Many people live their lives without ever asking God to speak to them. I’ve heard tons of people say they’re waiting for God to tell them what to do, but they never actually get around to asking God what to do. In my mind it’s a sad state to be in. It’s like playing childish games with another person you’re mad at. You ask a proxy in the room to tell the other person something instead of directly addressing the person yourself.
Far too many people wait for God to send an angel to tell them the simplest thing to do, and that day never comes. Often people draw very inappropriate conclusions from that. They assume that either God doesn’t speak or He’s not going to speak to them. But they’ve missed something very important. They’ve ignored the process God put in place for a reason.
The process involves three important steps. Hear, Know and Ask.
God has spoken to all of us. He gave us something very powerful beyond imagination: His written Word. The process starts with filling our minds with God’s written Word. We’ve got to know it so that it’s the first thing we think about when we wake up and the last thing we contemplate when we go to sleep. If it’s in us, we’ll dwell on His words and we’ll share them with others. We can’t ever hope to hear God’s still, small, subjective word unless our hearts are overflowing with His eternal, sacred, objective written Word. We must start by learning to hear what God’s voice sounds like.
Once we’ve filled our hearts with God’s written Word, we must start to assimilate that into everything we do. We must integrate into our worldview and daily lives the principles of scripture. We know God and His voice by having a relationship with His son, Jesus and fashioning our lives around Him. We cannot put God as a compartment we run to on occasion and expect Him to ever speak to us. He must be the most important thing in our lives at all times.
A trap that far too many people have fallen into is believing they can hear God’s subjective voice without knowing what that voice sounds like first. They are often tempted and swayed by the convincing voice of our adversary, Satan. For a person who is not familiar with the precepts and statutes of God, Satan has an easy time convincing people their sinful ways are right before God.
We must give ourselves to learning what God’s voice sounds like by knowing what couldn’t possibly be His voice. Our only way to do that is to fill our hearts and minds with His written Word. Have you heard God tell you to commit adultery with another person’s spouse? Nope–He’ll never say that! It’s clear from His written Word that He wouldn’t do that. Only when we are so familiar with God’s written Word that it is lodged unlovable in our heart can we resist our wily enemy.
Once we’ve committed to hearing God’s eternal written Word and we know He and His son, Jesus, we can begin to ask God to speak to us. Jesus told us in Luke 18:1-8 that His faithful ones are those who ask until God answers. We can’t give up. I asked God to speak to me for 6 years without hearing anything discernable, but I never gave up. I knew that God was good and that if I kept asking Him to speak He would. And He did. And after He did, He didn’t stop.
The process is important, but we must keep in mind that it’s not a one-time thing. It’s life-long. No one of us will ever be able to understand scripture well enough by the time we die to fully be sure they’ve heard from God when He speaks. We must use wisdom, discernment and good judgement to know if God is speaking to us. The process starts, but it never finishes as long as we’re alive. We must always be seeking to Hear God, to Know God and to Ask God to speak and move in our lives. We need all three together. When we’re committed to that process, God has a person He can speak effectively to.
So, are you Hearing God by studying His written Word daily? Do you Know God by accepting Jesus and filling your life with His precepts? Are you Asking for God to speak to you daily?
And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:15