In today’s post, I want to discuss the thorny issue of hearing the voice of Jesus.
First, I grew up in a movement where it was common for people to say, “The Lord told me this,” and “God showed me that.” They said it so confidently, with such assurance, projecting the image that God talked to them as unmistakably as when a solicitor calls you on the phone.
Interestingly, whenever I’ve said to such people, “We really need a practical book that shows people how to practically recognize the Lord’s voice,” they became animated saying something like, “Oh, I really want to read a book like that!”
The only conclusion I can draw from this reaction is that these same people aren’t absolutely sure they are hearing from God (despite their confident claim that God speaks to them every time they blink).
Second, ever since I began following the Lord at age 16, I’ve found the whole issue of hearing the Lord clouded in mystery. Mostly because when I’ve heard people announce that God told them such and such (with absolute confidence), they made it sound like His voice is so different from their own thoughts that there’s no way they could mistake His for theirs.
Third, while there’s still a very small percentage of Christians roaming Planet Earth who’ve swallowed the unbiblical idea that God no longer speaks to His people today, the overwhelming majority of Jesus-followers are convinced that the Lord still speaks to His people today. And the New Testament stands with them.
Fourth, all told, there’s a tremendous hunger among God’s people to hear directly from their Lord. This is why the book Jesus Calling has sold over 10 million copies. Whatever you may think about that book, its success in sales sends one unmistakable message: God’s people are hungry to hear their Lord speak to them.
So let me press a few questions:
* What if the whole process of hearing the voice of Jesus could be demystified in a way that any believer could learn to recognize His voice? Not just pastors and Charismatics?
* What if you could have your own “Jesus calling” experience if someone simply showed you how? This, opposed to having to read someone’s book where Jesus allegedly spoke to them?
* What would happen if God’s people – even a small percentage of them – starting hearing the Lord’s voice regularly and began responding to what He was telling them? What sort of effect would this have on their own personal lives, on the body of Christ, and on the world?
Consider those questions for a moment.
Let me end this update with seven points that I’ve come to conclude over many years of experimenting, exploring, studying, and learning about the way the Lord speaks to us today:
Jesus is alive and well. No has put duct tape around His mouth; He’s not mute. He still speaks to His people today. And not just when they read their Bibles.
What Jesus says to His people will never contradict what He’s said previously (in the Scriptures).
When Jesus spoke to people in the New Testament after His ascension, it was usually internal, not audible.
The Lord’s voice comes to us mostly through our own thoughts, feelings, desires, and impressions.
Scriptures gives us some very definite clues as to how to recognize the Lord’s voice from our own.
You can sharpen your spiritual senses to hear His voice. You simply need some practical help on how to do so.
Up until the 1800s, the vast majority of people were illiterate. Even today, 15% of the world still cannot read. While the ability to read is wonderful, it’s not a requirement to hear the Lord speak.
In Part 2, I’ll share a few practical handles I’ve discovered that will help you to recognize the Lord’s voice in your own life.
As promised, I'm going to share a few practical handles I've discovered that will help you to recognize the Lord's voice in your own life. There are many more that I cover elsewhere, but here are five:
* The Lord's voice most always comes through your own thoughts, desires, and impressions. This is because Christ dwells in you by the Holy Spirit and He is completely united to your own spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Therefore, give attention to your thoughts, desires, feelings, and impressions. Under the New Covenant, every bush is burning. So pay attention.
* If it's the Lord speaking, the thought/desire/impression will stay with you. If it's not the Lord, it will leave rather quickly.
* If it's the Lord speaking, it will be marked by love - the very nature of Jesus. Specifically, the thought/desire/impression will benefit others at the expense of yourself. The Lord will also empower you to carry out what He says, which will often involve the denial of your flesh.
* If you fail to respond to the Lord's leading, it will be difficult to recognize His voice in the future. So if you are having trouble "hearing," go back and respond to the last thing He revealed to you. "If any one shall do my will, He will know . . ."
* On the other hand, we often don't "hear" because we already know the answer. The Lord's will is also discerned through wisdom. Jesus is Wisdom incarnate, so wisdom is one of the ways in which He speaks to us.
Again, there are many more practicals, and one of them is that the Lord speaks to us mostly through spiritual instincts.
As a gift, you can read my new chapters --
Spiritual Instincts ...
What the Forty Days Teach Us ...
The Voice of the Lord in Scripture ...
The Cost of Following the Lord's Voice
The chapters are all included in the Sampler for my new book with Leonard Sweet entitled, JESUS SPEAKS: Learning to Recognize & Respond to the Lord's Voice.
This new hardcover book (which also comes in Kindle and Nook) covers the waterfront on the subject of hearing the voice of Jesus. Everything from visions, dreams, spiritual instincts, the four characteristics that mark the voice of Jesus, how to prepare your heart to hear the Lord, the audible voice of God, hearing Jesus through the body of Christ, how to have your own "Jesus Calling" experience, the hindrances to hearing the Lord's voice, and the dangers associated with hearing His voice are all treated.
As far as I know, Jesus Speaks is the most practical book on how to recognize the voice of Jesus and respond to Him. It demystifies the whole process.
The Sampler also contains the Table of Contents so you can see exactly what the book covers.
JESUS SPEAKS officially releases in a few weeks, but you can pre-order it now on discount and be the first to receive it by going to http://JesusSpeaks.me
The Sampler is also on that page.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on the book.
My prayer is that it will help many. Especially those of you who have felt, "Why does the Lord seem to be speak so clearly to others but not to me?"