Last night at church, it was Wave Wednesday. Wave Wednesday’s are special bible study nights that feature a guest teacher/preacher. This Wave Wednesday featured Michael R. Murphy, a pastor from Sydney, Australia who has been in ministry for over 30 years. Btw, my church’s (Wave Church) lead pastor and his family are Australian. The accents are AWESOME.
The topic of the lesson was “How Do We Hear God’s Voice?”
I was raised in the church, okay?
For most of my Christian life BEFORE I decided to pursue a real relationship with Christ, I was told/taught that I should, and if I was close enough to God, would hear clearly, loudly, and boldly the deep, confident, comforting, and very audible voice of God. I expected and hoped to hear Him in a conversational volume: “Hey Tobi, you should go to [insert awesome place where God wants me]” or “Tobi, the college you should go to is [insert the best university ever].”
Well…I didn’t. And it felt like failure. Did I not ask the right questions of Him? Was my prayer ignored? What did I do wrong?
What I learned last night was the voice of God isn’t necessarily going to be a booming baritone in my ear. Pastor Mike gave some guidelines to help us listen correctly and hear from the Lord.
Using his hand, he presented these tips:
1. (Thumb) The infallible Word of God. When you are believing and listening for a breakthrough or message from God, you must first ask yourself…what has He already said about your situation? Is what you’re asking or hoping for in line with the Word of God? 1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.” (NIV) God’s words and commandments have not and will not change. So again…when you’re waiting with an expectant heart, what does his word say? I’m sure we’re all guilty of just standing and waiting for the answer to just pop into our conscious thoughts. Well, friends, sometimes the answer can be found if you just turn a page…think of an open-book test.
2. (Index finger) The desires of your heart. We all know the keystone scripture, Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ My fabulous study bible [Tyndale Life Application Study Bible] breaks down that verse. “To delight/commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in him, believing that he can care for us better than we can ourselves. We should be willing to wait patiently for him to work out what is best for us.
3. Counsel of those you trust. This is easy. When you are surrounded by godly counsel, it’s not a chore to ask them for advice grounded in faith, to request their intercession on a certain issue, or to seek some type of affirmation.
4. Circumstances. Sometimes God may bring a scripture to your remembrance that can speak to your specific circumstance. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the best notes on this topic, but if you’re a college student with no job, no way to pay for your next semester, and your next trip to the Cashier’s Office/Fin. Aid Office results in a “it’s been taken care of”…you’ll “hear” Him loud and clear.
5. The peace of God. When Pastor Michael reached this point, he said “Have you ever made a decision of faith and felt completely sure about it? Like you were perfectly at peace with your choice? That’s the all-encompassing peace of God. Now what about a decision you made and after you made that decision, you felt uneasy, you kept thinking about it, and you felt doubt start creeping in? That may not have been the route God intended for you to take.
I’m still learning how to listen for God’s direction, instead of using my knowledge to make what I call an “analyzed and informed decision”. It hasn’t been completely easy– it may never be– but it’s important to me that I try to make positive progress.
Whether it’s a “small, still voice” or “like many waters”…