Hearing God's Voice

Hearing God’s voice doesn’t work with a microwave mentality

This week I received an email from a lady who shared some of her journey learning to hear God’s voice. It all started about three years ago at a God Conversations event. Her testimony reminded me that learning to hear God’s voice takes time. Our ability to recognise the voice of the Spirit improves with experience and practice.

The idea of learning to hear God is offensive to some. People assume that the biblical characters didn’t have to learn; God simply dropped everything into their minds and they never had problems separating the voice of God from their own.

But this way of thinking resembles the beginnings of Mormonism when Joseph Smith claimed to discover God’s message in a golden book beneath a tree more than the biblical experience…

We Learn Like the Biblical Characters

The biblical characters were “just like us” (James 5:17) – they were sinful, selfish and prone to hearing what they wanted to hear. Many of Israel’s prophets learned to hear God’s voice in a school (e.g. 1 Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3,5). Sometimes they  got it wrong (Jeremiah 27-29; Acts 21:4,10–12). Even the renowned prophet Samuel missed God’s voice when he first heard it (1 Sam. 3:1-8).

The truth is hearing God’s voice is not always easy. It’s more like a slow cooker than a 3-minute stint in a microwave… It’s not just about pressing the right button and voila! Two-way conversation with God takes time. It involves practice. We may make mistakes. But the good news is, we can learn.

We Learn as in Human Relationships

Hearing God’s voice is not unlike the experience of human communication. Think about the closest relationship you have – perhaps a friend, a spouse, a parent or a sibling. How long did it take to get to know them? How long did it take you to pick up on their tone of voice, their sense of humour and use of vocabulary? Intimate relationships are only built through time and trust. There’s no room for a microwave mentality in the growth and development of human relationships. Our connection with God is exactly the same.

That’s what I loved about this woman’s testimony. At one event three years ago, she made a decision to go on a learning journey. Years on, that journey is bearing fruit. It took a decision, a personal investment and some time. And with every step, she got to know God more closely.

May I encourage you to do the same?

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