"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye."
At one time God's first couple had open communion with Him. Then sin came in ... man's will and way versus God's will and way, and separated them from God. How tragic! God found a way for sinful people to commune with Him again, but it cost Him His Own Son. Yet God was willing to pay that price to have a daily relationship and communion with you. Are you willing to pay the price, each day, to have Christ live more fully in you and reveal to you the fullness of His Father and His guidance for you? If you do, you will experience the endless wisdom of God. Nothing determines your destiny more than your ability to hear His still small voice to your soul and your willingness to follow it. In this chapter, you will see how to keep God's will rooted in your life so that the Holy Spirit can personally apply it to each instance of your day.
The Bible promises that God will be there for you. "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Psalm 32:8 Could it be any clearer? This text says to me, and hopefully to you, that Christianity is more than a compilation of theoretical ideas about God, where we have beliefs to be memorized, doctrines to be mastered, and a moral code of acceptance to be lived up to. No, Psalms 32:8 says our God is a communicating God. To believe that God speaks only through the Bible is to handcuff the God of the Bible. Scripture provides the checks and balances; His Spirit provides the application throughout our day.
A Divine Frequency
There is a frequency that our lives were designed to be tuned to, and that frequency is the unique voice of God to our conscience. Once we learn to hear it, and we get better at picking it out, we find that our craving for it intensifies. As our desire for input from above increases, and we are willing to lower the surrounding noises of our life and listen expectantly for those whispers of God, our ears
become more sensitive to them
! If you don't silence those competing voices, they'll eventually deafen and conquer you. When you take your cues from the Holy Spirit, you'll do some things that will make people take note that the God of heaven is
charge and not you. And when we follow the lead of those whispers, our world will come alive.
The issue isn't whether God is speaking, it's whether we will have ears to hear what He says. He emphatically states, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. So, we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.'" Hebrews 13:5, 6 Fear is overcome by a contentment founded on the assurance of God's constant presence in the promises He extends to us to supply our daily needs. God is available. He is approachable. He is ready to talk to you. Now it's your move!
A Life-Altering Whisper
As I pointed out in the previous chapter, I had accepted a job as a chauffeur for what the world would call the elite or the very rich. What so many people do not understand is that they have the same basic needs as everyone else does. Ron was what the world calls a self-made man. He appeared to have it made-an extremely successful career, financial wealth, a home the size of a castle, many cars in the garage, notoriety-but Ron was engulfed in LONELINESS. The dispatcher sent me to his address, and I marveled at the size of his castle as I pulled into his driveway. I helped him load his skis and asked him if he wanted to ride up front with me. He seemed numb, distant, and floating in discouragement. Wanting to help, I tried to engage him in healthy conversation. As we talked, he asked what I had done for a living, which ended in the fact that I was a Christian author and speaker. That switched him off! He indicated that, for the most part, he found Christianity filled with hypocrisy. We arrived at the ski lift, and I dropped him off.
About a week later I picked Ron up a second time, and he was politely cool. I sensed he had an offense toward me, perhaps due to my Christian profession. On neither of these occasions did he ever give me a tip. Tips are very typical in the work that I was doing, so when I got back to the dispatcher's office, I asked the other drivers if Ron tips them. "Oh yes, all the time," they replied. Now I knew there was a possible personal offense, and I petitioned God to let the other drivers pick him up in the future, if I was only going to be a negative influence upon him.
There were usually three drivers sitting in the dispatcher's office, and we were sent out in a sequential fashion. A call came in to pick up Ron at his home, and it was not my turn to go. I smiled, but the other driver said, "Jim, you take this call." Immediately I responded, "Oh no, you go ahead." The other driver insisted because he had a phone call he had to attend to. I tried to be relieved of picking Ron up, but now I knew, in the quiet recess of my heart, God had an assignment for me. This was a divine appointment.
