Truly there is no greater joy, nor difficult task, than to bring ourselves before our God that we may drink from the fountain of His words. His voice is life but the enemy of our soul is bent on blocking and preventing us from hearing what Jesus has to say. Neither do leaders and teachers help us understand how to listen to God. Thankfully, Mark Virkler, has given us some great direction in this area. In this podcast, Wanda brings out his 4 practical steps to hearing God’s voice.
4 Practical Steps to Hearing God's Voice
Listening to God is so critical to your walk of uncompromising faith that you cannot pursue Jesus without His voice. Every step taken in faith is unique to you, so you must learn to hear God for yourself and obey the truth God gives you. How can you follow Him if you have not learned to listen? The first step we must take is to realize that we need a practical guide for this process.
Many years ago, a man by the name of Mark Virkler faced such a problem. He wanted to know God better but did not know how to go about it. Though deeply involved in religion, he had not learned the very basic step of how to converse with the very God he was in a relationship with. His ailment is far too common and has kept many believers from growing up in Christ. Undeterred, Mark pressed on and learned the 4 basic steps required to hear God. They are stillness, vision, flowing thoughts and journaling.
The world is noisy and so is your ‘self’ nature. Did you know this is not by accident? The distraction of noisy thoughts inside of your head is designed specifically to keep you from listening to God and being healed. Your ‘self’ nature knows that if you stopped and heard God it would mean its destruction. For this reason ‘self’ continually opposes stillness.
Yet when you stop yourself and sit, stand or walk in quietness, you open yourself to hearing God speak. The very act of stillness is foreign to ‘self’ but it is the place where God dwells. When you deliberately still your thoughts before God you are consciously and actively shutting down ‘self’ and pursuing spirit.
Stilling your mind is the hardest step you will take in this process and your ‘self’ nature will fight you at every step. Fight back. Force your ‘self’ to submit and be quiet. Be aggressive. Remember your ‘self’ is a bully and has gotten away with far too much bad for far too long. Shut it down. Give your spirit a chance to breathe by being still before God.
Once you have actively quieted your noisy brain and heart you are now ready to hear God. ‘Self’, however, will not be silenced easily so will continually throw up random thoughts into your brain. The inner voice or voices will often be too great, too noisy, for you to listen clearly. Thankfully, you can bypass all this noise by ignoring those voices and look for Jesus.
God has given you a substantial gift in your imagination. It is the inner eye, the internal vision, that allows you to see past the physical and into the spiritual realm. Under the control of the spirit, this inner sight will allow you to connect with God. With your heart and mind now stilled, look to God.
Turn your inner eye toward Jesus. Do not listen, look for Him. Look to see where He is in relation to you. What is He doing? What is He showing you? In this place Jesus will come to you and reveal Himself to you. Put all of your focus and energy at that moment on Jesus.
As Jesus comes and sits beside you or walks alongside, His presence and spirit will surround and cover you like a blanket. His peace and gentle spirit will calm even your most anxious thoughts if you let Him. Rest in this place and allow yourself to soak in who He is.
Then, like the smell of freshly baked pie on a summer’s day, thoughts and words will suddenly, and gently, flow across your mind. These are the thoughts of God for you. They are not for anyone else, just you. Jesus is giving you exactly what you need at that moment. Listen carefully as the thoughts bubble up like a spring in the middle of a desert.
The life Jesus brings to you through His speech will heal your heart, mind and spirit. Listen carefully, for He will not utter an idle word. Everything He will say to you is precious and essential for your life. Soak in His words. Allow them to bathe and cleanse you from the pollution of ‘self’ and the world. This is the place is where you find Life itself.
At the beginning His words are overwhelming with His great and passionate love for you, but as He continues to speak you will need to capture all that He is saying.
We would love to say that the precious words of the Father and Jesus for you will remain in your mind and heart forever, but they won’t. Some of His words will be branded like an iron on your heart, but most won’t. You are but a leaky vessel with a ‘self’ nature. The enemy of your soul is rabid about blocking, hindering and destroying any benefit you receive from Jesus. Since we have such an enemy, you must have a plan to capture, and remind you of what Jesus said.
As you listen to God have some paper and a working pen before you. Write the thoughts that come and do not quit until they are finished. Journal your encounter with the living God. Let all that He says fill the page. Sometimes it may be a few simple words that will break down walls of pain or it could fill the page with praise. Who knows what God will say to you. Whatever God speaks, write it down.
After your time of listening to Jesus ends, you will have a journal of what God said. Not all of it will be Jesus, though. Your ‘self’ nature is subtle and crafty and often, without your knowing it, will sneak in words, thoughts and phrases. At this point you have a solid way to confirm what are God’s words and what came from ‘self’.
Without a plumb line you cannot know if in your encounter with Jesus all you heard and wrote was from Him. Demons and the ‘self’ nature are very deceptive so you need the absolute assurance that what you heard was God. At this point you need to turn to the Bible and look at the record of what God has spoken in the past. Remember, Jesus will never speak to you outside of the principles of His Word. All of His words will line up with what is recorded in Scripture.
Take your journaled words and compare them to the Word of God. Using an online tool like Bible Gateway helps. How do they look? Are they in line with what Jesus spoke in the past? Are they consistent with the whole of God’s Word? If there are any thoughts not in line with Scripture you can be assured that was not Jesus speaking.
In the situation where you are not familiar enough with the Bible to know if the words you heard were correct, seek the help of leaders and teachers you know. Seasoned leaders, who know the Word of God and are mature in faith, will quickly be able to spot that which is ‘self’ and that which is spirit.
The final step is obedience
All the words God gives you are precious. They encourage, uplift and strengthen your spirit however they will not do you much good unless you put them to use. Everything God says to you is for a purpose. Your job is to take the words He has given you and obey them. Without this important part, all that Jesus said will be of little use to you.
Do you know about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30? In this parable a man gives his three servants treasure to invest with when he is away. Two of the servants invest and gain a return. The third buries the treasure he received. When the man returned, he rewards the two faithful servants but punishes the third because he wasted the treasure given to him.
The words Jesus speaks to you are more precious than any treasure on earth. How you handle His words will determine how you will be judged on the last day. Do you want to be rewarded for your faithful obedience to the words He gave you, or do you want to be punished for listening but not obeying? This is the stark reality Jesus has given you in the parable of the talents.
The 4 practical steps to hearing God's voice
Listening to God takes time, effort and determination. These 4 practical steps to hearing God’s voice are your guide. You can apply yourself to hearing His voice through stillness, vision, flowing thoughts and journaling but if you do not obey what you have heard then your time will have been wasted. To listen to Jesus is the most important thing you will do today. Take the time, make the effort to hear His voice and obey. If you do this, we guarantee your spiritual life will take off.
Homer and Wanda