As we continue our week on knowing God through experiencing him, today we’ll explore what it means and looks like to experience his voice. This can often be an intimidating topic. Many of us feel inadequate or even unable to hear the voice of God—but nothing could be further than the truth. I hope today you will feel the pressure or weight lift off your shoulders as you learn just how simple relationship with and knowing God truly is.
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” John 8:47
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To seek the fullness of relationship with God is to hear his voice. “Whoever is of God hears the words of God” (John 8:47). Just like when I seek true relationship with a person, a conversation must happen; when we seek to truly know God, he talks with us. He is not a God who is silent but a God who speaks to us in any and every way he can.
All throughout the New Testament, there is both teaching on hearing the voice of God and instances where the people of God had conversation with him. In John 14:16-17 Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” And later in John 16:13 Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
God himself dwells within us and longs to speak to our hearts. He longs for us to know the will of our heavenly Father the way Jesus did. He longs for us to follow his leading moment by moment the way the apostles did. And he longs for us to engage in conversation with him as all those who are in true relationship with one another do.
God is constantly speaking to us. The problem is that we don’t know how to listen. Scripture tells us that he is declaring the invisible attributes of his nature through creation (Romans 1:20). When I take time to experience firsthand the things God has made, I feel his presence. There is a reason it’s peaceful to be in creation. There is a reason it’s restful to be in the mountains, lay on a beach, or swim in the sea. All of creation is declaring the wonderful character of our loving God. We just need to learn how to listen.
God speaks to us through his revealed word. The inspirer of Scripture dwells within us and longs to use the Bible as a wonderful avenue to encountering its Author. The Bible is not a biography written after someone has died. Rather, it is the living, active words of a living, active God who longs for relationship with us (Hebrews 4:12).
God speaks to us through one another. All of us as believers have been given the same Spirit who has called us to a lifestyle of encouraging one another. We are called to be a critical part of the process of discovering God’s heart and will in each other’s lives. If we will make time to learn how God speaks to us for others, we will discover the very words of God given by grace to the lips of man.
And God speaks to us directly from his Spirit to our spirit. The Holy Spirit is a vocal God. He longs for us to know his thoughts. He longs to direct us whether it be through words, a sense, a desire, an uneasiness, or a prompting. He is always speaking to us. In order to learn to hear his voice moment by moment, whether we’re in solitude or in chaos, we must make time in the secret place to seek the fullness of relationship with him. It’s in seeking relationship with God that we become familiar with his voice and are able to follow him as sheep with their Shepherd.
Take time in guided prayer to seek the face of your heavenly Father and hear his voice however he is choosing to speak. Don’t limit yourself to hearing him in only one way. The path to the fullness of relationship with him is marked by his voice in each of these ways and more. Open your heart to hearing him through any and every way he is speaking that you might grow in your relationship with a good and loving God.
1. Meditate on Scripture that declares God to be a vocal God. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire to hear God in every way he speaks.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” John 8:47
“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
2. In what ways are you comfortable hearing God? What ways might be new to you? Know that there is grace to grow in every facet of your relationship with him. Don’t limit yourself to only what you’ve known or experienced up to this point. Rather, seek the truth of God’s word by his Spirit and discover a wealth of relationship you might not have yet experienced.
3. Choose one of the ways God speaks that’s new to you and ask him to help you have conversation with him through that avenue. Again, hearing his voice through all of these avenues is meant to be the byproduct of simply seeking relationship with him. Just as we don’t seek to hear the voice of another person but seek relationship with them and get a conversation as a result, simply seek to know God and talk with him.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13