Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Post - Hearing God

I was over reading Reagan's blog, Hybrid Student, (you should all pop over there and take a look, it's pretty awesome) and this post popped out at me. I thought it fit well with my last post, so...he's here today to delve in to the subject of communication a little more deeply.

(Thank you, Reagan!)

What is communication?

Well, we communicate with words, hand signals, and body language, but what is all of this doing? It’s transferring ideas. Communication is the transfer of ideas.

And how do you have a transfer of ideas? Well, there are two parts. You have the transmitting part. A person has to send an idea to someone else. And the other part lies in receiving the idea. The other person has to receive and comprehend the idea sent by the transmitter. If the receiver cannot understand what is being sent to him…no communication happens.

How does God talk to us? I don’t know if this is the same way for you, but when I was younger, I used to think that I would hear a voice when God spoke to me. So, if I didn’t hear anything that meant God wasn’t talking to me.

Bummer. I guess I’ll try again next week and see if God talks to me then.

But communication is the transfer of ideas. God doesn’t have to use a voice, and indeed, in this day and age, God speaking audibly is rare, but I don’t think God has suddenly gone mute. He still “talks” to us. He is speaking to us all the time. In 1 Kings, God is described as having a still small voice. Perhaps the problem isn’t with God not talking…but with us not listening. The problem in communication doesn’t lie in the transmitting of idea, but the receiving. We’re not receiving properly.

Maybe we’re talking too much. We’re moving too fast. We’ve got this, we’ve got that. Our minds are racing at a thousand miles per hour, and we always have something else we should be doing. If we aren’t doing something, then we are wasting time by default. At least, that’s what our modern culture would have us believe. But I disagree.

There’s a reason silence and solitude are spiritual disciplines. Sometimes it’s just good to be still and listen. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t, but it’s still a good exercise. Eventually, we should be able to listen and hear God in or everyday lives more often.

God is not limited to words. He doesn’t have to use a voice to transfer ideas—to communicate. He can use the Bible, signs in our lives, our feelings, our thoughts, the words of other people in our lives, etc. The ways God can “speak” to us are many and close between.
But what does “hearing God” actually look like? (or “sound like” I should say). Many people like to say, “God told me this!” or “God told me that!” but it’s obvious it was not God who was speaking to them. So how do we know? How do we know when God is speaking to us, and when it’s just our own thoughts and imaginations?

I do not know the answer to this question. I still haven’t learned to listen to God as I should. However, there are ways to know what isn’t God speaking. For example, whenever something contradicts with God’s word or character, you know it isn’t from God. If you are being tempted to sin, then that is not God talking. If you are having negative thoughts or feelings about yourself or life in general, then that is not God.

If the stimuli is good, pure, and wholesome, God is likely the author. However, how you tell the difference between what is your own conscience or the work of the Holy Spirit in your life…and what is actually God speaking to you…I’m not 100% sure.

However, I believe the more we work to listen, the more we will hear. God is speaking all the time.

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