God is creative when speaking to us. Important is that we allow God to speak to us in the way He wants. We are not the ones to give God instructions how to talk to us. He can use anything to communicate with us: his word, dreams and visions, his audible voice, other people or most commonly a voice inside of us. But often we limitate God in speaking to us by putting him into a tiny box or pressing him into a specific scheme. Let’s throw our own fixed ideas over board and open our hearts for how He wants to speak to us.
Before being quiet to hear what God wants to tell us, we need to bring our mistakes, our failures, our shortcomings before Him and confess the sin we didn’t ask for forgiveness yet. If we want to hear God’s voice we have to come to him with a pure heart.
In his book “Is That Really You, God?”, Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, tells his story of listening to the voice of God which is at the same time the story how YWAM got started. But Loren’s story is not only filled with experiences of success in hearing the voice of God. He also honestly, authentically, openly illustrates his failures and shortcoming in listening to God’s voice.
God’s guidance can be so fascinating, so overwhelming and sensational that we are in danger of giving the matter more honor than the Lord himself. When this happens the task God calls us to do gets all the honor instead of the one this is all about: Jesus. God wants us to fix our attention not on the instruments he entrusts us in order to fulfill his calling but rather on the purpose, the reason why we are doing what we are doing. Instead of waiting for your instruments to be perfect just start doing what God has called you to do. Pay attention that the instruments God gives you to do his will, do not become your God.
But in all of this, we have to keep in mind that God wants to use us despite our struggles. We will never be perfect in listening to God’s voice. If the requirement to be used by God would be to live perfectly & completely in His will, then how many of us would be qualified? But the good message is: If we fail God still doesn’t take his gifts and callings from us. God works with fallible people, helps us to get back on our feet and guides us to use us for something precious.
Hearing God’s voice is not complicated but it’s also not always easy. We have to learn listening to his voice- sometimes painfully- and sometimes -even more painfully- learn to obey his voice. When God’s plans unfold they also involve hard work- hard work that stuns our spirit and tightens our muscles. And exactly in this hard working phase when you still cannot see any result, any fruit or any effect of your work, your attitude and perspective are so important. If something is happening you didn’t expect or things are not going your way, thank God for it and ask him what he wants to do in or through this.
Besides his falling, failing and stumbling, Loren Cunningham took the voice of God very seriously in his life and obeyed him. Step by step he put the will of God into action. Many many times this leader got down on his knees and asked God what to do. But very important when we ask God to speak to us is to expect that he will actually answer.
In his book, Loren Cunningham teaches a very simple method in listening to God’s voice. He learned to seek the will of God in three steps:
- SUBMIT. Submitting ourselves to God and let him silence our thoughts, our desires and opinions from other people so that we can really hear HIS voice- and nothing and no one else. It’s kind of a spiritual battle strategy: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2. Corinthians 10:5-
- RESIST. We gotta resist the devil cause often when we’re trying to listen to God’s voice he’s doing anything to lead us astray, confuse us or lock up our ears and blindfold our eyes. We gotta use our authority in the name of Jesus to silence the voice of the enemy.
- EXPECT. If we ask God for his will, if we ask him the questions burning on our hearts we gotta wait and expect that he will answer and speak to us.
Fact is: God has something to say to you. Every follower of Jesus has an individual task, ministry, calling and responsibility God wants to entrust to you. HE wants to tell you His dreams and visions that he wants to realize through you. And the more you seek to hear God’s voice in every detail, the more effective you will be in your personal calling. Always check your life against your calling: Do you live in accordance to God’s calling for your life?
In the end it all comes down to one point: The actual purpose of hearing God’s voice is to get to know him more. Our personal relationship to God is the most important reason to listen to the voice of God. God is a God of communication. He loves to talk to you. And by this we get to know him better. Real guidance is about getting closer to God’s heart. All other goals should be suordinated to that one goal: getting to know him better.