Once again, i’m here to write on a topic i have struggled and struggled and struggled and struggled with for a long time… and then i got it! I will try my best to make this post very practical and explain it as best as i can. I pray that everyone who reads this will get this in their hearts and not merely their heads, where it is just knowledge; but that there shall be an impartation and revelation from the revealer of all truths, the Holy Spirit.
As i write this post, once again, my memory goes back to when i was in school. I had been in a christian school for 6 years of my life, and never had i heard the voice of God once in my life. I was always talking to God, but really never heard what he had to say. And at that point in my life it was very important that i knew what God had to say about what he wanted me to do in life, and where he wanted me to go for university. The only source of vague information i got from God about my future was when there would be a prophetic word from a guest minister in my school. Now, that was good, but it wasn’t enough. I remember me, in my desperation to know what God wanted me to do, and where he wanted me to go, knocking at the house of my school principal, asking her how i could hear the voice of God. She gave me a couple of points, but to be honest with you, i never actually got it. I mean i heard many pastors stand out in their congregrations many times to prophecy or give a word of knowledge or say that God was saying something, but i never had that personal experience. And i was hungry for it.
The two most memorable things my principal told me about hearing God’s voice was that sometimes you might hear him audibly, and sometimes as a ‘still, small voice’. I would discuss more about the latter because although i have met people who have heard an audible voice of God talking to them, my experience for the way God speaks to me has been through the ‘still,small voice’ as my principal put it, and also through something i mentioned one of my previous posts as a ‘spiritual conduction of knowledge’.
I am in no way blaming my school principal for my lack of understanding when she told me how to hear from God, but i do think the message of the gospel has to be presented more understandably and more interestingly, especially for today’s youth. Satan has deceived many young people today into believing that reading the Bible is boring. I know this, because i’m going to be honest with you and say in all my 6 years of being educated in a christian secondary school i never found the Bible interesting. It was merely a way to ‘tick the boxes’ of completing chapters and verses instead of letting the Holy Spirit speak to me through it. And in a week, we had morning and night devotions everyday, ‘digging deep’ on tuesdays, ‘student-teacher’s fellowship’ on fridays, choir practice on saturdays(which i find most funny now because it was simply a way to show off and compete for who has the best voice), then services on sundays. I did this for 6 years, and it was such a wonderful experience to be honest with you. But looking back now, i’m only realising i got many things the wrong way. I didn’t know God. I knew about him. And yes i was a full time christian.
I’ll give an example to illustrate what i mean about presenting the gospel in innovative ways. Oh this verse got me all over the place, getting into self reliance insteading of relying on the changing power of God.
Matthew 5:48 says: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.(King James Version)
Matthew 5:48 says: 48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect(Amplified Version)
As you would imagine after i read the King James Version that asked me to be as perfect as God, i tried it but it wasn’t working. I believe that sometimes christians that are still young in the faith can misunderstand many verses in the King James Version. To be honest with you, for me, i also found the King James Version a bit boring, because most of the things i thought i understood never worked out when i practiced them. I think the key is: Everytime you read something in the Bible and you don’t have a personal experience from it, go back and read it again. After i read the amplified version of that verse, things became much clearer to me and this has also been my experience practically. Perfection is not trying hard not to make a mistake at all, but growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character. So you don’t have to feel bad when you make a mistake; Get up! and get moving, pressing on toward perfection through the help of the Holy Spirit. The amplified version might not be the one for you, but i think if there’s any young person reading this, and that thinks the Bible is boring like i did, you need to ask God to show you a Bible version that suits you, or the way you should study it that would interest you. It is not about ticking boxes, or even reading the whole Bible before you die, but it is about letting the Holy Spirit make the words in the Bible speak personally to you.That’s what makes it interesting-Having practical experiences and practicing what you read and getting results.