God inaudibly whispered to my conscience, "I will give you the words." I was hearing from God, but would I have the will to respond? I sensed I would be navigated to help open Ron's once glazed-over eyes to his need of Christ, as well as the plight he was facing in his present situation. I knew I needed to be extremely open to hearing from God and doing exactly what He prompted me to. Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'" That'
's assurance that He will whisper in our ear what is needed in the moment. God is no respecter of persons, and He will do this for you as well as for me. God knew this man's need; I didn't. But what I did know was that God would navigate me, nudge me, prompt me, and urge me to help open this man's eyes. I was not going there to merely give him a lift to the mountain, but a lift to a deeper life
if he chose it
Are you open to hearing from God, and for getting gutsier about doing exactly what He says to do? The ability to discern Divine direction has saved me from a life of boredom, preserved me from self-destruction, redirected my path, rescued me from temptation, and re-energized me during some of my deepest moments of despair. Now I was on my way to help a man who carried an offense against the only one who could help him-God!
When I pulled into Ron's driveway for the third time, I noticed that his castle was dark, with no life in it. The Divine thought that came to me was, "This man is lonely;
's all by himself." As Ron took his place in the front seat, I reiterated the words I heard in the quiet recess of my thoughts.
"Ron, you must be awfully lonely in this huge home all by yourself."
What most people would have viewed as too forward of an approach was the door opener to Ron's need. Praise God! Quite often when you take your cues from the all-knowing God you will end up doing some things that will make people think you are crazy. So be it. If it doesn't
's moral principles, obey the intimation and see what God does. Ron began to pour out his heart. He explained to me how he worked all his life and was looking forward to retirement and enjoying the fruits of his labors. A few months after moving into his castle, his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He tried to take care of her himself, but it was just too much. His wife had a severe case, so Ron found the most elaborate facility available in the states that would give her the absolute best care that could be given. Now in his late sixties, he was all by himself. The loneliness was killing him. I asked him how often he thought about her and about his loneliness. It was scores of times every day. Ron needed help and he needed it right now.
"Okay Lord, you showed me how to open the door, now give me the words that this man needs to bring him home to You."
"Ron, you've done many wonderful things in your life, but this is something you do not have the skill to accomplish on your own. You need a Power outside of yourself to break the loneliness and to find true completeness. You seem to have everything that the world says will bring you happiness, yet you have no peace or joy."
"Jim, I don't want your religion. I've been down that road, and it's a dead end. They only want my money, my attendance, and my influence; I'm not interested. They only really care about themselves."
What would seem like a closed door to most people was simply an open door for me. I had experienced exactly what he had said, but found my way out of empty religion and into Jesus Christ. God had prepared me and was flooding my mind with what He would have me say.
"Ron, I belong to God and not merely a religion!!! The power I'm talking about is the indwelling Jesus Christ. He alone can bring you a completeness, a peace and joy in the midst of your present trial, that no religion, earthly possession, wealth, or fame can do. If you will let me explain how to let Him in and how to respond to Him throughout your day, you will very quickly experience a rest you have never known in your entire life."
Wow, was it ever quiet in the limousine-silence that would make most people nervous. However, I knew that the Holy Spirit was doing a work in his heart, in his mind, and in his conscience that no human being or religion could ever accomplish. After about five minutes, Ron looked at me and said, "I'm ready for that power." Praise God! God wins-the devil loses.
Now I have a question for you. You may be very familiar with God's written whispers, His word. But how we put into practice His written whispers are vitally important and beyond any of our comprehension. We need God to whisper in our ears His inaudible instructions for carrying out life in the moment. John 4:24 says, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." I was worshiping God by putting into practice His written whispers through His gentle whispers to my consciousness. Is that you? Nothing determines your destiny more than your ability to move with His nudges.
If all you have is a knowledge of His written Word, church membership, your church culture, and a position or office in your denomination, but do not know how to come under God's gentle whispers to your conscience, you are but a foolish virgin-how sad.
I would have to say that the vast majority of Christians are in this category. Their churches have let them down and have only taken them to first or possibly second base-not to home plate. It is my desire that you start hitting home runs in your life and making touch downs, such as God allowed me to have with Ron, as his chauffeur. Understanding and responding to God's gentle whispers to your soul will empower your life, revitalize your marriage, reconnect your family, touch others' lives, and make you an instrument of the Most High. It is vital to becoming a wise virgin. Will you dare to enter in? Will you venture to let God's voice be the loudest voice in your life?
