Hearing God isn’t a loud voice speaking to me. God’s voice is the internal prompting to the good that becomes easier and easier for me to hear as I am faithful to obey it.
A life full of peace and joy
In James 4:8 it is written that if I draw near to God, He will draw near to me. I’ve experienced that when I read the Bible and pray, God sends me help to live according to His will. He speaks to me clearly during the day. He doesn’t just show me how I can do things better outwardly; He also shows me the sin that dwells in my human nature, which makes life difficult for myself and for those around me. When I pray to Him in need over my sin, He gives me opportunities to overcome it, and strength to do so!
To draw near to God, I need to be open and ready to be obedient to His will. I need to be near in order to hear. If I have a grudging attitude toward God’s commandments, I will keep myself at a distance. “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” This exhortation is repeated many times in the book of Revelation. If I hear, I receive nourishment for my spirit from God, and in that way I can also be of help to the others around me. This is really a life that is pleasing for God.
Listening to God’s voice, and then being obedient to Him has made me extremely happy! God wants to set me free from my sinful human nature. When I take heed to His voice in the midst of the busyness of life, this process can take place in me, this is the process of sanctification. This is a life full of peace and joy!
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