The ability to hear from God is an essential element in the life of a believer. In John 10:3-4 Jesus says that the sheep know the Shepherd’s voice and they listen and He calls them by name. He is that Shepherd.
So, how does God talk to us?
- Through His creation: Romans 1: 19-20, Psalm 19:1 & 97:6
- Through the conscience as conviction of the Holy Spirit: Romans 2:15, Hebrews 9:14
- Peace of the Holy Spirit in the inner man or a calmness that accompanies a right decision, also tranquility, rest and inner contentment.
- The written word of God (LOGOS), the Bible: 2 Peter 1:20-21, Romans 8:16, and 10:16)
- The Rhema word. The quickened verse, illumination, or “AHA” usually from the Logos but can be from other inspiration: 1 John 2:27, Luke 24:32
- Through circumstances, an opening and closing of doors or events that confirm or give comfort to decisions: Romans 8:14 and 28
- The still, quiet voice with us: Acts 10:19, Isaiah 30:21 and 1 kings 19:12
- Visions, either seen with the physical eyes or in a trance: Acts 10:1-3, 9:10-12 and Rev. 9:17
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the body of Christ. Tongues and interpretations, prophesy, discerning of spirits, gifts of healings and miracles, words of wisdom and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Acts 21:4
- Desires of the Changed, Godly Heart: Psalm 37:4
- Counsel of those in authority over you and other ‘spiritual’ people: 1 John 4:6, Hebrerws 13:17, Galatians 6:1, & 1 Peter 5:5
- Through God-given Dreams.
- The Audible voice of God: Acts, 26:13-15
- By Angels: Matthew 28:2
- Impressions, intuitive spontaneous thoughts, “knowing that you know”: Acts 27: 9-10, 1 Corinthians 2:13, and Romans 8:16
Since He speaks to us in all these ways, why don’t we hear Him more? What blocks His voice?
- Fear of what He might say or require of us,
- A controlling mind, rationalism, intellectualism which over-rides to voice of God,
- Fear or worry resulting in lack of stillness that can block God’s voice,
- Unbelief, Lack of faith or unbelief that God cares for them,
- Lack of commitment to the Faith, doubt His existence or reality of the spiritual dimension,
- Under a spirit of witchcraft or other involvement with the occult,
- Wrong teaching or false ideas about Father God – angry, vengeful or punishing as was our earthly father,
- There are three possible sources of our thoughts.
- The encouraging thoughts of God,
- The self-thoughts
- The demeaning, deceiving thoughts of the enemy,
Using Scripture we can identify these sources in the life of Peter.
Source #1: God
In Matthew 16:16-17 Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say I am?” They give Him varying replies such as Elijah or John the Baptist returned. He asks them directly, “Who do you say I am?”
Peter decides to speak for the group and says, “You are the son of the living God.” Jesus says that this is not revealed to Peter by man but by His Father in Heaven. In other words Jesus was saying that Peter’s declaration came directly from God, but through Peter. Peter was hearing the voice of God in his thoughts which he then spoke out.
Source #2: Our own Minds
In Mark 9:5-6 is the account of the transfiguration.
Peter’s response to this unusual experience comes straight out of his mind. He suggests that three shelters should be built for Jesus, Elijah and Moses. We know it’s our own thoughts or mind when we recognize that they tend to be more analytical, logical and rely on reason.
Source #3: Satan – (The Enemy)
Go back to Matthew 16 to verses 22-23 – straight after Peter’s revelation of the true identity of Jesus.
In these verses Peter rebukes Jesus’ account of what is going to happen to Him. Jesus’ response to Peter’s rebuke is “Get behind me Satan.” Clearly Peter is not a demoniac, but on this occasion Satan influenced his thinking resulting in his response to Jesus’ words.
The important thing to remember is that the Word of God is the foundation for anything we heard from God. Remember the Mind is a tool and not meant to be in control. We are meant to learn how “…to take every though captive and bring it into obedience to Christ….”, I Corinthians 10:5.
- Just a word on Hearing God through Pictures.
Some people are very uncomfortable with seeing pictures and feel it is just their imaginations.
Habakkuk 2:1-2 tells us that the prophet said he would “….stand at his watch and station himself on the ramparts and LOOK TO SEE what He (God) will say to him“. Seeing pictures may be a little intimidating at first but it can be powerful and life changing.
Bill Johnson comments on the use of our imaginations by God to communicate with His people, he says “Since I can’t imagine a place where He isn’t, I might as well imagine Him with me. This is not vain imagining rather it is vain to imagine otherwise”.
2. A Practical exercise in seeing Pictures:
Using a Bible story to get you into a place where Jesus is, or inviting Him to join you in a place that you are comfortable and can relax. Look for a spontaneous flow of thoughts and journal those words. Draw any pictures you might see as well.
Remember also that this may time time to learn these skills, especially if you were never taught or your church group didn’t explain this truth. Practice this skill as you work through the Boardroom in the months to come.
A special thanks to Pastor Sharon White for her encouragement an input into the study of the Boardroom. May you continue to grow in your own Boardroom experience in the years to come!