One of our frustrating first world problems is poor cell phone reception. We all remember the "can you hear me now?" commercials from years ago. It pains me to no end to hear believers say, "I don't think God talks to me" or "I have never heard God speak." On one hand I'm shocked and on the other I'm not at all. I went for years in my life not feeling like I could hear God's voice and felt I was doing something wrong. I think on many occasions I was doing something wrong. I was living in sin or was too busy to slow down and actually hear God. On other occasions, it wasn't that I was doing something wrong, I was just uninformed about how God speaks. Here are a few ideas and thoughts about hearing His voice. I pray they help some of you that are struggling to hear God.
Three Major Blockades to Hearing God's Voice
1. Sin: Sin is like a log in our ears or a plank in our eyes. If you have confessed and repented of your sins and placed your faith in the grace of God through Christ's death and resurrection then God sees you as white as snow. If the bondage of sin persists in your life then it becomes a giant blockade to hearing God's voice. Instead, we become focused on our own guilt and shame (Remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Romans 8.1) or even hiding our sin. Our eyes are not fixed on Jesus. Our ears are not tuned to His voice. They are tuned to our own passions and desires. Allow God to break the bondage of sin in our lives and transform us wholly from the inside out. The bondage of sin is not broken from human effort alone. If we take care of the natural, God will do the supernatural.
2. Busyness: I'm captain multitask. I love to do a million things at once. I've learned that God deserves my total attention though and I rarely slow down to listen. With our two boys, I usually ask them five times before I start speaking, "Are you listening? Are you listening? Are you listening? Are you listening? Are you listening?" I wonder how God has been trying to get our attention in our lives. The scriptures tell us He is a jealous God. He is jealous for our attention. He alone is worthy of our affection. He deserves the best of our time and attention, not the leftovers. Make some room to slow down and listen.
3. False Perception: If I responded to the question of "Why does God not speak to me?" with another question it would be..."How does God speak?" Many of us think only in terms of audible expressions of God's voice. I have found this expression in my journey, and most other believers, to be a less frequent occasion than the many other ways God speaks. In the scriptures God spoke through a cloud, a bush, a donkey, many other miracles as well as simple people like you and me just passing on the messages God asked us to share. Don't narrow down the ways you think God will speak. Just open your heart and mind to Him speaking and test it against His Word. God is not a liar and will not contradict Himself. Test every message you receive from the Lord in the Scriptures. It must line up.
There is no magic formula for hearing God's voice but these are a few simple places to start leaning in a little closer to hear Him.