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god in our lives

LISTENING TO GOD

A guide on how to recognise God's voice
and how to react to it
.

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1.    INTRODUCTION

Importantly, please read the small article, Sound Faith” before going on, if you have not already. It offers a framework for: building that level of sound faith, proving Gods existence for yourself as a result of applying that faith to your life, and receiving the potential benefits of his power there as a result!

With regard to this article though, I am not so na´ve as to not know that this may seem suspect to you (that is, God speaks), especially if you have not even had exposure to close family or friends, possessing credibility with you, who can vouch for the fact. But, it certainly happens!

I say firstly, that God makes a regular point of speaking to individuals through other gifted individuals, within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement in the Church. You might have to trust me a bit at this point. This stuff is explained in the article Gifts from the Spirit.

But for all that, I am not talking about what goes on in the movement here. Rather, I am discussing how God really can speak to anyone of us, at any time, under any circumstances ... if he wishes to do so.

Actually, only God knows how the ancient tribes of Israel came to be the first people to recognise his voice, and why he chose them to make it clear that he did speak.

2.    RECOGNISING HIS VOICE

God’s voice is not normally heard through our ears under these circumstances. He is usually heard within our minds. God’s words are one-on-one and personal. I accept through faith that he is intimately involved with every human life, and is capable of listening and talking to every one of us at any given moment. Consider the logistics of that!

Now it is not a common experience, even as a Christian, to receive messages in this way from God during life. So when it does happen, it is extremely faith building to recognise his voice; know that we are actually being addressed by him.

I suppose the obvious question for the doubter is, “How can we know it is God speaking and not just our own thoughts?” In fact, there is no doubt that many personal thoughts of Christians are attributed to messages from God. It can be very handy to think that we have God on side, to justify our own agendas. There have been some high powered examples of this over past years, eh?

So how can we know that God is the source of the message in our minds that we attribute to him? There are potentially two other sources – our own brain functions and Satan. As far as Christians are concerned, one sure fired way of knowing that it isn’t God speaking is if the words are telling us to do something which conflicts with Biblical truths. Admittedly, this requires us to be familiar with the Bible. Yet, a sense of common morality or ‘right and wrong’ will go a long way to helping us here. And we hear of some drastic examples, don’t we? Religious wars and hatred have been with us for centuries. Men and women leave their families to form relationships with new more attractive partners. These things happen, and the perpetrators often tell us they have done it at God’s direction. I say, “Get a grip!”

These sorts of messages may not come from their own thoughts, but they certainly don’t come from God either.

So I ask again, how do you know whether it is God talking to you? From my own experience, the sound of God’s voice is somehow clearer, or crisper, than the ‘sound’ of my own thoughts or ideas. Some other Christians, who I have asked, think of the experience as more a strong sense of intuiting a message from him. His voice is explained as an impression, a very real one, to still other folks. However one might explain the sensation, it is true to say that recognition of his voice grows through personal experience.

There are certainly times too when I am much more confident that it is God speaking to me than others. His voice becomes quite loud when he is really serious about something, in effect like a crystal clear shout in my head. I have found that it is not a good idea to ignore the ‘loud ones’. They are, to my experience, normally directions from the Lord to do something important for other people, or not doing something that will adversely affect them. On the occasions that I ignored his louder messages I came to regret letting down both God and those people involved.

3.    ACTING ON HIS DIRECTIONS

As a practising Christian, it is through our acting on his directions, or not acting upon them, that the proof of the messages source actually occurs. Well firstly sense that the directive seems an important thing to act upon. And we will subsequently see the obvious results of our actions. They are standouts!

Continue to the next article, Trusting God day to day.