Hearing God's Voice
“How do you hear Christ’s calling on your life? How do you know when God is speaking to you, versus your own thought? I want to hear God speaking to me!”
I know that I have given you the attached piece by Kierkegaard two or three times. It’s been my way of trying to answer the question you have continued to ask since we have known one another. You will get your answer but not from man. Still I want to give you insight from my experience. There is a confusion that clouds the understanding of spiritual things. A child is born with lusts to eat and to find comfort (His Flesh at work). He grows and his mind has thoughts and he has feelings. Now he lusts through his thoughts and desires (His Soul at work). These lusts and thoughts and desires aren’t bad. They drive a man to grow and to survive, even to love and nurture.
When we are born in the Spirit, something new is added to the mixture of who we are. It is God dwelling in us. He has become our life and it is a total exchange for our old life. “The old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” It’s the same things, but we perceive them differently. I say mixture, because, we are now a composite man. Our flesh and our soul haven’t changed, but we have a new spirit. Not the spirit of selfishness, but the spirit of love which is for others. The confusion is that we can’t see what has happened and the world appears to be the same as it was before. We get bits of insight, but can’t put our finger on any real change. Life becomes a miserable frustration of knowing there is more, but we can do nothing to understand or grasp what it is, but the glimpses continue to keep us stirred up. If you read the book by Dan Stone that I sent you, he talks about “The Line”. Below the line is what we have called reality, it is seen but it isn’t permanent. Above the line is the eternal, we can’t see it but it is forever. We can only know it by faith, by believing, which becomes our knowing.
We want to do something to obtain this “above the line” knowing. It is the quest of all mankind. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “What is the work of God”. His answer was that you believe. Like Kierkegaard, like us, “what must I do to find God’s kingdom?”
That is the difficult secret. It is difficult because it is impossible for us to do. Instead, it is already done. It is a gift. It is the mystery of the gospel. We can do nothing. God who rules the kingdom has chosen to dwell in us. We have eternal life. He IS eternal life. We have Him. All that He has is ours, by our believing. It’s too easy!!? But man walks away from this because he wants to do something for God so that he can obtain the gift by doing something to deserve it. God has another way, “for by grace have you been saved by faith, not works, lest any man should boast.”
We can only see what we already know and this truth only comes by revelation from above. I know that God creates our circumstances to bring each of us to a point that we can accept his gift. It is what we yearn for more than anything; to know Him, to hear His voice, to follow Him, to understand our calling.
I had yearned for God and asked these same questions that you ask now from early in High School and had tried many religions, looked to many holy men, read many books. I was baptized, prayed for to receive “the Gift”, practiced meditation, met with pastors, lunatics and cult leaders and found that what I was after was too elusive. I came to the conclusion that no one really knew and that I would follow my own way instead of theirs. I continued to seek God, but not through anyone else’s religion.
I was nearly 30 when I fell in love with Janie; it was religion that was my obstacle. Her father was a poor “uneducated” Baptist pastor and his religion was everything that I thought was rigid and foolish. I was determined, for the sake of my love for Janie, to give his “god” a chance. I challenged the God to speak to me. If he wouldn’t then I could wash my hands of this “way” just like I had with other “ways”.
I never doubted God, but Christianity was the religion of my parents. It wasn’t nearly as interesting as Buddhism or Mystical ways to know God. The idea of Jesus and a 2000 year old cross was the foolishness, not a divine mystical God.
That evening, I went to my apartment armed with questions that the Christian God couldn’t answer, and a bible. I had read the bible cover to cover 3 times in years before and basically told God that this was his last chance. He had to speak to me on this night or I would find a more reasonable way to know him than the way of Christianity. I don’t know why I opened the bible to Romans, but the words seemed to come alive to me as I read. I was amazed that after reading the first two chapters, my first question was answered and new questions arose in my mind. As I continued to read, those questions were answered. It was a conversation with my mind and the words that seemed to be alive. Finishing 9 chapters I was a new man. Everything was clear and yet, the next day I couldn’t tell any one what had changed; nor could I “The old things and passed away and behold, all things had become new.”
I know that God set me up for that encounter. He opened my mind to ask questions that Eric Fromm had asked before me and He had ready answers prepared thousands of years ago as Paul considered the Christians in Rome.
Today I as I lay in bed before getting up, I thought about you and how I might communicate to you and it was clear that the Father has His way prepared for you, too.
God is in you. He is your life. You do hear Him and his voice will become more and more clear. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Just like a baby slowly begins to respond those who love him, you begin to discern what is God saying and what He is not saying. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…"
I know that these are promises that frustrate you right now because you feel that you don’t have them. Learn to differentiate between what you feel (soul) and what you know (Spirit). Believe God speaking in you even if it doesn’t make sense. Believe when this “below the line” reality doesn’t line up. There is an eternal unseen reality that is working in you. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. “
There is a voice of your emotions speaking in you (it changes from what it wants from moment to moment) and there is a voice of your Spirit (God’s Eternal Spirit; constant and abiding) speaking in you. Your problem isn’t hearing God’s voice; it is discerning God’s voice. Believe that He is your life. Take a chance that it is Him that you hear. It is His job to make it clear to you. It is your job to listen. Don’t worry about lining up with someone else’s ideas or interpretation of what you should do. Refuse to do anything that isn’t Him. Wait on Him. He is patiently waiting for you to hear Him. Stop telling Him what you want and Wait.