Hearing from God:
The other day I had a very interesting conversation with my sister. I come from a family of three sisters and me, the youngest and the only boy. Needless to say I had a unique childhood. In the word of Andrew Gold, “Oh what a lonely boy.” The conversation that my sister and I were having centered on an uncertainty which she felt about her relationship with Christ. She shared that she feels like she does not quite get it. She shared that in some areas of her relationship she has some certainty, but feels inadequate in most other areas. I asked her what it would take to make her feel certain about her relationships with Christ. She responded by saying hearing him. She said I believe that you hear God, I can tell it when you preach, I can feel it, and the sermon usually relates to what I am going through at the time. My response to that was “I am no different than you.” James 5:17 helps us with the misconception that we have to be special or favored in order for God to speak to us. The book of James challenges this thought, by reminding the readers that the great prophet Elijah, the one who God used mightily to speak to a nation and to prove to a wicked King that Jehovah is the only God, was a human just like us. James said that if God can do that through Elijah, He can do it through every believer. Understanding this can bring peace into our relationship with Christ so that instead of spending our time trying to qualify ourselves to be used by God we can begin to walk in his willingness to use us. Wanting to be used by God has nothing to do with wrestling with His reluctance and everything to do with embracing his willingness.
Knowing this truth can help us posture ourselves into a greater expectation:
By expecting God to use us and speak through us, we will live in a state of readiness. We will look for opportunities to be used by God. We may see a need in someone’s life and become willing to meet it. For example, you may have a conversation with a friend or a stranger in the grocery store. There may be a detected need that is revealed by your friend, a spiritual need, and instead of having doubts and uncertainties about stepping out and praying or speaking a word over the need, you will boldly and confidently make yourself available for God to move through you. You will witness God’s faithfulness and experience His desire to touch the lives of the broken and meet their needs through you.
Knowing this truth can create an intentional posture:
Being intentional will allow us to be able to recognize when God is speaking to our lives, because we are expecting it. When we are looking we are being intentional. Being intentional creates a sensitivity that will allow us to hear God when he speaks. Samuel the great prophet of Israel learned to hear from God when he became intentional. The story can be found in 1Samuel the third chapter. The story begins while Samuel was a little child and he was being groomed by Eli, Israel’s present prophet, to be the next prophet. As Samuel laid in his bed he heard a voice call his name. He thought the voice that was speaking to him was Eli’s. He ran into Eli’s chamber and asked him what he needed and why he called for him. Eli reported to Samuel that he did not indeed call him and to return to his bed. This happened two more times until Eli understood that it was God’s voice the boy was hearing. His response to this can be found in 1 Samuel 3: 8-10
“Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel is a lot like us, God is speaking but we are not aware that it is God. We hear a voice and respond to it. We sense a direction and move to it. We feel an emotion and are led by it. This may be God talking to us, but we are not intentional about hearing him, because we judge ourselves unworthy to be spoken to by God. Therefore we miss the valuable recognition of knowing this is God’s direction and His leading in our life. The challenge is to us that expectation and being intentional will open us up to an awareness that God is speaking to us and this will help us grow in our relationship with Him.
James 5:17 “Ordinarily Extraordinary.”