Religion Magazine

On Listening to God

By Caryschmidt

On Listening to God

Are you listening to God? Are you wondering what He’s saying? Here are a few things I’ve learned recently about listening to God’s voice and discerning what He’s saying:

He speaks clearly and wants you to know His will—if you don’t know what He’s saying, it’s either because you aren’t listening, or He’s waiting to tell you. If you are sure you’re listening, then just be patient. He’s not in a hurry. We are. You will know what He wants you to know when He wants you to know it. (See Psalm 27:14)

He removes all doubt and is willing to confirm and prove Himself—it’s easy to wonder if you’re hearing God or if it’s your imagination. It’s easy to question whether you are applying scripture properly or if you’re misunderstanding. But when God is speaking, over time, He makes things clear beyond all doubt. If you are doubting what He’s saying, keep listening, and be patient. But be willing to acknowledge the truth when He reveals it. Sometimes I deny what God is saying because I don’t what to hear it. (See Ephesians 5:17)

He is patient with questions, doubt, and fear—I have found God is not patient with rebellion, but He is patient with uncertainty or fear. If you know what’s He’s saying and are willfully resisting Him, buckle up for some chastening. But if you want to obey and are simply unclear—again, keep asking for clarity and waiting on God to give it. He will. And by the way, don’t make a major decision until He gives solid assurance that it’s the right thing. Acting with courageous faith is different than acting on emotional whim . (See Joshua 1)

He speaks through His Word very precisely—Listening to circumstances and internal promptings apart from God’s Word is merely Christian mysticism. Don’t go there. God’s primary voice is His written Word. Any sense that you have of God’s voice in circumstances or internal promptings should be thoroughly backed up by God’s Word. If you’re not finding confirmation in His Word, don’t act on emotion, your heart, or circumstances alone. When God is speaking, His Word will literally discern the thoughts and intents of your heart in a living dynamic way. (See Psalm 119:133)

He confirms His speaking through His people—Second to His Word, God speaks through godly counselors. Just open His Word and study how often He sent a messenger to give His Word to someone. He speaks through His people, so take what you’re hearing from His Word, and get godly feedback from people who have no personal agenda for your life. (See Proverbs 11:14)

He confirms His speaking through circumstances—Third, God orchestrates circumstances to line up with what He is saying through His Word and through counselors. When you think you’re hearing God clearly in His Word, and then your counselors are confirming that leading, buckle up again—circumstances are about to line up with what God is already telling you. His providential hand will be clear in the ordering of the steps. Recently my steps feel like God grabbed me by the collar and pulled me forward so fast it’s left my head spinning! A godly man recently said to me, “Cary, I have found when the Lord really wants something done, the situation leaves my head spinning!” (See Proverbs 16:9 and 2 Chronicles 29:36)

He rewards faith-filled obedience—I wish God would show me the whole picture. He just doesn’t work that way. He usually says, “Here’s the next step—take it, and we’ll go from there.” Bummer. One gut-wrenching step at a time, He says, “Obey…” and then He waits. But once you obey, He usually pretty quickly reveals the next step. If He doesn’t, just keep obeying your last orders. But when you obey, you can always expect Him to reward your faith. (See Hebrews11:6)

He is way ahead of you in the planning—He’s already answered questions you haven’t even thought of yet. That’s what’s so cool about belonging to God! He’s an all-powerful, all-knowing Heavenly Father. He’s working on your behalf in ways you could never conceive. With every step of faith, Satan raises a million questions—each one designed to bring pause and hesitation to your spirit. Just remember, God has the answer to everyone of them and He will give you the answer when you need it. (See Proverbs 16:9)

He is probably trying to fulfill dreams you never wasted time on—You know those dreams you gave up on a long time ago because you thought, “No way… that would never happen. I won’t even waste the emotional energy to think of that.”? God just may be unfolding a plan in your life that unearths a dream or idea you buried a long time ago. You died to it, but He didn’t. In His good time and good plan, He just may bring “the impossible” to actually happen. (See Psalm 37:4)

He is completely AWESOME! Keep listening, keep seeking, keep obeying—He always comes through!

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