When I became a follower of Jesus I heard people talk about, “God speaking to me,” “What the Lord put on my heart,” and “How the Holy Spirit is directing and leading my life.” Since I had grown up without any faith and almost no religious training of any sort, I took them at their word. I believed them and embraced the idea that God still speaks to His children…why wouldn’t He?
Then, I began to read the Book. When I received the grace of Jesus and entered a life giving friendship with Him, someone give me a Bible. I devoured it. That first summer I read for about four hours a day. I took notes. I tried to connect the teaching and stories of the Bible to my life. And, one of the biggest observations I made was that God speaks. From the creating words, “Let there be,” to a casual conversation with Adam and Eve in the garden, to a gentle whisper to Elijah, to Ezekiel’s visions, to the beauty of creation, to the prophet Nathan’s rebuke of King David, to the apostle Paul’s Damascus Road encounter, to the Holy Spirit’s manifestations at Pentecost, and in hundreds of other passages, God is speaking! At least, that is what the Bible seems to indicate from beginning to end.
Of course, the only perfect and unchanging revelation God has given His people is the Bible. From start to finish, it is perfect and without error. If any Christian feels that God is speaking to them through a circumstance, another person, or the still small voice of the Spirit, or any other way, but the message is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, it is not the Lord! God will never speak in a way that undermines or is contrary to the teachings of the Bible. But, I believe God will often speak, in many ways, to reinforce the teaching of the Scriptures.
If you want to dig into this topic and discover how God speaks to His children, here are four ideas to propel you forward:
1) Study and meditate on the Gospel of John, chapter ten. Ask yourself, if Jesus is my Shepherd and I am His sheep, am I learning to hear His voice?
2) Make time every day this week to be quiet, turn off the technology, find a secluded place (even if it is only for five minutes in a locked bathroom!), and ask God a few questions. Here are three to get you started: Father, how much do you love me and how have you revealed Your love? Spirit of God, is there sin or rebellion in my life (or hidden in my heart)? If so, please reveal it and convict me of how I should repent and turn back to you. Jesus, would you show me a person who needs your love and grace this day and direct me in how I can take action and speak in ways that would show Your face to this person? Ask each question, and any others that come to your mind, and wait quietly and expectantly on God for an answer.
3) Do some reading on the topic. I had the chance to review and endorse a great book called” God told me who to marry, where to work, which car to buy…and I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy, by Jim Samra. I also have a chapter on this topic in my book, Leadership from the Inside Out. It is called, The Ears of a Leader.
4) Shoreline Church is drawing to the close of a sermon series called, “God is Speaking, Are You Listening. This is a seven week series right in the middle of a thirty-one week walk through the Bible called, The Story. You can check out any of these on the media page of Shoreline’s website.
My hope and prayer is that you dig into the unchanging Word of God each and every day…listening and learning. And, keep your heart, mind, eyes, and life tuned in to the fact that Jesus is still speaking to His sheep and they still recognize His voice.