Thoughts on Abiding: Hearing God's Voice (Part 2)
Matt Massey |
February 6, 2024
Hearing God's Voice
I believe every Christian can hear the voice of God. Too often we relegate that privilege to pastors, missionaries, and other "super saints." But listening for and obeying the Holy Spirit's promptings is meant to be the norm for every Jesus follower seeking closeness with Him.
As a young believer, I struggled to tune into God's voice. The amazing testimonies from veteran Christians about supernatural guidance left me wondering—why not me, Lord? I concluded that such miracle stories were only for the ministry elite and mentally checked out. Tragically, walking away repressed my spiritual life.
Thankfully in His relentless love, God drew me back. Through the prayer and witness of loved ones and grappling with the resurrection's evidence, I surrendered once again. This time with fresh ears to truly listen. An older friend told me, “You have the same Holy Spirit in you who raised Jesus working on the inside.” I realized that hearing God's voice directing my steps was never meant just for some, but was rather the birthright and blessing of every child of God.
The Necessity of Abiding
But listening requires first abiding deeply in Christ. Just before His death, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the vine, you are the branches...apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Our task is not to go it alone as Lone Ranger Christians. Only through continually linking to the True Vine do we receive Jesus' supernatural life flowing through us.
I talked about this in part 1, but here’s a summary: Abiding means staying tuned to His voice as we daily walk with Christ. It requires intentionally carving out quiet spaces to meet with God away from life's chaos and distractions. Immersing in scripture, confessing sins that clog our spiritual arteries, and releasing burdens to Him in prayer all keep our connection clear.
As we yield more fully to the Spirit's work in the abiding places, miraculous fruit naturally grows: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23a). And out of the abundance of thriving abiding, we begin to intuitively recognize the Holy Spirit's inner promptings.
Like a vine that’s nourished by rain and sun bears grapes, we who are filled with God's presence bear God’s guidance. We start living from the inside out, God's Kingdom agenda setting our rhythm, values, and vision.
Learning the Sound of His Voice
So what does God's voice sound like? For most believers, it's not audible words or visible visions, but rather that still, small whisper. A spontaneous impression, a biblical concept that comes alive, an inner pull we sense about a situation or person. As we walk closely with Jesus, spending consistent time reading the Bible and praying, the sound of His voice becomes recognizable.
We realize those promptings align with His character as revealed in the Bible. They carry a distinctive resonance and weight of glory. And obedience brings confirmation and peace. We simply learn the sound of God speaking (John 10).
Of course, hearing God's voice is not the point in itself, but rather fuels obedient action. As Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
The point of guidance is not for mere information, but transformation. As we respond to the Holy Spirit’s nudges, faith grows. We gain the courage to live fully surrendered to His Kingdom purposes, confident that when we walk in obedience, He directs our way perfectly.
What adventure awaits as we learn to continually abide and obey? I'm convinced radical impact lies on the other side of that prayer. May we together tune our ears, walk in intimacy with Christ, and hear the voice of God guiding us into Kingdom fruitfulness for His glory.