“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
-Jesus Christ (John 10:27)
I will not, here, make a theological apology for the applicability of prophecy today, as I have done that elsewhere (The Year of the Lord’s Favor (or ‘The Most Basic Appologesis for Pentecostalism You’ve Never Read’); Would that All God’s People Were Prophets; Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 1 “What Gifts Can I Have?”; Concerning Spiritual Gifts pt. 1 “What Gifts Can I Have?”;); rather this will be a more practical discussion on the applicability of hearing God’s voice.
First off, I should start with this: I cannot teach you to hear God’s voice – in fact, no one can. The ability exists already within you. No one taught your ears to hear – they do so automatically, no one taught your eyes to see, they function by design, and because you are equipped with them. What you did have to learn, however, was how to organize, compile, and comprehend the input that came into them.
The fact that you are born with functioning eyes and ears (assuming there was no abnormal medical malady which prevented them functioning) is a parable that Jesus Christ, Himself, used for hearing, and recognizing the voice of God. ‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!’
You already can hear God. In fact, let me put it even more emphatically: You already DO hear God. The thing that we need to learn is recognizing it when He speaks, distinguishing what He is saying, and then obeying His voice.
You might not even be a Christian, and this still applies to you. God is speaking to you – He is calling out your name, He sent Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd to search you out and bring you to Himself. He is calling your name from every street corner, and listening intently to see if you will respond by calling back. As soon as you do, He will come and save you, He will deliver you out of the pit of this world, out of sin and oppression and bring you into His fold. Yes, even those of you reading who do not yet know God – you, too can hear His voice. (Luke 15:4-7)
But how does God speak? With what manner of voice? How can we recognize it?
As it is written:
1 Corinthians 14:10
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
There are many kinds of voices out there, aren’t there? And they all have meanings – every speaking voice is saying SOMETHING, yet if we do not discern and distinguish the voice of God:
Ibid. V: 11
11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
If we cannot distinguish the voice of God, then we are ‘barbarian,’ or (really) ‘FOREIGN’ to Him, and He is foreign to us.
But we who are in Christ are not foreigners to God, we once were before our salvation, but now we are brought near by His blood (Eph. 2:13 & 19). Not only are you now brought near by His blood, but Jesus Christ – the very Living Word of God now dwells INSIDE OF YOU (Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20).
Do you recall your conversion experience? When you were born again? Do you recall the peace, the joy, the love that you were flooded with? That was the Seed of Christ’s presence within you. Or, perhaps you didn’t sense any of those emotions, but over the next few days, weeks, months, you began to notice things were different – new, somehow; you found it easier to forgive people who hurt you or made you mad; your conscience was renewed and you felt conviction when you sinned. Any, and all of these things are supernatural evidences of Christ’s presence within a believer. ‘Super’-natural because they are not natural, they are not the things you would otherwise have felt, or experienced. It is the seed of the Living Word of God within your soul.
How do you hear God? If you are in Christ, then His Spirit is in you ((Rom 8:9) you can receive this Spirit in greater measure by receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit).
If you are a Christian, then you have the Light of Christ already within you. Jesus declared: ‘YE are the light of the world.‘ (Matt 5:14)
If you want to hear God, you must needs search within yourself. This, though, can be a little tricky because you have flesh, and because there are other spiritual forces which may try to communicate with you – albeit, those speak from without, Christ is the still, small voice that speaks from WITHIN. Yet even so, you have the ability to recognize the voice that is His because you are born from above – recall your spiritual birth, when you came to know Christ – His voice will resonate exactly the same as when you received Him for the first time.
Is it not an awesome blessing that: Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today, and forever. (Heb 13:8)?
As He was when you were born again – whenever you first experienced Him, so He shall always be. If you are saved, you know His voice.
Here then, are some two simple practical tips; pointers for hearing (really for ‘listening to’) to God.
- Desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2); the more familiar you are with God’s written word, the more that the Living Word (Jesus Christ) within you can resonate the Truth.
- Look unto Jesus Christ within you (Heb 12:2); if you want to be acquainted with the voice of God, listen to it. An ancient spiritual practice is to simply shut off all noise and sit quietly simply sensing the Presence of God (you have complete and total access to this presence 24 hrs./day – the reason Jesus died was to give you that access (Heb. 10:19 & 20); all we need to do is avail ourselves to the privilege).
The number one reason that Christians do not hear God – or think they don’t hear God, is simply because they don’t have faith for it. We assume that it is too lofty for us, we think that only pastors, and prophets can hear Him – if anyone can at all. But that isn’t what Jesus said – all of His sheep hear Him. Are you one of His?