Let’s say we meet someone for the first time and we say hello. Then we don’t see that person for a while and one day they walk into the room and say hello, but we don’t see them. If we’ve only met them once, we most likely wouldn’t recognize their voice and wouldn’t know who it was. But if we worked with that person for a week and they did the same thing—came into the room and said hello when we had our back turned, we’d know exactly who it was. It’s the same with the voice from the Lord.
We get to know the “voice” of the Lord by getting familiar with it and that comes by practice and testing.
Hebrews 5:14 tells us, “But solid food is for the [spiritually] mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between what is morally good and what is evil.” This is talking about growing up spiritually, which all of us want. Solid food is for adults, not small children. All of us have our regular 5 senses and then there are our spiritual five senses and it’s in the spiritual senses that we need training. So how do we do that?
Start practicing. 1 John 4:1 says “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God.” Okay, so not everything we feel or hear is going to be from the Lord, but instead of getting fearful, let’s remember that He loves us and since we are doing our best to follow Him, He is going to help us. We are going to get a lot more right things than wrong ones. It’s the adversary, the devil, demons, Satan, whatever you want to call it who wants to make us afraid of going forward with testing the voices.
When we’re first starting out with this and even when we’ve practiced our faith for a long time, one of the most important things to remember is that the Lord is not going to tell us to do anything that is not in agreement with what He says in the Bible.
With small things like asking whether we should wear red socks or blue it’s probably not going to make a whole lot of difference to the Lord, but if you feel like the Lord is telling you to go have sex with your married co-worker who told you she no longer loves her husband, well . . . That doesn’t jive with the Bible teachings so there you go, not the voice of the Lord. That voice was from a different mouth.
In the Old Testament we see God Himself training Elijah how to hear His voice: “And he [God] said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
“And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave” (1Kgs 19:11-13). And the story goes on about how God talked with him and showed him what to do next. It’s awesome.
We will start to recognize His voice when we hang out with Him more in conversation. The simplest is to start with yes and no questions. Then listen for the quietest answer. Go with the first answer before the rationalization comes in. If we make a mistake, we’ll find out soon enough.
I’ve heard it said, “The holy spirit is a gentleman.” In other words, He doesn’t yell and get outrageous with us. Some people feel just a silent urging, or a “feeling” they have to do something a certain way. Some people call it a niggling feeling, or a gentle nudge or even like a “knowing” feeling. He waits till we turn to Him and listen.
A good way to start practicing how to hear from the Lord is to ask small questions. “What should I wear today?” Then pick what first comes to mind. Don’t’ second guess yourself. Just do the very first thought. If you have several errands to do and you have choices as to the order, ask the Lord, “What should I do first?” Then be quiet for a second, listen, then do the very first thing you feel you’re being led to do.
The Lord isn’t going to let us make some massive mistake. HE WANTS US TO HEAR HIS VOICE!
Practice. Practice. Practice. Test. Test. Test. Every day. It’s not grueling, it’s fun. AND it changes our lives. We start off with the little things but quickly learn that the little urgings of the Lord can make even the BIGGEST differences in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Check out the great stories in WINGS Volume 1. I’m editing the 52 chapters for Volume 2 and it should be out by April this year. You can put this in your prayers if you would. Thanks. http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM