UPDATED Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 27, 2013; it has been updated. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Discerning God’s Voice in Our Lives”
Psalm: 29:3-5 (ESV)
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
One essential “skill” that believers need to develop, if they want to grow spiritually, is the ability to hear the voice of God. The matter of hearing God’s voice is rarely addressed in most evangelical churches because, to be frank, they are influenced more by rationalism than the NT theology. Some even equate it to seeking extra canonical revelations from God, which is not true.
If we believe that God knows the minute details of our lives, then it would make sense that He would speak to us and we would be able to recognize his voice. For too many believers, the words in the Bible stay confined to the pages and they never become living and active. The words of the Scripture are certainly principles to live by, but they are also a voice for us to follow. We need to learn to discern God’s voice in our lives.
The problem is most churches don’t teach the basic steps of hearing and obeying God’s voice, not realizing that it isn’t that difficult to help people to learn this life changing spiritual discipline. Here are the three basic guidelines to help you get started in hearing the powerful voice of God.
- Are the words that I am hearing scriptural in principle? Read the Scripture to verify.
- Do these words display the character of Christ?
- Is there anything in my life that taints my hearing? If so, then, confess and repent.
As you pray this morning, ask the Lord to speak to you and then take a few moments to really listen for His voice.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, I confess that I can sometimes be hard of hearing as you try to speak to me. Give me ears to hear what you are saying to me personally and what you may be saying to the church. Also, give me the wisdom to discern the words that are from you as opposed to my own flesh; above all, give me the faith and courage to obey the convictions that I receive. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 26
Lunch Break Study
Read John 10:27 (ESV): My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Questions to Consider
- What is the underlying reason for why we can hear the voice of God?
- Where does Jesus lead us as we follow? (Psalm 23:2, John 10:10)
- What are the benefits of obeying his voice? (John 10:28)
- The main reason why we can hear God’s voice is that we know Him and he knows us. The Christian faith is much more than cognitive knowledge; it is a profound personal relationship based on love, trust, and communication.
- The promise of Christ is that He will lead us to green pastures and still waters, that is, to the abundant life. In John 10:10, Jesus, contrasting himself to the thieves and hired hands who only look to steal and destroy the sheep, states that he comes so that we may have life and have it abundantly. The Greek word translated abundantly literally means “that which goes way beyond necessity.” The gift of Jesus is to lead us to life beyond our wildest dreams.
- One main benefit of obeying Jesus’ voice is the security that it provides. We are in constant danger of being attacked by the schemes of the enemy but Jesus can lead us to safety. In order for us to rest in the security that Jesus provides for us, we have to recognize our human tendency to stray like sheep. Like the lyrics of the classic hymn, “Come thou fount,” we have to pray constantly, “Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.”
We often forget how dependent we are on the voice of God. Just as sheep cannot survive without hearing and following the voice of their shepherd, the believer who doesn’t heed God’s voice will find himself in constant spiritual danger.
In what tangible way did you obey God’s leading today? Were there some difficult choices to be made?