I congratulate high school students moving toward a goal and working hard for good grades. Their parents must be so proud. I was not that student. In fact, I graduated high school by the skin of my teeth and with poor grades. The social scene was the place I fit in the most.
College was not even on my radar. I did not like to study and that was that.
With high school behind me and very little goals in front of me, I began a quest to seek God. I just wanted to know Him more. So I spent all my free time reading the Bible. Then one day when I was 21, I heard God speak to me.
God, is that really You speaking?
I thought everyone else in the room heard Him, too. But as it turns out, I was the only one who did. He told me to go over to the local Bible College and pick up an application.
In no uncertain terms, He was sending me to Bible College. That was my first experience to hear God speak directly to me. My ears had heard God! And it was then I knew that the God of the Universe speaks to His children.
But it would take years for me to master – and I can hardly use the word “master” – the art of listening and hearing.
One of the most popular questions believers ask is: “How can I know God’s will for my life?” Perhaps they think it’s some magical formula or that God only speaks to those in full-time ministry – like pastors, Bible teachers, speakers, and authors.
Nothing could be further from the truth! So, how can we know for certain that we can hear God speak? The answer is simple: at the moment of salvation, we’ve been given the Holy Spirit to live inside us. Hence, God Himself has taken up residence in our human bodies.
The Apostle Paul says that “His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).
And the Bible couldn’t be any clearer when we read: “Who can know the LORD’S thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus is talking about surrender – giving up our will, our rights, and our ways for Him.
And I believe surrender is the key that opens our ears to hear His voice. So, if you are struggling to hear Him speak, make sure that you have surrendered your life – your body – to Him first.
As we talk about God speaking to us, it’s important to know that He speaks in a variety of ways, which He demonstrates throughout Scripture. He might speak through His Word, our circumstances, people, nature, or as a nudge in our spirit.
God has used all these ways to speak to me. One time, I was flying home from Denver and God spoke to me from the cloud formation outside my window. He gave me a vision for my future ministry.
Another time, a word came to me about a family member when I saw a rainbow in the sky. And I cannot count how many times I knew a nudge in my spirit was God moving me in a specific direction.
As Peter, Paul, and the early leaders of the new church moved throughout the Book of Acts, God spoke in many different ways. I would suggest taking your own journey through Acts and write down the different ways the early believers heard God speak.
There are different ways to do this, but I usually write down a verse or passage, ask God to speak to me about it, and then write down what I hear. It may be a slow process at first if you’ve never journaled before, but God will lead you on this new venture.
I love looking back at the journals lined up on my bookshelves. One day, God was speaking to me about the miraculous. This is what He said to me:
I protected My Word and allowed My writings to surface at the exact
time of My choosing. That was the miraculous. I transcribed My written
Word into the world’s languages without error. That was the miraculous.
I used over forty men to write My Word without contradiction.
That was the miraculous. And I’ve raised up many from humble
beginnings to carry My Word to many parts of the world.
That is also the miraculous.
These words still ring in my ears.
Hearing God’s voice is music to our ears. He longs for each of us to enjoy such great intimacy.
He’s ready to speak. Are you ready to listen?
Upcoming Bible study topic
JOSHUA: HEAVEN’S MIGHTY WARRIOR
Begins January 8, 2016