I was back in my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. And peering across the table were the eyes of two friends who, knew me in my high school - college days. They were involved in my, "drinking parties," my, "drag racing events," and my, "wilder times." They both wanted to know the same thing, "How did your life turned out the way it did?" They wanted an answer as they sipped on their bottle of Budweiser while I sipped on my lemonade.
They were now both churchgoers who owned a Bible, so I knew a mere discussion of the ancient rules, creeds and stiff-necked traditions was not going to cut it. So I got right to the point.
I told them that I decided to
give God total control of my life, and see where He would take me. I felt it would be intriguing to see what God might do with my life without me keeping myself at the helm. I explained to them that our God is a communicating God and I decided to train my ear toward heaven. Yes, I have read my Bible from Genesis to Revelation and use it as the rule of my life. But in addition to that God speaks through His whispers (His inaudible voice) as stated in Isaiah 30:21, "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way walk ye in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left."
Too many of us know truth, but we don't allow the Truth Giver and His Spirit to interpret it for us. We remain in charge. I decided to tune myself into His frequency and respond to His gentle whispers. I have found there is a frequency that your life was designed to be tuned into, and that frequency is the unique voice of God. Once you learn to hear it - and you actually can get better at
discerning it- you will find that your craving for it intensifies as your soul longs to hear more from Him.
Adam and Eve, "heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." (Genesis 3:8). God spoke to Noah about the coming flood and his need to build the ark for the safety of his family. (Genesis 8:15). Abraham heard the words of God's promise and trusted them. (Genesis 12:1-9). Moses heard the voice of God from a bush that wouldn't stop burning. (Exodus 3:2). God also clearly communicated to Gideon, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Saul before he became Paul.
The issue isn't whether or not God speaks to us, it's whether we will have ears to hear what He says. The difference is whether we have the willingness to respond.
For example, when I had a thriving insurance agency, a beautiful 3000 sq. ft. all log home on 40 park like acres, five vehicles and a great standing in my church and community - it was then that God whispered to me to sell it all and move to the wilderness of Montana.
If you two remember, you both thought I had lost my marbles. But yet it was that inspiration from God that clearly redirected and reshaped my life and future. God's well-timed promptings put me on an entirely different path, and rescued me from a self-centered life.
I had to confess to my two friends that my batting average of hearing - and heeding - the whispers of God hasn't been perfect. In fact, my ignoring of His urging has gotten me into trouble numerous times. But God is available and approachable. But are we tuned into Him?
Because I've chosen to have "selective hearing," and go in a pre-planned thinking mode at times, does not deny His desire to navigate my life. The problem with all of us is that we are more interested in hearing what we wish God were saying, rather than listening to what He is actually telling us. So I
apply the following filters. If it doesn't stand up under the scrutiny of these filters, I am reticent to accept it as being from God, without further careful consideration.
Filter 1. "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20). The question is does this square with God's Word, for God never contradicts His written Word. Is it consistent with the testimony of His character? Is it aligned with His attributes?
Filter 2. Try to reduce the noise in your life. Psalms 46:10 states it this way, "Be still and know that I am God." A confused, stressed and emotional mind is unstable. Quiet down the life, unplug from the bombardment of the media, relax and let your mind rest. For me that's putting on a backpack and going up into the mountains solo. For you, it might be listening for Him in the quiet of your home or walking in the park. Whatever it is, be sure to carve out those moments in your day.
Filter 3. Ask yourself does it humble you, put others first, and make you a servant of others If it does I can assure you it isn't from the devil. The Beatitudes are a wonderful filter. "Blessed are the poor in spirit... those who mourn... the meek... those who hunger and thirst... the merciful... the pure in heart... the peacemakers... and those who are persecuted." (Matthew 5:3-10).
Filter 4. Put away all known sin in your life. Sin dulls the mind; it confuses the choices and subjects us to the Devil's whispers. The psalmist says it very well, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." (Psalm 66:18)
When you increase your time in Scripture, live a quieter life, humble yourself before God, and put away your transgressions you increase your odds that you'll hear from God - that's as simple and as uncomplicated as it gets. God will lead you by your reason and logic based in the Word of God, according to Christ's life, and according to His Spirit. He
may not speak to you audibly but He will speak thoughts and ideas to your conscience and through His providence confirm His directions.
Hearing God and having the good sense to respond will reshape your entire destiny and should be the passion that ignites Christ's followers in their everyday living.
Jim & Sally