Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice,” which means there’s a voice to be heard (see John 10:1-18). Scripture tells us that He speaks to us through Holy Spirit (see John 16:12-13; Acts 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; et.al.). Nonetheless, a number of believers struggle to hear His voice, or at least, with confidence. What are some keys to hearing His voice?
One is obvious: as Jesus said, “My sheep hear, and that means you need to be His. “I prayed the prayer!” That’s wonderful, but are you truly His disciple? You know, completely committed to Him, lock, stock and barrel? John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” When you’re His, you’re also committed to His Word. Do you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Some simply bought fire insurance as it were, but their hearts are not completely converted. Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. In short, does your life evolve around God, or is He merely in the mix, and you try to summon Him when you need something?
A second key is to believe Jesus and take Him at His word. We either believe what He says or we don’t. Being double minded doesn’t cut it. Some might say, “I know He can speak to us, but will He speak to me?” True, it can be easier to believe He’ll speak to others than it is to believe He’ll speak to us personally. One stronghold that has crept into the Church is that God only speaks to “special people.” The idea is everyone else or just a few are special. Where do you find that in the Bible? One passage of Scripture immediately comes to mind: “For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11). We were all created to have a unique relationship with Him. Wait a minute: maybe you’re missing something. You don’t realize you are a child of God, and He is a wonderful Father who speaks to His children. Romans 8:15-17 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Think about this: if you want to hear His voice, it is because He wants you hear to Him even more; otherwise, Jesus would have never come in the first place. He absolutely loves you, and wants relationship with you. It’s in the Bible! Trust Him!
A third key is being willing to hear what He has to say. This may require some renewing of your mind. More on that in a moment. Try coming to Him with no agenda. At times, there are things that weigh on our hearts, but part of trusting is letting them go long enough for Him to share what’s on His heart. Moreover, what He shares with you may actually bring resolution to what’s been weighing you down. He’s very good at multitasking. We simply have to get out of the control room, so we can quit limiting the options which the Lord may want to present. To be sure, it’s quite appropriate to ask for answers and petition Him in prayer. Elsewise, the Word wouldn’t tell us to ask for wisdom, or to pray and make supplications. Think relational in the listening. Again, He doesn’t want a business connection; Father wants relationship! Since He loves you, you have no need to fear what He has to say, or even ask of you.
Back to the renewing of the mind thing. For some, what is at issue is the way they see themselves. Because they don’t believe they’re worthy of love and the good things God has for them, they have a hard time believing any good thing He might say to them. They don’t even handle, “I love you” very well. Thus, they have a tendency to shut down or ignore anything positive. Jesus is worthy for you to be loved, He paid the price for you to receive His love. 1 John 4:16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. There’s much more that could be said about His love, but for now, just accept it. There are some on the other side of the spectrum. They don’t want to hear words of correction. That’s pride! Humility is a major key to hearing. By the way, rejecting His love and anything good He may want to say is arrogant. That implies God is a liar and your hypothesis about yourself is greater than His actual thoughts toward you. Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. Any opinion that differs from His is wrong. Just try saying, “Yes and Amen, Lord! So be it according to Your Word!” Be willing to hear!
Here’s a simple way to train your ears. Sit quietly alone with God and listen. Write down what you sense He’s saying to you. Put a date on it, and maybe even the time you heard it. Come back and visit it periodically, and see what you find in relation to what you wrote down (Did something come to pass? Do you have more clarity now than before? Etc.). One final thought: you may find your prayers become more effective if you listen first.