Is That Really You God?
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.Colossians 2:8
In our last blog, I explored Listening Prayer and mentioned that when I got through the Loren Cunningham book, I would share the insights with regards to listening to God and making sure it’s really His voice we are hearing; discerning ‘God ideas’, not just good ones. Last week was our Prayer and Fasting Week, which I thought was a great excuse to get rid of any distractions from hearing God’s and really focusing on what He’d like me to do next.
So I thought I would share what I have learnt from Sam’s book, as promised, in terms of how you really know it’s God’s guidance you have seen, heard or felt – incidentally, he has lent me others in the same vein so I may well revisit Listening Prayer in future blogs as I delve deeper.
Firstly, before I go into how to discern His voice, I want to flesh out the principles of Listening Prayer that I have learnt from getting to the end of the book that might help you in your journey and/or practice of hearing His voice:
- Confess Any Unforgiven Sin – we must come to Him pure of heart to hear His voice. From the remarkable things that happened for Loren Cunningham and YWAM, when hard times hit, God didn’t reveal their next step or give further guidance until they had laid all sin at His feet and asked for forgiveness, no matter how big or small
- Use The Axehead Principle (2 Kings 6:1-7) – if things dry up, you feel a bit stuck or lost, go back to the last thing you heard God tell you to do. The likelihood is that until you have done His last instruction, you won’t hear what to do next. His journey for you cannot be rushed and has no shortcut
- Don’t Talk About Your Guidance Until God Gives Permission To – sometimes it may be fine to share immediately, but at other times there needs to be a delay because of:
- pride – that He has spoken to you
- presumption – if you haven’t fully understood what He’s told you
- His timing & method – His time is best and should not be rushed
- confusing others – those around you may not be ready or in a place to hear the message for themselves
- Use The Wise Men Principle – just as the Three Wise Men individually followed the star to the same destination, sometimes He will use key people around you to confirm His message for you (2 Corinthians 13:1)
- Practice Makes Perfect – the more you seek to hear His voice, the more effective you’ll be in your calling and the easier hearing His voice will be
- Guidance Is First Of All A Relationship With The Guide – therefore whatever He is telling us will bring us closer to Him. Any other goals while practising listening to Him should be secondary to strengthening our relationship with Him. Similarly, anything we’ve heard/felt/seen that takes us away from Him, would not be His voice, but other influences
How To Discern God’s Voice
So how do we know that it’s really God we have heard and not just our own wants or needs, or worse a distraction from the enemy? Well, there is no simple answer but, getting to know Him better and the key people he has put in your life to help you on your way, it seems, definitely helps.
The more you know God, the more clearly you can hear Him. If His guidance is to strengthen our relationship through Him, the repetition of reading His word regularly can only help us get that much closer to Him, to know His voice.
But also He can speak to us through Scripture. How often have you read a devotional for that day or been listening to a talk at your Sunday service or Celebration and it speaks straight to your soul, because of how fitting it is for a situation you have been battling with or a decision you aren’t sure about? That’s all Him helping to guide you that little bit further. Speaking to you through His Word and/or your priest.
This may come in a couple of different forms:
- You may practice Listening Prayer in a group and receive similar messages from Him and in this case, it is pretty easy to know that it is He that has spoken to the group
- You may use those around you as a sounding board to see if you’re along the right lines, God may use others to help steer you
If you have heard/seen/felt something while practising Listening Prayer and you’re not sure, pray about it, bide your time and try and decipher the message. Pray for clarity or for another message or sign from Him that helps make you sure it is really Him speaking to you and leading the way.
Be Humble Before Him
Realise you are not perfect and just because He is guiding you, it doesn’t make you any more special than your fellow brothers and sisters. Do not seek glory and status because of a message you have heard from Him, what He has decided to show you should make you want to praise and love Him more, not raise yourself or a tool He has given you to do His work, up higher.
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.1 Timothy 6:3-5