Archive for June, 2007

Hearing God

June 8, 2007

Just a little excerpt from a book that I hope to publish someday:

Having Him “in us” means that we can hear that voice and know Him when He speaks. In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) He often said “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” In John’s gospel he put it this way: “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.” This happens because we have His Spirit inside, and we have His ears. When He speaks, we respond. It doesn’t even require a great deal of thought. It was a major discovery for me when I realized that I often hear His voice and respond without even thinking about it. The best way I know to describe what I discovered is with another story from my college days.

The dormitory I lived in for all four years of college had community bathrooms. You know the kind I mean: All the showers were in the same big room, all the sinks shared one long counter top, and all the toilets were lined up along the opposite wall, separated by fiber glass stalls. The walls and the floor were covered with bathroom tiles so that every sound you made reverberated for several seconds. This, of course, inspired a lot of singing.

One day I remember singing Elvis’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” I discovered that I could hit the exact frequency of the fiber glass stalls, making them vibrate with my voice. It was on the word “can’t,” and when I sang that note the stalls all shook so that it sounded like a large truck was driving by outside. I had found the stalls’ wavelength, and they shook.

Hearing God’s voice is like that. Your spirit, which is now one with His Spirit, matches the “frequency” of God’s own voice. When He speaks, everything inside you can’t help but respond to His leading. It doesn’t even require analysis – you just follow. Maybe His voice comes in the conversation of a brother or a sister in Christ. Maybe it will show up in a song on the radio, in a line in a movie, or even in your own thoughts.

Whatever the vehicle, the effect is the same: You just know that what was said was right. It’s like something inside you rises up and bonds to what you hear and you know that you must follow that word. It becomes a part of you and you own it. This is how you will find that you hear His voice. It seldom comes as a dramatic event. Many times His voice comes simply, disguised in the every day things; but you follow it, just the same.

This is what His life in you usually looks like. He seldom “appears” in a dramatic flash of light in front of your eyes. That’s not His usual way. Instead, He quietly works on you from the inside out, changing your desires to match His own over time. His best work is understated. I think that some people are expecting to occasionally fall into some kind of trance. They want God to undeniably manifest Himself within them, like they’re being possessed or something. But that’s not how it happened with Jesus.

Remember how He said, “I’ve been with you all this time and yet you haven’t come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” I’m sure Phillip was confused at that point, wondering if He just heard from the Father or the Son. It didn’t look or sound any different from His usual conversations with Him. But Jesus went on to explain it this way: “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father living in Me is doing His works.” The indwelling of His Father looked just like normal living.

That’s how it looks for us, too.