The Know Your God series was birthed in January this year when I felt the Spirit of God hovering over these words, “Know your God”. Follow along here as I share revelation + practical ways for you to get caught up in the Romance of God… and fall in love with Him all over again.
Many of us know with our minds that God speaks. The Bible says so, and we know theoretically that He wants a relationship with us. We just need a little help in getting that theory to become reality.
A question I get often is, “How do I hear the voice of God?” I struggled with this question for years and years, often ending up in tears of condemnation and fear — Why couldn’t I hear God? Was there something wrong with me, with my heart? Was my heart so hardened that I wouldn’t allow God to speak to me? Was I so sinful that God was displeased and didn’t want to come close to me? Was I unlovable and that’s why God didn’t love me / want to speak to me?
I eventually learned that we cannot start off getting to know God by how-to’s and a list of do’s and dont’s – we don’t approach Him with a formula or by looking at how good/deserving we are. That only leads to strife, condemnation, pride, fear.
He is a person, and we must begin by getting to know Him – His ways, His heart, His personality. And the more we get to know Him, the clearer His voice will be to us because we have learned to recognize the Person behind the voice.
So we begin to address the question of, “How do I hear God’s voice?” by answering this: How does God speak?
God speaks in many ways. There is a depth to His personality that we could spend eternity discovering, but here are 5 foundational truths that I have found to help me in my discovery of Him.
1. God speaks to be heard by you.
Yes, YOU. The way He speaks to you is as unique as the personality He gave you and the journey He has planned for you. God speaks to us in our unique love language(s) and He will speak to you in ways that you can receive.
He is not some far-away elusive God who wants to remain aloof. He wants to be found, wants to be known. He speaks your language – if you are a nature lover, He will speak to you through nature. If you are a music person, He will use music to speak to you. It doesn’t matter if you like shopping, or reading, or painting… He will speak to you through them all because God is far less religious than we are. Nothing is too little nor too shallow for Him to communicate with us by.
He has been breathing life into nothingness from Genesis, and continues to speak life into the mundane – that is why He often speaks to us in the most common and ordinary ways.
2. God speaks in the little everyday moments; in the most common and ordinary of ways.
Some people feel that God is a God who is way up there; distant, detached, untouchable. Some people think that only the very religious, holiest, elite, have access to the heart of God.
Over the years, I have found that God delights in revealing Himself to ordinary people. Not only to those who fast and pray, the pastors, the prophets, the ministers… though He loves to reveal Himself to them too. But I have found that He also loves showing Himself to the unlikeliest people in society –the young, the old, the hidden, the shy, the quiet ones, the ordinary.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, because God wants to be your best friend. He wants to do life with you, to just be with you in your everyday life. He could speak through a random advertisement on the train, or in the lyrics of a song, or the words of a child. A sentence in that book that you’re reading might cause your heart to leap, or maybe a scene in a movie that brought you to tears – all these are the little ways that God tugs at our hearts.
What moves you? What makes you come alive? That is the way that God hardwired you to be, and that is the way in which He will speak to you often. Don’t disdain the little, ordinary moments. The best Bible stories are the ones about encounters between ordinary people and an extraordinary God, and I think it’s because they inspire us to believe that our ordinary lives could be all lit up with rays of eternity.
3. God speaks because He wants a relationship with you.
You see, He has everything in the whole universe at His fingertips and yet human beings are the only ones whom He will give everything for. He is looking for friends, not servants. He wants covenant relationship, not religious piety.
God speaks not just to tell us what to do or give us direction, though He often does that as a Father would a child. Neither does He only speak to rebuke or scold us. He speaks because He wants close friendship with you. Everything else flows out of this deep desire for His heart to be joined to yours.
He wants to tell you what makes Him happy and what makes Him sad. What He’s thinking about and what are the burdens on His heart. He has many servants, but few friends. He is looking for those who would go past the outer courts, into the Holy of Holies, where He can share His secrets and the deep things of His heart.
4. God speaks in creative and romantic ways.
Don’t put Him in a box or limit Him. He might surprise you one day with a beautiful rainbow, or a majestic sunset. Or maybe a beautiful flower by the roadside of your usual jogging route.
You might be having a particularly lousy day, and suddenly a stranger does something nice for you that makes the whole day better. Or maybe you’re losing faith in a particular situation, and then you hear a song or see a billboard that talks about hope. He knows what you need in that moment, and He delights in delighting you with new expressions of love.
When you’ve found the way that God speaks to you – through dreams, or Scripture, or nature, or songs, etc – remember not to put Him back in that box. He might change the ways through which He speaks to you, because He wants most for you to know Him more & more. It is a continuous journey of discovering new things about Him everyday – and isn’t that what makes this relationship so exciting?
5. God speaks with love.
Sometimes He has to rebuke and guide us, but His rebuke is always full of love.
If you hear words of condemnation, loathing, or rejection, it is not God’s voice. His rebuke is always kind, His chastisement full of love. His remonstrations will always lead us and empower us to repentance and change, not condemnation and paralysis.
God is love, and His voice will always be wrapped with love and gentleness.
Next week, we will talk about the practical ways in which we can learn to hear the voice of God. But until then, take some time each day to observe what’s around you and say, “Lord, what do you want to talk about today?”
It takes practice to keep aware of the little ways that God speaks to you, but start practicing and you will see amazing things. Ask Holy Spirit to help you notice Jesus in your everyday moments; that’s what He’s there for and what He loves to do. A good practice is to start each day with this prayer the moment you wake up, “Holy Spirit, be my best friend today. I want us to keep in step with each other throughout the day; help my heart to sense your heart even when things get busy.”
Keep praying this everyday and wait and see what the Lord will do for you!