We’ve talked so far about hearing from God through the Bible, the inner voice, visions, and dreams. God can speak in limitless ways. And no way that He chooses to speak should ever be despised or thought of as an inferior way of hearing from Him. Based on the comments I have heard from people who have trouble hearing God, at least some of them are hearing, but are rejecting the mode through which God chooses to speak to them.
Have you ever listened to a Christian song, and suddenly a line just arrested your attention and touched your heart? Yes, God uses songs to speak a personal word to us. That’s one of the purposes for having Christian music in the first place.
Sometimes God speaks to us through someone who has no idea he or she is God’s means of revealing Himself. Let me give you an example. Many years ago I went through an illness that was life-threatening. It was a wait-and-see situation, and I was not doing well with being faith-filled. A Christian lady that I barely knew told me about her mother, who, thirty-five years before, had been pronounced terminally ill by her doctors. The lady was rejoicing because her mother was still alive and completely well, in spite of the hopeless prognosis. She never knew what her little story did for me. As she spoke, I felt the strong impression of the Lord. I had a deep knowing through her words that I was not going to be a terminal case either. I was internally overwhelmed, but didn’t say a word to the woman, and a few weeks later she moved away. It was a divine encounter that God had set up just for me.
God speaks to us through checks in our spirit. A “check” is in inner hesitancy, a subtle feeling that we should not go ahead with a particular plan of action. Many of us ignore these warnings or rationalize them away because we cannot find a common sense reason not to proceed, and consequently we end up in trouble time and time again. God wants us to start paying attention.
When we pray in tongues, God often reveals things to us either in our thoughts or through what we pray in English between praying in tongues. This is interpretation of tongues, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and it works in our private prayer language just as effectively as it does when tongues are used to give a message to the corporate body. I’ve addressed this in detail in another post, The Power of Your Prayer Language (Part 6).
God speaks to us through our pastor. I have been saddened by the number of times I have encountered people who have difficulty hearing God, who are out from under their pastor’s covering. God has a prescribed plan for how authority works in His kingdom. Part of that plan is that each of us are accountable to those who are governmentally positioned over us. This means each of us should be plugged into a local body of believers and be submitted to the pastor of that body.
God speaks to us through our pastor’s sermons, through his personal counsel, and through his correction. When we ignore or refuse to hear what our pastor is telling us, we are out from under the God-ordained covering which has been provided for our safety. We open ourselves up to deception. When we harden our hearts toward hearing our pastor speak into our lives, we are also hardening our hearts toward an avenue of hearing God speak to us. If you won’t hear your pastor, don’t expect to hear God correctly in other ways, either. You are out of order, and God won’t honor it.
As we become more sensitive to the Lord in all the other ways through which we can hear Him, we should also find an increase in God-inspired thoughts that hardly seem to be a break from our regular train of thinking. We begin to recognize that even in our general thought flow, God is speaking to us. It may come as creative ideas for business, the arts, or ministry. It may be an increase in understanding, wisdom, or discernment. God’s inspiration upon the general flow of our thoughts is what is meant by having “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), “the renewed mind” (Romans 12:2), and the “sanctified mind.”
In the next couple of posts we will talk about practical ways to improve our hearing experience.
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