My Daily Request
Because the Bible promises that God will guide us, this is my daily request: "Lord, please make me so sensitive to Your still small voice that Your slightest whisper will move my soul."
Some Christians find that hearing God is difficult and perhaps even question whether it is truly biblical. These individuals are truly '
-centered,' and that is admirable. However, as John 4:23 indicates, "True worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth." So, in addition to having a '
-centered' tradition, we must add to that a '
-centered' experience. Our daily experience cannot just be mechanical or rote-merely human activity following our intellectual assent to truth.
Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they must bring the truth into their practical life. Their profession of truth, when not combined with the Spirit's direction for their life, often leaves them with broken marriages, dysfunctional families, and wounded friendships. It is vitally important that we analyze the fruit of our lives and not merely our profession of truth. Often a profession of truth without the Spirit's oversight in one's life leaves them cold and indifferent to anyone whose understanding of their 'truth' isn't exactly the same. They have been deafened by the voice of religious conformity.
What matters is not merely what one believes, but how they put into practice those beliefs. Their attitude of heart and mind toward others of a lesser understanding is as vital as their own understanding of truth. This is where the work of the Spirit is absolutely indispensable-in instructing and navigating us on how to treat others as Jesus treats us, especially those with whom we disagree.
The Holy Spirit is not an eerie presence that just hangs around. He is God and lives in every born-again, surrendered Christian. He comforts us and actively speaks to us. He does this in many ways: through dreams, visions, warnings, a sense of conviction, or most often, through what we are discussing here, 'the still small voice' (1 Kings 19:12) of the Spirit. Let's site some simple examples:
God spoke to Noah about the coming flood and his need to build an ark for the safety of his family. Abraham heard the words of God's promise and trusted them. Moses heard the voice of God from a bush that wouldn't stop burning. God clearly communicated with Gideon, giving the warrior specific instructions about how many men to take into battle to secure a swift victory. Young Samuel, we all know, heard a word from the Lord, not to mention all of David's experiences and exploits.
Turning to the New Testament we see the experience of Mary when she was called to be the mother of Jesus. How about Simeon and Anna when they recognized the Christ child, or Paul when he was knocked off his high horse? Peter was whispered to while he was on the roof waiting for lunch. The leaders of the early church understood God's propensity to whisper. It is by these whispers, guided by His sure Word, that we are led today toward a productive and fruitful life.
By the still small voice of God, we-when sensitive to that voice-are given personal assurance, correction, insight, and guidance from above. By our heavenly Father's wisdom, we are directed, aided, changed, and eventually matured into the full measure of the
or woman that He is calling us to. The issue isn't whether God is speaking; it is whether we will have ears to hear what He says. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" Matthew 13:9 'Ears to hear' means the essential need for all of us to have a teachable, hearing heart throughout our day. Let us all quit shielding ourselves from God.
The SUV hitch?
I will never forget one time when God spoke to me while I was driving my SUV. I was pulling a utility trailer into town down a pothole-riddled
gravel road. Unbeknown to me, I'd forgotten to latch down the trailer hitch. A quiet urging came to me-not audibly, but in my spirit: "Stop and check your trailer hitch." It seemed to come out of the blue, and I was sure I had hitched the trailer properly, but I hadn't. God was trying to give me advance knowledge to protect me. How many times do we dismiss such advance knowledge, reasoning it away and dismissing it, when God is its author? God's gentle whisper saved me that day, as it will every day for you as well, if we will tune ourselves into His frequency. How about you? When will you learn to listen and trust in God's gentle whispers to your conscience?
The ability to hear the Spirit's voice is developed over the years as we grow in Christ. If you really want to hear Him, you should daily ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Silence those competing voices and acquiesce to permit God's voice to be the most resonant in your life. As you allow more of the Spirit's presence and power in your life, you will set aside your self-centered agendas and sinful habits, so God can communicate to you without any hindrance.
