“But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:15 NIV)
I recently had a breakthrough in hearing God’s voice. With my wife leaving on a weeklong winter getaway with some family members, I decided that I would set aside that time to focus on my relationship with the Lord. There have been several big rock items in my life that I have been wrestling with for some time regarding God’s will and I determined to press into Him for some answers.
Originally I thought I would take a few days to get away by myself at a silent retreat center in the woods, but then was inspired instead to dedicate my home as my own silent retreat center. Basically I declared it a no media zone, simplified my schedule and spent my non-working hours in the morning and the evenings spending time in His presence.
For the Christian, one of the biggest challenges is developing the ability to tune into and listen to the Holy Spirit. God wants us to know His will for our lives through having full access to the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. I established that in my last blog post entitled “Limitless, beyond the movie.”
Since God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own we desperately need help to access and understand them. (Isaiah 55:8-9) In the New Testament we are told that the mind of Christ is revealed by the Holy Spirit. “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” He helps us to “understand what God has freely given us” by revealing “the mind of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13) That is “full access’ and is meant to be the norm for every believer and follower of Christ.
Setting aside my retreat week reconfirmed this truth for me and also reinforced the fact that there are things every believer can do to increase their ability to access the mind of Christ.
Here is my list of the top three things I did to position myself to hear God’s voice. When God chooses to speak, these three things will insure that you hear Him.
1. Cultivate a seeking attitude that is looking for and listening for His voice. Jesus promised us that if we ask, seek and knock, we will be found by Him. (Luke 11:9-12) The Christ child was revealed to Simeon because He was longing to see Him. (Luke 2:25) Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is something that can be cultivated. It is a conscious decision to be open to hearing His voice in every situation through any means. A seeking attitude is continually asking “Lord what are you saying?” and “What are you doing in this situation?”
2. Deal with every distraction! Too often we fail to hear God’s voice because there are so many distractions. Media is probably the biggest culprit. I decided to take the “Be still and know that I am God!” advice seriously. (Psalm 46:10) Since God often speaks in a “still small voice” it is important to be quiet so we can hear it. I’ve found turning off the TV, radio, CD player, I Pod, computer etc. not only eliminates distractions but also temptations. Fasting and abstaining from any form of life’s pleasures always makes us more receptive to knowing God and His ways. There is nothing like silence to heighten our ability to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit.
3. Read the Bible with prayer and worship! Hidden in God’s Word are both His will and His work for each individual. But it takes digging into the Bible with the help Holy Spirit to unearth them. Prayer and worship invite the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do that. One of the things I always do when I am earnestly seeking the Lord is to spend time reading gobs of scripture coupled with prayer and praise. I figure the more of His word I expose myself to the greater the opportunity I give Him to speak to me.
It is interesting. Over the course of the week as I fixed my heart to seek Him, eliminated distractions and spent time in prayer, worship and Bible reading, God began to speak “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little.” (Isaiah 28:13) There were no angelic visitations or monster revelations. But, the cumulative effect of seeing nuggets of truth from God’s Word convinced me He was revealing the answers I was seeking. That is always exciting and potentially life changing. And the amazing thing is anyone can do it.
Please share your experiences of hearing God’s voice.
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