Hearing God’s Voice

By Julian Wells

“As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’” (Hebrews 3:15 NIV)

There are a number of ways God speaks to us today, but his primary means of communication is through his written Word. That is why I try to start each day reading the Bible before other earthly distractions clamor for my attention.

But all too often I have been guilty of reading it just to maintain a reading plan without truly digesting what God is saying to me. Doing so results in prejudging the content to align with my preconceived interpretations and inclinations, leaving little room for the Spirit to guide me in a different direction.

We should never be so nonchalant about the best opportunity we have each day to hear the voice of God.

Years ago, after hearing a message by Dr. Charles Stanley on this topic, I recorded in the cover of my Bible ten ways we should read God’s Word to establish the ideal mindset to hear his voice. We must read it:

  1. Eagerly
  2. Attentively
  3. Trustingly
  4. Expectantly
  5. Prayerfully
  6. Patiently
  7. Humbly
  8. Purposefully
  9. Joyfully
  10. Repentantly

Remembering to adopt these postures as I read God’s Word has served me well through the years. When I do so, I rarely fail to hear God’s voice. He shows me things I’ve never noticed before. He feeds me, strengthens me, challenges me, humbles me, and gives me ideas for reflections to share with others.

If your life is too busy to read the Bible this way, then your life is simply too busy. When Christ walked among us, it was clear to all who encountered him that his teaching was unlike any before him, and yet so many missed his glory and majesty. We must not make that same mistake by allowing trivial pursuits to keep us from the awesome privilege of hearing God’s voice through the pages of his Word.

“I must honestly declare my conviction that, since the days of the Reformation, there never has been so much profession of religion without practice, so much talking about God without walking with Him, so much hearing God’s words without doing them.” – J.C. Ryle

Timeless Truths

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:12 NIV)

Every new year brings with it the inevitable spike in gym memberships and sales of diet and exercise books. Many of us are looking for the latest exercise craze or fad diet that will help us achieve that fitness goal that eluded us last year. And yet, most of us know implicitly that maintaining good health and fitness comes down to a few simple rules: 

  • If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
  • Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
  • Walking is man’s best medicine.
  • That which is used – develops. That which is not used wastes away.
  • Everything in excess is opposed by nature. 

These “health rules” are simple, clear, straightforward, and unchanged for over 2,000 years. In fact, they were first articulated just as they are presented here by Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived several hundred years before the birth of Christ. Rather than chase the latest fad, save yourself some money this year, ingrain these few timeless principles into your heart, and discipline yourself to follow them. 

The same applies to our approach to spiritual health. Walk in the door of any Christian bookstore and you will be immediately confronted with the latest bestseller by your favorite Christian author with his/her face prominently displayed on the cover promising “Your Best Life Now” or “30 Days to Spiritual Maturity”. You will likely encounter a wide assortment of devotionals offering nuggets of Biblical wisdom and spiritual insight for each day of 2017. 

imageYou will have no difficulty finding these publications. They will be prominently displayed out front. But you may need a little assistance if you’re actually looking for a Bible. They will usually be tucked off to the side somewhere out of the way. Sadly, that is too often the case in our homes as well. 

Devotionals, Christian books, and religious blogs such as this one serve a useful purpose and my comments are not meant to denigrate them in any way or discourage you from reading them. (Certainly not mine!) But if they are your primary source of spiritual food, you will be woefully malnourished. If your goal is a stronger relationship with the Lord and improved spiritual fitness in 2017, there is simply no substitute for spending undistracted, quiet time in God’s Word. 

If it is not already your practice, I encourage you to resolve this year to begin each day reading and prayerfully digesting the clear, straightforward, and timeless truths found in the pages of your Bible. Ingrain its teachings into your heart and apply its principles in your life. There is simply no better source for spiritual nourishment and guidance than a clear word straight from the heart of the Creator and controller of the universe.

“What we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many there are who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try to feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared, into which they never venture.” – D.L. Moody