Beginning to Hear God
One of the most important gifts that come from the grace of God is the ability to hear God speak to us and for us to speak to God.Many times, the Holy Spirit teaches us to fish. He doesn’t always give us fish. This is very important in understanding how to hear God. Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us into a desert to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 records how he did this to Jesus. It reads, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”
Really? Holy Spirit? You would Lead us into a DESERT (where there is lack and no water, food, companionship, etc)? As if that were not bad enough then the Bible adds to be TEMPTED not by human beings (whose temptation would be bad enough), but by the DEVIL!
Many times, we will hear the voice of God accurately but only to end up in a DESERT where we are TEMPTED by the DEVIL. Then we begin to doubt and ask ourselves “Did we really hear God’s voice?”. What we have learned is that faith triumphs over what we see. Faith triumphs over visible results. Faith triumphs even over what we think are mistakes. Our faith is what pleases God and not the results. Romans 8:28 says, God causes all things work together for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose. We have come to realize that if you are a true believer, you already love God. That’s a gift that comes with salvation. God’s law has been written on the tables of our hear and the Holy Spirit has been put in our hearts for that very purpose, to give our hearts the inclination to obey God and to hear God’s voice. We don’t need to try to love God.
For if our effort could love God, then we would have obeyed the law and not needed Christ because the entire law is summed up with one word, that is Love. So Christ died in our place and his love for God has been credited to our account. More to that, God has put his Holy Spirit in our hearts to drive our hearts in such a way that it is impossible for us not to love God. We love God. Many of us have work to do; we need to labor to enter into the rest that that assurance of love gives us, we need to work out the love that has already been worked into us so we ourselves can experience what we already have in us.
However, regardless of the degree to which each of us succeeds to work out what has been worked into us by God, the truth remains that what has been worked into us is real and irrevocable. By the same token, all of us who are born of the spirit (children of God) are righteous even if we don’t succeed to work out that righteousness so that we can take full advantage of it here on earth. For which man can perfectly work out the magnitude of the righteousness that has been put into us so that he may experience it physically in his daily conduct? None!
Yet because of the obedience of the one man, Jesus Christ, righteousness has been accorded to us. And that righteousness satisfies all of God’s requirements. By this, I’m not insinuating that we can do as we please because we are under grace. That would not be the gospel of grace, but a gospel of excuses.
The point of the preceding exposition of the completeness of the work of Grace in us is to remind us as Christians to refrain from rushing to doubt that we heard God well if things don’t go exactly as we thought they should. Many of us think we didn’t hear God well because we don’t have a right standing with him. And that is untrue. We already have a right standing with God and always will through Christ Jesus.
God can lead us to the desert when we have done nothing wrong at all. Like Christ, God can lead us to the cross to be crucified. But after that, he will raise us from the dead like he raised Christ Jesus. God can do to us what he did to Job. In the book of Job we see that an innocent man was allowed to be tempted and literally tortured by the devil. But in the end, God blessed him with twice what he had before. If you can remember this point, you will have begun your quest to hear God well because many often than not, when God speaks to you and you begin to obey, that’s when Satan will throw his atomic bombs at you and make all hell break lose on you. And that is not the time to doubt! It’s the time to know that “you walk by faith and not by sight”. If faith led you to take a path, it’s impossible to make a mistake that is of consequence to you because God will turn that around! God will never allow his Child’s faith to go in vain. Never! God is looking for faith, not right works!
Now, back to the point of God leading us into the desert. Here are some things that the scriptures say about suffering.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT
In Acts 5:41, we see that after Peter and the other apostles were beaten by the Sanhedrin for teaching in the name of Jesus Christ, they went out “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” NKJV
The apostle Peter writes “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14 NIV
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-5 NIV
When I really stopped and thought about what James wrote, “consider it pure joy,” I burst into laughter. That was not because I didn’t believe the scriptures, but because of how contrary that is to human nature. When you consider the lives of the people who wrote the things I’ve cited above you will tell that they lived what they preached. Paul suffered tremendously for the Gospel ( 2 Cor. 11) and was finally put to death as a prisoner of the gospel in Rome. Peter was crucified upside down and James was also killed for the gospel. These men accepted to suffer for Christ and die for it when they were given the opportunity to recant the name of Jesus and go free.
Did they hear God to follow the paths they took? Of course they did! When we hear God, it’s not going to be all roses. He will tell us to do some challenging things. But those things are for our good. God never wants us to do anything for his good. He is all sufficient.
Does that mean that when God talks to you he will tell you to do something that will cause pain to you each time? No! Many of the things he will tell you will spare you from suffering. But sometimes he will let you go through it so He can go with you and make you better when you come out than when you went in. In every case, when God speaks to you, there will be joy in the end.
Now that you know what it takes to hear God. Do you still want to hear God speak to you?
If you still want to hear God, please read the rest of the series.