There’s no Quick fix to Hearing God’s Voice
We all enjoy getting things done quickly by taking shortcuts, but there is no quick fix to hearing God’s voice. We can’t just follow ‘five simple steps,’ and suddenly hear Him. Recognising what God is saying can take time. Not because God is incapable of speaking. More likely, we have difficulty hearing.
Hearing God’s voice can take sacrifice. To sacrifice means to give something up. For instance, you might sacrifice sleep by getting up one hour earlier to read your Bible. Perhaps you sacrifice going to hang out with friends so that you can spend time alone listening to God. It’s not easy to prioritise spending time with God, but it is necessary to learn how to hear His voice.
“Identifying a friend’s voice can take time. Similarly, being familiar with God’s voice takes time and consistency.”
Identifying God’s voice
Talking to God is like talking to a friend on the phone.
Imagine, an unknown number calls you. As you answer the phone, they say “Hey (insert name)!” It isn’t until you ask, “What’s your name?” and wait for a reply that you discover who is calling you.
Consider the same person calls again. You still don’t recognise their voice. As you continue to talk, they explain they called you last week. Finally, you remember who they are!
Imagine this person calls you every week. Eventually, you begin to identify their voice. Eventually, all they do is say ‘Hey!’ and you know who is calling.
Identifying a friend’s voice can take time. Similarly, being familiar with God’s voice takes time and consistency.
Listening requires a response
On our Discipleship Training School, our speaker, Seth Brooks explained on our week one topic: Hearing God’s Voice, “God’s desire for us requires a response.” Why? Because love is an action. If we love God, we want to take the time to listen and respond to what He says.
In John 10:27 (NLT), it says, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” We require a relationship with God in order to know His voice. When we know God’s voice, we are able to hear His guidance and then follow what He says.
We need to listen to the voice of God so that we can follow what He says. If we are open to hearing God’s voice, we allow ourselves to be convicted of what is right and wrong. When we understand what God says is right or wrong, we are called to change. Being open to what God is truly saying means we are willing to change. As it says in James 1:22 (NIV), “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We need to listen to God and be obedient to what He says.
Be open. Be obedient.
Sometimes God reveals to us that we need to change because we are sinning. Sinning means to disobey God.
Changing our sinful habits isn’t always easy. It’s hard! Changing our behaviour requires us admitting, “Hey, my behaviour is wrong and I need to change.” It can take an effort to change a bad habit. It might even be painful, particularly if we are prideful.
At YWAM Perth, we often say, “Humility precedes healing.”
If we want to hear God’s voice we need to be willing to hear “the hard stuff”. We should talk to God about how we need to change and be obedient to what he says. After all, how would you feel if you wanted to help a friend, but they completely ignored your advice?
When we disobey God, it’s like us hanging up our phone call with Him before He has finished speaking. We need to be willing to acknowledge we are wrong and do something about it.
As it says in Proverbs 19:20 (NIV), “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.” Likewise, in Philippians 4:9 (NV), it says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Be open to conviction. In addition, be willing to listen to God’s correction and change, so that you can position yourself to hear God more clearly.
Consider a basketball team wants to shoot a goal. It takes some time to set up a good layup. Each player needs to move around the court. Players need to run across the court to a spot where no one else is. They need to become ‘open’. After re-positioning themselves, they can catch the ball without it being intercepted and shoot a basket.
Just like a basketball player needs to be open to shoot a goal, we need to become open so that we are in the best position to hear God.
We need to make ourselves open to hearing God’s voice.
“We are all different. Consequently, God speaks to each of us differently.”
The creativity of communication
Hearing God’s voice can take time to learn because there are so many ways He speaks to us!
God speaks to us every day. He is constantly pursuing us. God’s “beauty and love chase after [us] every day of [our] life” (Psalm 23:6a, The Message). Usually, we just aren’t aware that He is talking. It’s as if we get so focused on what we are doing in life, that God’s voice becomes white noise or muffled in the background.
However, if we focus on God and make ourselves open to hearing His voice, that white noise becomes clear. The noise in the background becomes the loudest, clearest sound in the room.
God speaks in a multitude of ways because everyone communicates differently. He knows how to catch your attention. As Loren Cunningham explains in his book “Is that Really You God”, some people hear God speak through the Bible. A verse might stand out to them or have personal meaning. Others may hear God speak through the beauty of nature or music. God even speaks through people’s dreams. God is so great that there isn’t a limit on how He is able to communicate with us.
We are all different. Consequently, God speaks to each of us differently.
We can’t see how God speaks to one person and assume that He will speak to us in the same way. We can’t demand that God speaks to us in a particular way either. God is God, and quite frankly, He makes the rules, not us.
Be patient, it’s worth the wait
Learning how you hear God’s voice might take time. It might mean trying different methods or being open to hearing Him in unexpected ways.
There isn’t a set method.
There isn’t a checklist to guarantee hearing God’s voice.
There’s no quick fix to hearing God’s voice.
Take the time to learn God’s voice. Practice hearing and responding to what He says.
Position yourself to hear and be open to changing your behaviour.
Get to know how God speaks to you personally; even if it takes more than ‘5 simple steps.’
Learning His voice is worth the wait.