“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3
Our culture has become an arena of differing personal opinions, all vying to be claimed as the ultimate truth. I’ve been saddened of late by all the thoughts that we as a society try to force on each other.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared a little of my heart, how God has convicted me of being opinionated and shown me that voicing opinions really doesn’t bring about much good. I’ve written about:
- How sharing our opinion actually causes division
- How to know when to share an opinion
- How to focus less on my opinion and more on Holy Spirit promptings
Is there anything wrong with me voicing my own thoughts? Not necessarily.
But the words of a Savior, Redeemer, and Prince of Peace are worth so much more than my own.
But how often to we really listen? How much do we try to hear the voice of God? How much do we even care? And why does it matter?
God is interested in the details of our lives. If we listen, He can guide us away from trouble and toward blessings. In Scripture, there are references to the written word of God (logos, which is the Bible) and the spoken word of God (rhema, the whispers we feel in our heart). We need both in our lives.
What are we missing by not seeking His input in our daily lives?
- He helps us make wise decisions. For many years, I didn’t understand the value of praying over my job and seeking how to respond in daily interactions. When things got difficult, I did ask for His help, but when the tension settled down, I didn’t bother to talk with Him about work. Oh, the years I wasted, missing out on blessings, because I never sought His advice about anything. There were times when I would not have gotten sick if I had recognized His promptings to manage stress well and eat better. There were tensions that could have been avoided if I had listened to His promptings to let things drop. And there were relationships that could have been sweeter if I had understood how to handle them better. (Hindsight is always 20-20!)
- He gives us extra blessings. Once I planned to go to the mall for some shopping, and that morning felt compelled not to go. Thinking it strange that God would care where and when I purchased new clothes, I finally decided to stay home that day. Two weeks later, I ended up at a different mall, where all the items I needed where available, in my size, and all on sale! I have no doubt God led me there as a blessing; a quick kiss on the cheek from Daddy to show His love.
- He calms our fears. One day, I was late getting home from work, and I knew my young child would be locked out of the house. Trying not to freak out, I prayed for God to get me there quickly so she wouldn’t be left alone and unsupervised, (possibly in danger, because that’s how a mom’s mind works!) He calmed me with an image of the guardian angel standing watch over my home, and immediately, I smiled. My fear quickly receded, because I knew my child was perfectly safe.
I have so many stories of how God has led me to scriptures to pray over specific situations, or spoke soothing comfort to my broken heart, or convicted me with firm words of reprimand. He shares His plans, His mysteries, His incredible love.
While there are a few skeptics who say that God only speaks to us through the Bible, my experience has been otherwise. I’ve felt Holy Spirit promptings in the depths of my soul, impressions of wisdom to guide me. I’ve heard that still, small voice in my heart uttering specific phrases. And I’ve seen images that explain things better than words.
I’m convinced that the reason people don’t hear God speak is that they have never been taught how. I didn’t recognize it much myself, until a few years go. Yet God speaks all the time, every day. We just don’t notice, we put limitations on Him, or we attribute it to something else, like our conscience.
I am no expert. Recognizing His voice has taken a lot of practice. While I can’t give an exact formula that guarantees success, I can share what I have learned and some of my own interactions with Him over the years. God wants to converse with all of us! My hope is that with my experience as a stepping stone, others will seek Him and learn how to hear His voice in their own lives.
Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share some tips on what we can do to facilitate a listening heart, and some things to stop doing that will hinder His voice from getting through.