One of the most debated topics I see within the Church is if and how we can hear God speak to us. There are so many different answers given to this question, but there is one unanimous answer we can and should all agree on. God speaks to us through His Word.
Throughout this entire study series we have learned many incredibly important reasons to be constantly diving deep into God’s Word. Scripture reinforces again and again that Christ is superior to all things because He is our righteous Creator, Sustainer, Controller, Provider, and Judge. We also strengthen our personal relationship and ability to recognize His voice and work through accepting Jesus and His salvation, and placing Him as superior over our lives, entering His rest, repenting of our sins, and acknowledging the beautiful gift of God’s grace by which we are offered all of these.
Each of these steps is vital to our personal relationships with Jesus, and to our ability to hear the Heavenly voice. Through recognizing Him in our lives we are better able to learn, grow, and discern His path and callings for us. It is also our individual responsibility to learn to recognize and obey His voice.
We have each been called into a mission for the betterment of the Kingdom and each person has been called to their unique tasks. We must follow Christ no matter the difficulty, no matter the struggle, no matter the sacrifice. Wherever He calls, wherever He leads, there we must go.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ESV
So, how do we hear the Heavenly voice? The first step is to put Christ in His rightful place in our lives. Christ's rightful place is the most superior position in our lives, our top priority and focus, our go-to, our trusted Lord and Saviour, our Good Shepherd. When we put Him first, we have our hearts set on Him and live intentionally for Him, in love and obedience. He is our example and we strive to live as Christ and chase after Him above all else.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV
"We are all called to come to Him, enter into the blessing of a relationship with our Creator, and place Him in His right place as righteous ruler of our lives. Through this we will find rest for our souls and be made whole with His love. Come to the life-giving waters and drink. Refresh your spirit and be made whole in Him who died to save you and rose again as our Holy and righteous Lord." (Superiority)
Our second step is one of action. We are to accept our salvation that God has provided to us through our faith and trust in Jesus. God gives each of us a personal mission and instructions for how we are to rely on Him in all things and not allow for the world to pull us away, causing us to drift from Christ and neglect our salvation. Having a strong prayer life, constant heartfelt time in His word, and learning to grow with His people in fellowship are how we should spend every day. We must intentionally seek to learn and grow in becoming more like Him.
'For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ' Romans 10:13 ESV
'So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ' Romans 6:11 ESV
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2 ESV
'For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. ' Romans 1:16 ESV
We are called to “pick up our cross and follow after Christ” (Luke 14:26-28), meaning we must follow Christ in all things, knowing that there will be a personal cost paid sometimes but no matter how hard it gets we must continue on in faith, following Him no matter what, no matter how hard it gets, no matter who we lose in order to gain a relationship with Him who is greater than and Ruler of all things. (Salvation)
While we take action, we need to ensure that our eyes are on Christ at all times and that in all ways we emulate Him. Christ came, not to condemn the world, but to save it and we must learn to treat those who may think or behave differently with the same love, mercy, and compassion that Christ has shown us. It is not a simple phrase to be said but rather an action of love that calls us to fellowship with others.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Jesus sets the example for us. He fellowshipped with His followers daily. He taught them, loved them, was patient with them, and Jesus approached different people in unique ways that spoke to them and drew them near to Him and the Father. When questions were asked, He didn’t scream at them, point fingers, call names, act cruelly, or even try to force people to believe Him - even in His anger, He acted righteously and justly, and His anger was always as a reaction to sin. (Christ)
While we diligently seek Him, we need to be recognizing and resting in all the ways which Christ has shown us. Learning to discipline yourself also means learning to stay when God says to wait. This is not an inactive time but rather a diligent and earnest time spent seeking Him through prayer and through His word. We need to rest in Him and stay in His perfect peace even when life is filled with storms and stay focused on His path. We need to trust that when God calls us to be still, that it is what is best and is worth the time, worth the correction, and worth the painful process.
'The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.' Psalm 23:1-6
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 ESV
He calls on us to come to Him, bring our burdens, cares, worries, concerns and questions to Him so that He will give us His rest in return. He wants to lighten our load. He wants us to trust Him with our problems and praises. He wants us to give Him our sins and our shame and replace them with peace and rejuvenation through His forgiveness and salvation. We are not good on our own, and we need to intentionally come back to Him over and over again to be restored, to clean out the gunk in our hearts, chip away the hardened spots, and soften us once again to His will and love. (Christ’s Rest)
Sin - a three letter word. Sin is to miss the mark, and 1 John 5:17 says all wrongdoing is sin. We must recognize what God commands of us and we learn this by spending time in fervent prayer and in studious time spent in His word. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, says Romans 3:23. Humans caused sin to enter the world but God has made the Way for us to be reconciled to Him and that is through Christ Jesus and Christ alone.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34 ESV
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15 ESV
'because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” ' Romans 10:9-11 ESV
'Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”' Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
Throughout scripture, we are given many further instructions in how to live the way God expects us to, primarily being called to live as Christ as our example. If we love God the way He calls us to, accept His Son and His salvation, truly repent of our sin, and commit to live our lives for Him, God will forgive us and bless us with the gift of His Spirit. We are washed clean of our sins and the power it once had over us is broken, and His Spirit dwells in us to serve as a guide in living according to the will of God. (Don’t Sin Willingly)
It is important that we know and understand that while we are sinners who deserve punishment for our sins, we were created by God, for God, and we constantly sin against Him. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He sent His Son to take our place and the punishment that we deserved because of His great love and His desire to have us restored to Him. This is the grace of God.
The grace of God can be defined by several different aspects of who He is and what He does and provides for us. His grace is His favor, kindness and friendship offered to us, as well as His forgiving mercy. He displays His grace through the gifts He gives to us, which include His call for us to display Christ’s virtues and bear His good fruit. God also displays his grace through giving us His Law, and then fulfilling the Law through the gospel of Christ.
Learning to recognize and appreciate the grace of God is a vital part of learning to recognize the Heavenly voice. It is by His grace that we have the opportunity to receive His gift of salvation, and then receive the Holy Spirit and be guided by the Heavenly voice.
“O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Genesis 18:3 ESV
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:2-6 ESV
'yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV
In all these things, God speaks to us. In all these mercies and grace, God speaks to us. We must open our hearts to Him, accept His Son and the salvation He died to give us, and through this we come into relationship with our Heavenly Father, receive His Holy Spirit, and are guided by the Heavenly voice in our lives. It can be challenging to understand what it means for God to speak to us, but through building a personal relationship with Him with Christ as your focus and foundation we begin to recognize His voice and work in our lives and the world around us. Hearing the Heavenly voice is a personal experience, unique to each person and their relationship with God. To hear Him better, to recognize Him, spend time with Him in earnest prayer and fervent study of His Word, as well as in fellowship with His people, and you will begin to experience Him, His love and grace, on a new and growing level every day.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 ESV