Daring to write that God speaks to us Christians today is somewhat controversial. I understand the dilemma since I realize mentally ill people do unbelievable things and say God told them to do the most bizarre actions. I also know folks who run up to me every time I encounter them breathless with "God told me......" But, for me, the Bible is my standard and my own experiences show me truth about hearing from God. My pastor preaches a solid explanation of hearing God in my life. I read classic books written by saints that have held their integrity for years sharing of hearing from God with guidance to live holy lives. Praying and believing that God and I have relationship that communication goes both ways is core to my thriving abundant life in Christ.
The disciples and followers of Jesus Christ lived in a functioning communication with Him. Jesus was alive among them, in them, speaking to them. By His Spirit He led them and directed them in living the Kingdom of God here on earth.
When I think of "knowing" you've heard from God I think of Ananias in Damascus. Imagine the most ruthless Christian slayer, Saul, comes to Ananias' spirit and he hears the LORD telling him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. There he will find Saul of Tarsus. I notice that I do not find Ananias amazed that the Lord is speaking to him. No, he was astonished at what the LORD said. It was the content of what He said that shocked Ananias, not hearing Him.
May we think about that for a moment. Here is Ananias living in New Testament times after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He is spoken to by God, the occasion is mentioned in Acts 9, but we aren’t told how Ananias heard Him. We just know he did hear and responded. He heeded what God told him to do. Through the obedience of Ananias, Saul learned what God had in store for him, and through Paul’s response, we are given a plumb line to measure what we believe the LORD is saying to us.
When I study the Bible, I pour out my heart to the Lord in prayer, and I dwell on His goodness in stillness; I sense the Lord in my thoughts. There is always peace when I sense what God is calling me to in that moment. The peace of God acts as an umpire in my heart. This is how I know what I'm hearing is from Him; there is a peace that accompanies it.
When I committed to write on "Hear, Heed, Heal" I had a little reservation. When I write or speak on a topic a couple of things usually occur:
- I have a present experience to remind me of the times I have experienced God in the way I'm communicating about Him.
- I usually have a test to try to distract me from whatever truth I'm writing or speaking on.
Yesterday as I finished writing the first post I realized I hadn't spent time being still and listening to the Lord. I shut everything down and waited on the Lord. I felt like putting my arms over my head and peeking out toward heaven and saying, "O.K. Lord, I'm sure You have something to say to me as I write on hearing You. What do I need today Father?" I am going through a good bit these days finishing up things from my husband's office in this last year since his death. I was tentative to hear a "call from God." Suddenly the word "relax" fell into my thoughts. I have heeded that word ever since.Wouldn't you know I got a call right after that from a business associate. She invited me to an exciting but busy busy activity for the day. I initially told her I'd be there, and then that word "relaxed" fell into my mind. I laughed and dialed her up and said I could not make it today; I had other critical matters to see to. I didn't bother to tell her I knew I had to relax today; she is not a believer and it was not anything I needed to explain.