Coming back to the point, in my hunt for hearing the voice of God i have learnt that to be able to hear the ‘still, small voice’ of God requires spiritual sensitivity. And i believe with all my heart that the level of spiritual sensitivity needed to hear the voice of God depends on how peaceful you are. The voice of God is calm and most times the noises in our lives drown it away. God is always speaking to us, we just have to learn to calm down the noise in our spirit and our lives to hear it speak to us. Now what is peace? Peace is one of the fruits of the spirit but without any apologies i would like the say that the fruit of peace is not evident in the lives of many christians today. I’ll like to add something. Peace is not when you don’t have problems in your life at all. Peace is when even though you have problems in your life, you maintain a stable mind and you don’t permit your heart to be troubled. I love the verse below where Jesus talks to his disciples:
John 14:26-27(AMP) says 26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.
27Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
Its very interesting that just after Jesus talks about leaving believers with his Holy Spirit he tells them that he leaves his peace with them. The Holy Spirit is our counsellor. He tells us what to do and when. Now if we permit fear and let our hearts be troubled and worry about the past and future, all of those things drown out the voice and counsel of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t promise a life without problems but he gives us a new hope in Christ because Christ has overcome the world(John 16:33). We never have to fight our problems alone, so let it be, and trust God. Do not permit fear or anxiety into your life. I like to describe people with peace as being a rock. A rock remains the same way regardless of the weather; come rain, come sunshine.
Psalm 46:10 says: Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand that i am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
I think we should quit trying to figure our everything because that is when we often find ourselves worrying and letting fear into our lives. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still. Being still means being at rest and being at peace. Worry changes nothing about our situations at all but actually gives room for the Devil to bring fear into our lives. Know that God is God and whatever happens, anyway, he’s got a plan and everything works together for your good because you love God. When you live your life like this you can maintain stablility in the good and in the bad and never let the peace that Jesus left for you to be taken by the Devil.
You might be asking me in your head now: ‘What is the link between peace and hearing the voice of God’. Let me just put it to you straight up now that if u don’t learn to live in peace, you will never hear the voice of God. God doesn’t shout on top of all the noise we bring into our lives. God really spoke to me through the story about how Jesus calmed the storm about the link between peace and spiritual sensitivity.
Mark 4:39-40 says: 39And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).
40He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?
God really spoke to me through this verse today. In this story, Jesus was sleeping on a boat and whilst he was sleeping, there was almost like a hurricane in the sea. It was so bad that the boat was actually filling up with water. This terrified the disciples so they had to wake Jesus up from his sleep to do something about it. I’ll go straight to the point. Sometimes in our lives, we can have such big problems that we get so terrified and fearful instead of trusting God.
God will either do two things for us- take away those problems, or leave the problems with us so we can grow spiritually. In that verse Jesus rebuked the wind. He commanded it to hush(be quiet) and be still(muzzled, which means ‘i do not permit you to make noise again). You might wonder why Jesus asked his disciples why they were timid and why they had no firm relying trust. But i believe Jesus expected them first of all to be at peace-Not fearful and timid- then also to rebuke the storm and ask it to be quiet. The storm would have prevented them from hearing Jesus if he was speaking at that point. In our lives, we have to learn how to rebuke the Devil and not permit him to tell us his lies.The Devil knows that if he gets your peace, he gets your power, and he gets your communication with God so he’ll whisper lies to you just like he did to Eve. The Devil’s lies interfere with us trying to hear the voice of God. Also, we need to trust God to the point that we realise that even if we still have such big problems, God will still show himself to be God. That way we can live in peace(not worry) and faith(not fear), and hence hear the voice of God even when there’s trials and tribulations.
Obviously you will have to do more study on peace (than just reading this post) and pray to God to show you how to be peaceful before you finally see the fruit of peace manifesting in your life. God has given us all the fruits of the spirit as seeds, and if we don’t water it with the word of God then they would never grow and manifest in our daily lives.
I’ll end by saying that we must learn to spend time getting to know God. My experience many times has been that God speaks to me when i’m reading my Bible, or listening to a worship/christian song, and sometimes just what i refer to as ‘roaming’ in the presence of God till he says something(in Biblical terms called waiting on God). Whatever it is, we must find a way to slow down and be quiet on the inside, staying in that peaceful state whatever happens, so that we will be always ready to hear God’s voice and respond to his promptings in obedience.