Tonight, while listening to a sermon online, I was reminded of how important it is that God still speaks. I had not forgotten that God still speaks, but that apart from God’s “voice” I would have lost my way a long time ago!
There are a variety of theological views on this of course. There are those who say, “God only speaks as we read the Bible” and those who say, “God speaks even when it contradicts the Bible.” What I am saying is God still speaks to us intimately and personally because God is both personal and He is intimate. And what God “speaks” will always match the Bible.
First, I want to say, I am so thankful for Pentecost. Because it was at Pentecost that the personal Holy Spirit was poured upon the whole Church. Before the New Testament, the Spirit would “come upon” an individual like a Prophet or Priest and give a message. But ever since Pentecost the Holy Spirit has come into every child of God. And an individual is only a child of God, because they are “born of the Spirit of God.” It is the Holy Spirit who interprets the scriptures to us, as the apostle Paul notes. Because the scriptures are “spiritually discerned.” And it is the Spirit who convicts us of sin, righteousness, and of the judgement to come. And it is the Holy Spirit who confirms to our spirit that we are “children of God.” All these are from the Bible. I want to use this one verse as a building block to demonstrate the very personal and intimate relationship between Jesus and His followers. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, emphasis mine).
You see, God’s Spirit is “present.” When Jesus ascended to His Father’s side, He sent the Spirit to be our constant companion. To continually guide, comfort, inform, empower, and instruct us. He is our teacher. He interprets the Bible to us and leads us with discernment. He is the one who “comes along side” us as a helper, and available always. The thing is, the Holy Spirit is joined with our spirit, and for us to “listen well” we must take time to stop. This is difficult in our busy world. But it is necessary! Next, we must be eager and willing to listen. Let me use the example of a marriage. If a couple wants to grow their relationship, they must desire it enough to be willing to put in the time and effort, in order to see the fruit of intimacy. And they must be willing to “hear” the other person. God wants to talk to you. And He will speak as much as you are willing to listen, or “hear” Him. Hearing God means you must have a humble heart to receive WHATEVER it is He wants to tell you. God knows our hearts and our motives. So, be honest with God. If you are eager to listen, you must be willing to follow. So, seek Him. For, “you will seek me and find me, when you seek with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13, emphasis mine).
Therefore, Prayer is simply a relationship. It is a mutual conversation. There is both, talking and listening going on from both parties. Here are some verses to meditate on regarding the blessing of being a child of God. A child who desires to KNOW their Father’s will and follow.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:3, emphasis mine). Listen, you already have every spiritual blessing because you are in Christ. So, access it.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”(John 15:7-8, emphasis mine). What is the condition here? To abide as a branch to a vine. Be filled with His Word. Heed His instruction.
“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24, emphasis mine). The condition is Jesus “name.” This means it must be regarding His glory and praise. It must be according to God’s good will.
“Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:21-22, emphasis mine). Therefore, have faith in God! Discover the blessing of your identity as His child, and of your authority as His child. Your faith is of immense value. But use this as your standard for “moving mountains”: IF you abide in Jesus and His Words abide in you, you have what you have asked for.
Lastly: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Pet. 1:3-4, emphasis mine). You have escaped the corruption of the sinful nature because you are a new creation, born from above, and are set-apart to walk with God by the power of the Holy Spirit who has granted you (already!) all things for daily life in this world.
So, be encouraged today! Stop, seek, and listen. Your Father is speaking!
Below is an enlightening and encouraging message from Rabbi Schneider regarding listening to God. Chech it out.