An ear for the Infinite
When I last posted I made mention of a “thought” in my head that I knew didn’t originate with me. I knew I was hearing God. After reading my post, a friend asked a really great question:
“How do you become so in tune with Him and where the thoughts in your head come from?”
People far more experienced and scholarly than I have tackled this subject. Some of them have even come to the conclusion that God doesn’t speak to people anymore except through the bible. I believe He is far more active and personal in our lives than that, however.
He wants us to know Him.
So…I can tell you a little about what I’ve learned. But understand that there are many ways to hear Him, and He doesn’t teach us all in the same way. He is great at personalizing lessons. And if by chance you are one of the Sparky Nation who isn’t so sure about all this God stuff, this post might be a little harder to understand than some of my usual posts. You are welcome to ask questions if you like, however, and I’ll do what I can to either answer or help you figure out how to find it for yourself.
There are a couple of things that are important no matter how He teaches you, no matter how you best learn. If you don’t have a decent grasp on these two things, you will likely struggle to hear Him, and hear Him accurately.
1. It’s important to understand that He really is good and that His good news for us is really, truly GOOD NEWS.
2. It’s important to believe that we really are who He says we are.
If I believe that God is angry with me and is looking to punish me in order to teach me a lesson, I’m probably not going to hear Him very well because I will filter all of life through fear and shame. I will think that God is only interested in telling me what’s wrong with me and how I’m screwing up.
This is not the basis for a good, loving relationship.
Jesus told His disciples that if they’d seen Him, they’d seen the Father. He hasn’t changed since then. That means that anything we believe about God that we can’t find in the person of Jesus Christ really needs to be called into question, because Jesus is His perfect expression of love and mercy.
When the Holy Spirit speaks to us, He expresses the goodness of His personality. How do we know His personality? Well, one way is to consider what we look like when we bear the fruit of His presence and activity in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). We bear that kind of fruit because that’s the kind of person He is. Because of that, we can expect Him to treat us that way.
If what you hear is criticism, negativity, judgment, fear, anxiety, anger, accusation, shaming…you can be pretty sure that you’re hearing some other hissing critter who should be told to hush and leave immediately, in the name of Jesus.
You see, God knows us. He knows what we’ve done, what we’re capable of, and yet because we’ve aligned ourselves with Jesus and the finished work of the cross and the resurrection, He sees us in Jesus. Everything true of Jesus is true of us as far as He is concerned, and He works in our lives to make our position in Christ a reality in our lives. Which is a nice way of saying that He’s invested in maturing us.
It’s an incredible relief to know that I’m seen as a daughter and not the sum total of my mistakes and terrible choices, because I’ve made an alarming amount of both.
It’s an even bigger relief to know that we have a Dad who delights in us and isn’t the least bit intimidated by our humanity. My messiness doesn’t make Him less holy when He hangs out with me. On the contrary, His holiness is contagious and transforming.
So what if you think you heard Him but you’re not sure? Well, you can handle that a couple of different ways. You can ask Him to clarify what you heard, and then wait. Or you can decide to trust Him. You can tell Him what you believe you heard and that you’re going to respond in faith that you heard correctly unless you hear a clear “stop” or clarification. And then respond! You will get it wrong sometimes. That’s ok…you’re learning. Even great marathoners had to learn to crawl first! But it will bless Him to know that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to respond to Him when He speaks. And He will join right in with training you to hear with greater accuracy, because you’re training yourself to be trustworthy for the things of the Kingdom.
A blog post is hardly the way to be comprehensive about such a broad topic as this one. But if there’s anything I hope you take away from this, it’s that God is crazy about you and He wants you to trust Him and hear Him.
You will never regret the process of learning to do that. He has the best voice ever.