A lot of times I am asked the question, “How do I hear the voice of God?” My response to that question is, “Are you listening?” What I have learned from my own personal experience is that the Lord is always talking to us whether it’s directly to us, through someone else, or through his written word, we just aren’t always listening.
Sometimes we’re not listening because he’s not talking to us the way WE want him to talk to us. We want to hear the voice of God for ourselves but don’t want to listen when God speaks to us through others. Sometimes we’re not listening because we really don’t know when he’s talking to us, and other times we are simply tuning him out while listening to other voices that oppose his word.
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded by the voices and opinions of others, including our own, it is crucial to know and recognize the voice of the Lord when he is speaking and to obey him. In last week’s blog I talked about 5 Things Keeping Us From Hearing the Voice of God. To help us get to a place where we are hearing and obeying the voice of God, I now want to talk about 5 Things to Help Us Hear the Voice of God.
1. Repentance From Sin
If sin can keep us from hearing the voice of God, then turning away from sin and receiving the Spirit of God can open our ears so that we do hear his voice. Acts 2:38 tells us to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is very instrumental in our being able to hear God’s voice because the Holy Ghost is the spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-11 (NKJV) tells us But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
When we have the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside of us then we can hear God when he speaks to us because his Spirit in us will bear witness that we are his children (Rom 8:16). Remember I said in last week’s blog that if we are not of God then we cannot hear him (John 8:47). Because we have his Spirit, his Spirit in us will act as a conduit so that we can hear the things that God wants to share with us.
2. Submission to God’s Divine Order
In Pt. 1 of this blog series I talked about how pride can hinder us from hearing the voice of God because it will keep us from hearing him when he speaks to us through other people. The opposite of that would be humility and submission.
This one was a big one for me because when I started developing my own relationship with God I stopped respecting as much the authority and position of a pastor. I had a hard time respecting the position of a pastor because I had always had a problem with authority in general. For the last couple of years, the Lord has really been dealing with me a lot about pride and getting me to submit to authority and to the leaders he has placed over me including, more recently, the leadership of my husband.
Submitting to what is called the fivefold ministry; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph 4:11), is important because God speaks to us through them and if we can’t hear them, then we can’t hear God. Romans 10:13, 14 says For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
If it weren’t for someone sharing with us the good news of Jesus Christ and us hearing them and believing their words, we would not be saved. This is why we need pastors and preachers and evangelists, etc, and it is also why we need to submit to them and hear what “thus saith the Lord” through them. Hebrews 13:17 (NASB) tells us to Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. Because we need to be able to hear the voice of God through pastors and preachers, we need to make sure that we are God led as to the church we will attend.
If you’re married than it is also very important to submit to the leadership and authority of your husband who is the spiritual head of your home. This aspect of submission to God’s divine order is very new to me since I’ve only been married for a year and a half so I’m just going to refer to the scriptures as I’m still learning in this area.
1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV) – But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV) – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself it’s Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Now wives, don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying that you can’t have your own personal relationship with God and that you can’t hear from God for yourself without your husband guiding you. What I will say though is that there is a fine line between having your own personal relationship with God and overstepping the authority of your husband. I believe we must figure out for ourselves within our own personal relationships with Jesus and with our husbands what that balance looks like and this is the process that I am in now. I hear from God for myself, but there are times when God speaks to me through my husband and I need to be in a position of humility submission to hear God through him as well.
3. The Word Coupled With Prayer
In Pt. 1 of this blog series I talked about how lack of understanding can keep us from hearing God. We can combat lack of understanding through prayer and the word of God aka, the Bible. James 1:5 tells us, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. This scripture is pretty self explanatory, if you don’t understand something, pray for wisdom and understanding and God will give it to you.
The word of God is important in our being able to hear the voice of God because Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. That’s why it is important to sit under a pastor and be taught the word of God so that we can have understanding when God speaks to us whether it’s through his word, another person, or in our ear. We develop our hearing and our faith to act on what we hear when we know the word of God.
It is also important to know and understand the word of God because sometimes we will hear things or see visions of things when we pray and what we see and hear in prayer has to line up with the word of God.
4. Patience & Perseverance
In Pt. 1 I talked about how trials and the cares of this world can keep us from hearing God. When we find ourselves caught up in the cares of this world or trials and tribulations and we realize that it‘s hard for us to hear God, it is important that we never give up on trying to hear him. Sometimes it can become frustrating when we want to hear God’s voice so badly but it seems like we’re not.
In those instances patience and perseverance is key. When we’re going through trials we need to persevere and allow patience to have her perfect work in us (Jam 1:4) so that we can continue to grow, and as we continue to grow we will develop our ears to hear God. When we find the cares of this world bearing down on us we need to be patient and persevere to hear the voice of God to give us instructions on how to cast our cares on him.
We all go through times when trials and tribulations or the cares of this world dull our hearing, and it can be very frustrating when we’re trying to hear his voice but can’t. If you find yourself in this place, just continue to be patient and persevere through it, and draw closer to God so that he can show you what it is that my be keeping you from hearing him and open your ears.
5. Forgiveness & Moving Forward
According to Min. G. Craig Lewis’s teaching on hearing the voice of God, our past greatly effects our ability to hear God, and I talked about that in Pt. 1. The way we overcome our past so that we can hear the voice of God is to forgive and move forward.
Sometimes we can’t hear the voice of God because we are so stuck in the past and the things that people did to us in the past that we can’t hear what God is trying to reveal to us about our present situation or our future. There are a lot of people who have been hurt by one church or one pastor in the past, so now they refuse to go to any church or listen to any pastor.
If we can forgive the past hurts and allow God to transform us by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), he will get us to the place we need to be so that we can properly hear him no matter how he chooses to talk to us who he uses to talk to us.
Philippians 3:13, 14 – Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
No matter how God chooses to talk to us, whether it’s through the preached word, the written word, or in our ear during prayer, we need to have an ear to hear what he is saying to us. If you are having difficulty hearing the voice of God in your life I pray that these 5 things that I listed will be a blessing to you as you continue to develop your relationship with God.
Also if you haven’t already, read 5 Things Keeping You From Hearing God’s Voice, because knowing what is hindering you from hearing the voice of God could be the first step you take in the direction of being able to hear him.
Remember transparency saves life,
Ephesians 4:25 – Put away lying, speak every [wo]man truth with [her] neighbor: for we are members one of another.
What are some things that have helped you to hear the voice of God as you developed your relationship with Christ?
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