Are you tired of hearing your own voice, subsequently impulsively acting on it and making mistakes? Would it not be nice to receive clear instructions and directions when you do not know what to do? Thus, preventing you from making rash decisions, with as a bonus that you do not have to clear up the mess afterwards? I believe that you agree that this would be perfect. Well, it is possible to achieve that with a little work from your side. Challenges, choices, and opportunities will come your way every day; the responsibility to make accurate and timely decisions lays in your hands. However, you will not be able to make 100% accurate decisions at every single occasion without first taking time to listen to what God says about it. However, when you first listen to God’s voice, you would know what to do. But how do you hear God’s voice?
How do you do that? The answer to this vital question is in John 8:47:
“he who is of God hears God’s words”.
That is straightforward, isn’t it? Based on the word of God, it is indeed simple to hear His voice. The only pre-requirement to hearing God’s voice is that you should ‘be of God’. Thus, when you are His child, you hear His voice. Note that the verse does not say ‘can hear God’s words’, which has the option of having the ability to hear but not apply it. No, the verse makes it clear that you will hear His voice when you are His. It is not just a theory. The verse simply says ‘hears’; meaning you will hear His voice in the practical sense as well.
What is hearing?
The bible talks much about hearing, both in the Old and the New Testament. The word ‘hear’ is found 347 times in the bible, indicating that ‘hearing’ is crucial to God. There are two sides to biblical hearing:
- God hears you.
- You hear Him.
Hearing is not a one-way but a two-way communication channel. God listens to you (to your voice) and you listen to God (to God’s voice).
If you want to hear God’s voice, you should first know what hearing is. Hearing is:
- Perceive or become aware of by the ear.
- Gain knowledge of by hearing.
- Listen to with attention.
By utilizing your ears, you will become aware of something; you get to know information by using your ears. Through this, you gain knowledge. It is noteworthy that hearing is not a passive act. Hearing is active: it requires attentive listening. All the three features of hearing apply to hearing God’s voice. You will get information and will gain knowledge by hearing God’s voice, and you must attentively listen to hear God’s voice.
Why does God want you to hear His voice?
God enables you to hear His voice, that is clear now. But why? Why is it important to God that you hear His voice? God has four reasons why He wants you to hear His voice:
- to have a relationship with Him. He wants you to communicate with Him and in order to do that you need to be able to hear His voice. Because how could you communicate if you do not hear His voice? It is similar between two humans: you cannot relate to someone if you do not communicate.
- to increase our faith. Hearing God will increase your faith in Him. Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
- to provide guidance and direction. Only when you hear God’s voice, will He be able to guide and direct you. Isaiah 30:21: “‘Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it”.
- to enable you to do His will. When you hear God’s voice, He will enable you to do His will; because He can then speak to you and through you and reach out through you. He wants to do His will through you, in various ways:
- within your own life
- in the life of other Christians
- in the life of unbelievers
- to spread the Gospel etc.
So, now that you know why God wants you to hear His voice, let us look at who will be able to hear His voice.
Who can hear God’s voice?
Who is eligible to hear God’s voice? Have you ever pondered about that? Do you consider whether you are among the ones who are entitled to hear His voice? I have. And if you genuinely want to follow God then I am sure you have contemplated about this question as well. Raising this question is not a sign of doubt, it is a sign of curiosity and wanting to know more of God. It shows that you want God to lead you, by hearing His voice. Let us check who can hear God’s voice.
The answer is simple: Everyone can hear God’s voice! Provided that you:
- are a child of God.
- have a personal relationship with Him.
Now, ask yourself: does this apply to you? Can you hear God’s voice?
YES, YOU CAN!
Hearing God’s voice is normal: it is for everyone.
When you are born again, God’s Spirit is in you and God speaks to you. You will hear God’s voice because that is what God says in His Word, and He does not lie nor trick you. You can therefore be sure that you can hear God’s voice.
The word of God is extremely clear about hearing God’s voice:
- “he who is of God hears Gods words.” John 8:47
- “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
- “‘Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21
And in case you are not sure whether you are of God, He confirms that “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16-17. This means that even if you doubt yourself, the Holy Spirit will convince you that you are His child.
Oh, what a wonderful God we serve! He lets you hear His voice.
What should be your ‘posture’ to hear God’s voice?
Can you hear God’s voice, no matter what? No, you cannot. There is something you must do first. And when you do your part, God is faithful to do His part; He will let you hear His voice.
