Hearing God: The Birthright
~ How does one hear from God?
I asked myself this question a number of times after I got saved in 1978. How do I know it’s just not me making things up?
My conversion was pretty powerful and supernatural. Plus I always had a sensitivity and inclination to the more spiritual side of life, a built-in curiosity about the unseen realm of the spirit. So I was pretty eager to know how I could “know”. And I thought, “Hey, if this is supposed to be a personal RELATIONSHIP with God, well there’s got to be some conversation coming back at me!”
You can imagine my excitement when I heard that a speaker was going to talk on the subject at a weekly Tuesday night gathering in Washington DC called TAG or Take And Give. The worship and the dual teaching ministry of this man and Larry Tomczak made this the place to be for young and old alike. You had to arrive way early to get a decent seat.
The speaker initially planned to talk about the topic for one week but it stretched out an additional session. He covered the Still Small Voice of Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-13) which meant God didn’t have to yell and encouraged us to learn to hear by initially having what was called a “quiet time”. A “quiet time” was usually 20-60 minutes one would set aside each morning to start the day. It would be a time of praise, prayer and fellowship “with” God.
He said that the world around us makes too much noise and I needed a quiet time to block it out to really hear. To become familiar with his voice.
No iPod, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, PC, Mac or Android! Well maybe an iPad for scriptures and journal entries! (grin!)
I had read that Jesus repeatedly said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 11:15, Mark 4:9, 4:23, Luke 8:8) which means there is a different way to hear from God than you would do normally. Different ears? Spiritual ears! He even said there were some who would “keep on hearing but not understand.” Ouch! I was getting a little discouraged… what was it going to take to get my spiritual ears working proficiently. Eager and attentive I listened carefully to every word, even taking notes.
Then it came, a most important statement from the mouth of Jesus… “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27) His sheep, aka his followers, “hear” his voice!
There it was… this kind of hearing was a done deal, (no if, ands or buts) it could be called the birthright of every believer! Of each individual Christian! So being born again I was born to hear the voice of God. I left encouraged for that still small voice was something I was created to hear. I had the ears!
Though reassuring to know that “my sheep hear my voice” there was still a problem. Wasn’t I back to square one? How do you hear and how do you know it’s the Lord? But the encouragement I had received stuck. I thought, it’s just a matter of time before I am hearing, No sweat, I’ve got the spiritual birthright!
Soon after that day came the turning point… Romans 10:17 (NASB) came alive for me.
What was key about this scripture? There are two Greek words, Logos and Rhema which are translated “word”. Logos is used normally for the written word and Rhema would be used in most cases to represent the spoken dynamic word of God. In this verse Rhema is used. This dynamic word of Christ must be heard by the listener in order for the faith that leads to salvation be realized.
So this means that for anyone to be saved they must first hear from God. So I had already heard the voice of the shepherd. The still small voice was not a future experience. I had already crossed that threshold. To be saved you must hear!!
I began to reflect on the promptings and revelations and the “hearing” that preceded the day I fully responded in faith to the gospel invitation. This was a breakthrough and an exciting beginning of a confident two-way relationship!
From then on I was able to encourage others to enter into the two-way communication with God that started on the day they trusted wholeheartedly in the work of Christ on the cross!
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
So rejoice, it is your spiritual birthright!