Listening is a lost art. Studies show that the average person can listen for only 15 seconds without responding. In reality, most of those 15 seconds are lost formulating a response to what is being said. If most of us struggle to listen to those around us, how can we hope to hear from God?
I believe God speaks. I don’t happen to believe He stopped talking when the apostle John stopped breathing. That may mess up your theology, but welcome to the club. It messed up my theology too, when I realized a silent God was my theology, not His. If you’re looking for good theology, look no further than Jesus. Jesus is perfect theology. Jesus heard the Father’s voice and we can hear that same voice if we are willing to listen.
I believe God speaks primarily, but not exclusively, through Scripture. The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, but rest assured, when He does, He will never do so at the expense of what He has already said in the Bible. He will not contradict Himself, but neither will He limit His options in communicating His purpose, direction, and love for each of us.
Now…enough defense. You can debate if and when, or why and why not. I would rather hear one word from God than listen to all the theologians of the world. God will speak if you will listen.
I have found in that quiet place behind the veil, God does speak in words and ways I can understand. He will do the same for you if you will do whatever it takes to go there and if you will quietly listen. The longer I seek the heart of God, the less I talk when I am in His presence. Our tendency in prayer is to talk instead of listen. In fact, most prayer is monologue rather than dialogue. Talk less and listen more and you will certainly hear God speak.
In my experience, God speaks in a way that I can understand. He does so because He wants me to hear and understand His words. He does not waste words and He never stutters or stumbles. He is direct—straight to the point—in that still, small voice. He does not yell, nor does He badger or berate. He simply speaks—my responsibility is to listen, hear, test (with the Bible), and obey. It is through my obedience that faith is released, and with that faith comes more conversation to stimulate more faith.
Many don’t hear God speak because they didn’t obey the last thing He told them to do. Disobedience clogs the ears of our spirit, rendering us deaf to the divine directives of the Lord. Silence has a way of putting us in touch with who we really are, instead of who we would like everyone else to think we are. If you quiet yourself, the junk hidden deep within will ooze up to the surface. If that happens, confess it and God will open your deaf ears once again.
If you’re struggling with what I’ve written your struggle is not with me but with God. He spoke on the first day of creation and continued speaking throughout the Old and New Testament. He has not changed, and according to His infallible, inspired, and inerrant written Word—He ain’t likely to start now. If He was talking then, He’s talking now. Let me challenge you to take a course this next semester in God’s Silence School and see what He’s saying to you.
Lesson #5: If you will listen and obey God will speak no matter your particular brand of theology. Listening to God is a matter of the heart. Hearing and obeying His voice will increase your faith and nothing pleases God more than faith. God loves to talk with faith-filled people.