Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How do you "hear" from God? Follow the nudge.

So, you have invited Jesus in to your heart. And you really want to do God’s will. And you have heard people say that God told them this or that. But you are pretty sure that God had not “told” you anything. What’s up with that?

We know that God is always leading us. He sent his Holy Spirit to join with our spirit. That is how we became “born again” when Jesus was invited into our hearts. We were blind to the things of God before that. Dead. Spiritually dead. But now we have a new spirit alive within us that is always leading, teaching, and guiding us. “Talking” to us.

Can you hear it? Is it your conscience? Yes. But now that you are born again it is also the The Holy Spirit.

Now you have a choice. You can ignore this quiet little nudge, or you can obey it. If you ignore it, it can seem to get quieter and quieter as you follow your own reasoning, thoughts, and desires. It will get harder and harder to hear the Holy Spirit. Then we begin to feel that God has deserted us and does not care about us. But really it was us that ignored Him.

If we obey the quiet little nudge of the Holy Spirit it can seem to get louder and clearer to us. The quicker we obey, the closer we follow the Lord and the clearer His voice becomes to us. Like tuning in a radio. Jesus perfectly obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit while he was on the earth. It takes practice for us. The more you do it the more it becomes a natural way of life. This is one sure way to “hear” the Lord.

But what if that quiet little voice is not from God? How can you know? Do you know the character of God? That is why He made sure we have the bible, written by men who were inspired by the same Holy Spirit that is in you. So we can know what God is like. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you when you begin to study His word. The Holy Spirit will make God’s word clear for you a little at a time, like putting together a giant puzzle, piece by piece. It takes time and effort on our part, so don’t ever give up. Getting born again is quick, but growing up in God takes a lifetime.

We can love God and have the best intentions. But then all the cool things in this exciting world leave us no time to tune in on the things of God. We are busy with our jobs or school, and responsibilities, then our favorite games or TV or facebook. We can even be busy with our ministries or talents. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. But the bible tells us to “put God first”. That is our part. Find time, no, make time. Remember, God is quiet but the world is loud. We are to be following God, not having Him running after us.

The Holy Spirit might lead you to do different things at different times. God commonly gives new direction or thoughts to us when we are worshipping in song, or are quietly thinking about the scripture we just read, or are thinking through our problems after inviting Him into the situation, or are discussing Godly things with someone that we trust. But if you are following God and tuning in the best you can, but “hear” nothing new, then just trust, and stay thankful, and rest. This is how we learn to be patient and stay faithful.

There are also extreme ways to hear from God, but they are kind of rare. Someone could have a prophesy about you, or you could have a vision, or a God inspired dream. Sometimes you can have a very strong thought in your head that is not yours, but God’s. A few times in the bible God spoke out loud so that many people heard it at once. When we are in a crisis or scared we wish for this kind of voice. But usually God is the still small voice within us. More like a “knowing”. He reveals more and more to us as we follow, like headlights on a car, you can’t see what’s down the road until you move forward a little more.

The more you follow the ways of Jesus, the more you will know Him and the clearer his “voice” will become to you.

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