What should you do? There are two things you need to do:
- Be available.
- Listen actively.
The first thing to do is ‘being available’. And that is quite simple. All you ought to do is saying, “Lord, here I am”. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah etcetera, said that and they heard God’s voice (Genesis 22:1; Genesis 31:11; Exodus 3:4; 1 Samuel 3:16; Isaiah 6:8). Just do it. Tell Him, “I am available Lord”.
The second thing to do is to listen actively. You must desire to hear Him. If you do not long to hear Him, you will not hear God’s voice. It is crucial to note that listening does not equal being quiet. Just being quiet is not enough. You might be exceptionally quiet but still not hear Him because your mind is occupied with other things or is wandering around. And vice versa, even when you are extremely busy, you could still hear God’s voice. When you actively listen to Him and tune in to Him, you will hear His voice. Even while you are busy at your workplace!
God WILL speak, He has promised:
“‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’’Jeremiah 33:3
Is it enough to just hear?
No, it is not enough to simply hear. In addition to hearing God’s voice, you need to do some other things. And that includes action from your side. Passively listening to God’s voice is not enough. You must add activity to it.
There are three things that you must do:
- Listen to what He says.
- Believe what He says.
- Do what He says.
1) Listen to what He says
Have you been in a conversation with someone, and your mind drifted? As a result, you did not hear what the person said but that does not mean that the person was not talking. He or she was talking to you, but you did not listen. The fact that you did not hear what the person said was not caused by that individual but by your own attitude. The same could happen when God speaks to you; your mind could be occupied with other things causing that you do not hear His voice. So, you better listen, or else you might miss what He is telling you. God clearly says that you should listen to what He says:
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”.Matthew 13:9
“My sheep listen to my voice…….”.John 10:27
2) Believe what He says
The next thing to do is believing what God says. Hearing and listening alone is not enough. You ought to believe what He tells you. His word says:
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”.Isaiah 53:1.
3) Do what He says
When you hear God’s voice; listen to it, believe it, and one more thing to do: do what He says. Simply listening and believing is not enough. You must add action to it: do what God tells you to do, bring it into action. Some of the things God tells you to do are submit to your husband, be kind to your neighbor, forgive those who hurt you, do not let your anger stay till the next day, value others above yourselves, love, forgive, etcetera. The verdict of not doing what He tells you to do is severe:
“But don’t just listen to the word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22.
‘“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”’ Math. 7:24-27.
What if you made a mistake?
You may think, ‘what if I make a mistake and am not able to discern God’s voice?’ Well, you may indeed make a mistake when you start listening but that is not the end. You can try again. Do not give up and ask God for guidance.
A baby learning to walk, will fall and cry but wakes up and tries again, until walking is mastered. God has put this perseverance in all of us. And you could use the same perseverance to pursue God and to hear His voice. He is the one who promised that you will hear Him. And He is the one who gives you the desire to hear His voice. Therefore He will let you hear His voice.
So, do not give up, try again, and keep testing the spirit behind the voice. Just start!
How do you start to hear God’s voice?
You start hearing God’s voice by:
- Meditating on God’s word
Why prayer? Why do you start and not God? It is the same as starting a conversation with someone. You do not walk to the person and then just stand in front of him/her. No, you will have to start talking. Do the same with God: go to Him and start talking. He will answer!
Meditate on His word:
Why should you meditate and read God’s word? Because by reading and meditating on His word you will get to know Him. If you want a real and an in-depth conversation with someone, you must know that person first. Without knowing that person, you cannot have an in-depth conversation or relationship with him/her. It is the same with God. You need a personal relationship with Him to have a good conversation with Him.
HE WILL ANSWER!!!!
“‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’’Jeremiah 33:3
Let us pray:
Your Word tells me that I can hear Your voice and listen to You. I am your child Lord and I confess that You are Lord. I acknowledge that I can hear You. Lord speak Your word to me. Speak Lord, and I will listen and do what You tell me to do. Here I am Lord, I am willing to follow and obey You, even if it is not convenient for me.
I want to hear Your voice. Help me Lord, to tune my heart to You; to listen to You and obey You. Teach me. Lead me. Guide me. Open my ears so I can hear you. Open the ears of my understanding. Lord I am willing, here I am. Thank You. Amen.
©2021; Christel Owoo
Read more about this topic in my next blog, titled: “10 manifestations of God’s voice”.
Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash