In order to live a life of submission and obedience to God, we must learn to discern His voice from the voice of the world around us. Often times we let other voices drown out the voice that most matters, and that is the voice of God, our Father. So is it even possible to really hear the voice of God? If so, where do we even begin?
Step 1: Preparation In Prayer and Purification
In Psalm 119:18 the Psalmist prays “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
God’s Word has hidden truths that natural man is not able to understand without proper revelation from the Holy Spirit. We must pray that God will open our eyes so we can understand His Word to know what He wishes to speak to us. Anytime we believe God is speaking to us, we must be sure it lines up with His Word as He would never say anything to us that is contradictory to His Word. So ultimately, prayer and an understanding of God’s Word are key to hearing what God is saying to us. Therefore, we must guard our daily time with God so we don’t neglect hearing His voice on a regular basis. Yes, it takes active guarding of our time with God because there will always be distractions that keep us from coming to God.
We must also be sure our hearts are clean. In James 4:8 says “cleanse your hands” and “make your hands pure.” This is to be done so that our prayers are not hindered so that we come with hearts that have repented of any sin brought to light by the Holy Spirit. David, in Psalm 51, prayed that God would create in him a clean heart as well, as he was truly repentant of his sin with Bathsheba.
Step 2: Desire To Draw Near
In Hebrews 10:22, we read “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …” We must have a sincere desire to draw near and to know God, to hear from Him because we trust Him explicitly.
We must also draw near to really understand for the sake of obedience in response to what God is saying to us. God says in His Word in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that His “eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” God knows our hearts and is looking for those who seek Him because our desire is to draw near because we trust Him and want to obey Him. The example that comes to mind is Nicodemus; he wasn’t perfect but he came to see Jesus and ask Him questions because of what seemed like a sincere search for the Truth. He also referred to Jesus as “Rabbi” acknowledging Him as “Teacher.” We must, in the same way, desire to learn from Jesus by coming to Him in search of Scriptural truths through which He speaks to us.
Step 3: Give Ear To Godly Counsel
There is safety in wise counsel and God’s Word speaks of this very well. This could mean another (sometimes older) brother or sister in the Lord or those in authority of us as leaders/elders. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” It is important to note that another brother or sister in the body of Christ doesn’t, however, take the place of God’s Word. Being human, we are all imperfect and capable of being misled, despite the best intentions, which is why any advice we receive or give must be taken to the Lord in prayer and tested against God’s Word to be sure it correctly aligns with it.
However, the beauty of godly counsel lies in the gift of perspective and alternative insight that could have been easily missed or overlooked when looking at a given situation.
Do you regularly spend time with God? What is your discipline when it comes to prayer and time in the Word?