A Divine Assignment
A very close friend of mine, who understands the gentle whispers of God and acts upon them on a consistent basis, recently shared with me a Divine assignment that God had given him. Little did he understand what his actions would accomplish. With his permission, here is his story:
As I slipped a $100 bill into my pocket, something I very seldom do, little did I realize how God was about to move in a life for His purpose and glory. It was a beautiful fall Sunday in late October as we walked into the church sanctuary. I was tired, as I had spent the last six days working fifteen-hour days, operating a John Deere corn combine on our farm in eastern Colorado. During that Sunday morning service, the wife of an internationally known speaker was introduced with her three teenage daughters. During the service, I began to experience a unique and unusual awareness of the seventeen-year-old daughter. From past experiences with the Holy Spirit, I began to realize that God was working on my heart. But what was God about to do through me? During the next hour, I seemed to become uncharacteristically compassionate and sensed the love of God toward the speaker's daughter. By now, I was acutely sensitive to the Spirit and asking God for some understanding of what He would have me say or do. As the congregation stood for the closing prayer, I clearly heard in my spirit, "Go and give the $100 bill to the girl and say, 'This is a gift from a good friend of yours, and His name is Jesus.'" This was not a normal occurrence for me, but I sensed a powerful urge to complete this Divine assignment. As I gave the gift and spoke the words, the presence and passion of God was so strong on me, I was emotionally choking up to the point of tears. The rest of the day I sensed peace, joy, and the pleasure of my loving heavenly Father.
Fast-forward about ten years, and I am sitting as a passenger on a commercial airliner, traveling from Colorado Springs to Tulsa, Oklahoma. About an hour into the flight, a man stood up a few rows in front of me, and much to my surprise, it was the father of the teenage girl to whom I had given the $100 bill. As he walked toward me, I stopped him, introduced myself, and shared the story from ten years earlier. The father became emotional in expressing his gratitude; he couldn't seem to thank me enough. He then explained that his daughter had been at a critical crossroad, struggling with her faith in God and was not sure of His love and care for her. She needed funds for clothing during her senior year of high school and was praying for God's help. The father told me that my simple gift and my words helped to solidify her faith in God and change the direction of her life. She recommitted her life to God's kingdom and purpose. Later she married a man involved in world evangelism; their ministry during the last thirty years has impacted thousands of lives in countries all over the world.
As a result of His 'still small voice' giving me a divine assignment, along with the grace to obey, only God can measure the many lives blessed and impacted for eternity. I encourage you to not allow your carnal selfish reasoning to immobilize your response when God gives you a divine assignment. The consequences or rewards will have eternal ramifications!
Only God knows what He wants to accomplish in and through us; our obedient response is to always remain so sensitive that the slightest whisper of God can move our souls. This silent listening is anything but passive. No, it's a proactive listening!
Most Christians are presently waiting on God to answer their petitions. They have approached God with their concerns, their list of needs, and interventions they desire Him to take care of. But the truth of the matter is that God is waiting on you. He's waiting for you to tune in to the Divine frequency and tune out the excessive noise in your life that drowns out His gentle whispers to your soul. He wants and is attempting to give you His guidance and empowerment. What a gift! But there must be a purposeful, deliberate reception on our part. Jesus always placed himself in a receptive position to His Father. He kept the frequency open continually. If He, the Son of God, needed to do this, how much more do we!
There must be a willingness to filter through Him all that comes into our lives. We must have an attitude to act upon the Divine guidance that so desires to bless us. And finally, we must demonstrate a daily desire to keep that connection open and natural. Our God is waiting for us to master this art of daily walking with Him.
Questions for Discussion
- Do you believe that God speaks to you daily?
- Are you able to recognize the still small voice of God communicating to your conscience?
- Is there too much 'noise' in your life that drowns out God's gentle whispers to your soul?
- Are you willing to start having 'ears to hear'?
- Do you believe that God has the solution for your present dilemma, and are you willing to listen for His input?
- Will you ask God for the courage to be used as a tool in His hand, to help others as He whispers in your ear?
- Do you believe you can truly be complete in Christ?
- Do you want to become so sensitive to God's still small voice that the slightest whisper of His Spirit will move your soul?
- Are you going to place yourself in the frame of mind that God can give you advance knowledge for the needs of your day, your life, as well as the lives of the others He wants you to touch?