Are You Listening?

What loving Father never speaks to his children? God is speaking to us all the time, yet so many of His children don’t hear Him because they do not expect to hear Him speaking to them.

In my own case it was more than five years after I was born again before I heard the Lord speaking to me personally for the first time. Five long years of total silence!!! Some of you will be shocked by so long a delay. Others may not yet realise that Jesus is simply longing to share His heart with each one of us. We are all equally special to Jesus, so why did I have to wait so long? It was simply because no one had ever told me that Jesus wanted to speak to me, so I was not expecting Him to speak. As soon as a friend told me the truth, I asked Jesus to speak to me and He did so straightaway, and He has been speaking to me every day since then.

As we grow in the Lord it becomes a beautiful, ongoing conversation, what some call ‘direct connection’ — Jesus says something… you reply… Jesus adds something else… you respond, maybe with a question this time… back and forth, back and forth like a normal conversation between two best friends enjoying spending time together.

As Jesus fellowships with us in this way, He opens up the Scriptures and our hearts are set on fire by His love. Things that were previously misunderstood may instantly become crystal clear. It’s like moving from Black and White to HD at the flick of a switch! This reminds me of the two disciples whom Jesus met on the Emmaus Road on the morning of His Resurrection.  They failed to recognise Jesus – after all, few of His disciples probably believed that He would rise from the dead and these two were grieving inconsolably. “Their eyes were opened and they knew him” when Jesus had taken the bread, blessed it, broken it and given it to them. At that point He vanished out of their sight. It is recorded that “they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:13-32.

How do we hear the voice of Jesus?

It is not an audible voice that we hear, but rather it comes as a series of loving, connected thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit. There’s nothing to fear: it will always be 100% in agreement with Scripture. Sometimes Jesus may remind us to spend more time worshipping Him… or perhaps He needs to correct us… or maybe He has a new assignment for us to work on for Him… or a reminder to pray for some needy person we know, and to phone them to show that we care.

At the Last Supper, Jesus taught much on the Holy Spirit. He said in John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself [= reveal, show, appear] to him.”

As we press on into Jesus’ heart of love for us in simple childlike faith, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to see Jesus. This is most likely to happen during a period of prolonged worship, basking in His presence, pouring out our love to our Saviour. We may see Him in the spirit every day, or perhaps it will be from time to time. This is a genuine and truly life-changing experience. Once we have seen the love in the eyes of Jesus we can never forget them — never.

We must not allow ourselves to be put off by unscriptural and unspiritual naysayers! Satan wants to steal all that he can from us. He does not want us to be blessed. The Spirit of Truth will always lead us into the truth. Any experience that brings us closer to Jesus, and helps us to become more like Him, is from God, and not from the enemy!

Does God still speak audibly nowadays?

Yes, on occasion God does speak in an audible voice today. However, in our day, this is the exception rather than the rule. Throughout the Old Testament we read that God spoke audibly to His chosen leaders and prophets. And in the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus was stopped in his tracks by seeing “a light from heaven” and hearing the audible voice of the Lord saying to him, “Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me?” as he travelled to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. The Lord then spoke to Ananias (who did not seem in the least fazed by hearing the voice of the Lord) and told him to help Saul because he was a chosen vessel, and His hand was upon him (Acts chapter 9).

In the following chapter, the Apostle Peter was granted a vision of “all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air” and he heard the Lord audibly say, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” The Lord spoke audibly to Peter three times to convince him that it was His will for non-Jews (Gentiles) to be welcomed into the church. We can learn from these examples that an audible voice was heard at a time of a significant change of direction.

I know a missionary who received her call to the mission field during a conference. The subject was ‘Missions’ on that particular evening. She heard the voice of God audibly say “Will you go?” This was immediately before the meeting started, and the nine hundred delegates had been asked to be in an attitude of prayer until the speaker came to the platform. All heads were duly bowed. She describes the voice she heard as majestic, awesome in power and volume, and unlike any voice she had ever heard. She looked up to see where the voice was coming from, fully expecting to see everyone else looking around them in astonishment too, but they had evidently heard nothing as they were still praying with their heads bowed. That was her personal missionary call.

Note from So Greatly Loved

The Lord has no favourites. All those who are His are equally precious to Him and He wants to draw each one of us deeper into His loving heart. If you are longing to hear Jesus speaking to you, it is helpful to begin by listening to some praise and worship music for a while… wait on Him, and tell Jesus how much you love Him. It is a good idea to have pen and paper to hand so that you can make a note of the beautiful thoughts that will come to you. Allow yourself plenty of time – don’t be in a rush. Pour out your heart to Jesus. Tell Him you would love to know Him better, to enjoy a deeper walk with Him and to hear Him speak to you. Think about Jesus and how very much He loves you, then start to write down the thoughts that come to you during this prayer time. Many Christians do this every day in their quiet time. There are beautiful prayer journals available in which we can write down the encouraging, uplifting thoughts that will come to us from the Lord. Don’t expect to write pages and pages when you first start out. Just one short sentence can be so very precious.