Don’t believe the lie! Everyone can hear god, every single day and that includes you!
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but there’s something that happens to believers as they mature in the Christian faith.
We begin with the bible and learn the truth about Jesus and all that he achieved for us.
All good so far.
Then we go to church and absorb more truth. But as time passes, slowly but surely, the myths, lies and half-truths creep in.
This happens even in churches that teach the bible very clearly. Somehow, alongside all the truths we believe, we manage to assimilate lies as well.
And one of the biggest lies is this:
Today I want to tackle that lie head-on. I’ll talk about how we come to believe it in the first place and 4 reasons why everyone can hear God, including you.
There’s one simple reason why we end up believing lies about our ability to hear God …and a more complex one.
The simple explanation is that the enemy doesn’t want us to hear God and he’ll do anything he can to prevent us from doing so.
When we hear God’s voice, we find out what he is saying and can follow him. And that makes us powerful because when we continually obey what the Lord tells us to do, miracles start to happen.
So, if the enemy can prevent us from hearing God’s voice, he will, because he’ll also keep the kingdom of God at bay.
The more complex answer is that we can misinterpret or misunderstand the Bible.
Most of us are used to reading about the lists of spiritual gifts as found in places such as 1 Corinthians 12:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
(1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NIV)
This chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is familiar to us and it’s deserving of all the attention it gets.
It’s Paul’s great treatise on the place of spiritual gifts in the church and how we are all different, but also complementary.
We need each other and each person’s gifting as we endeavour to build God’s kingdom and Christ builds up his church.
In his letter, Paul goes on to say how we need not only different kinds of gifts, but also different kinds of leaders.
The key verse is here:
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
(1 Corinthians 12:29-31)
Despite Paul’s exhortation to “eagerly desire the greater gifts”, this gives us pause for thought.
And sadly, that pause may lead us into error.
The argument in our head goes something like this:
It’s not true and it’s time to debunk this terrible lie!
The fact is that everyone can hear God and now I’m going to show you how.
There are many reasons why the lie that not everyone can hear God has spread through much of the church and one reason stems from our own experience.
If we have never truly heard God’s voice in the past, then we tend to settle for that as our normality.
However, we should not assume that what went before is how it will always be.
What is important is that there are concrete ways to demonstrate that everyone can hear God today.
Here are 4 of them.
From the creation of the world in Genesis chapter 1, we know that God speaks.
At his voice, the universe was made and everything in it: God’s voice has power.
He is still speaking today and when God speaks, situations and circumstances change.
We should expect that as he speaks, he will tell his people what he is doing.
And if God is speaking now, why would we not be able to hear?
If God is speaking, then his voice demands a hearer.
But this isn’t about what God demands, so much as what he desires.
And what he desires most is relationship.
Jesus won everything we need for us when he died on the cross: redemption from sin, access to the Father, peace, healing, and so on.
Simultaneously, he removed the barrier of sin and made it possible for us to have communication with the Father. And communication is two way.
Prayer is intended to be two way because it’s the medium of relationship and communication with God.
Prayer isn’t just a shopping list, it’s a place to be found in God’s presence, where we can enjoy him - and he can enjoy us.
Yes, we can talk to him and tell him about our worries and concerns.
But it’s also the place to listen and hear his voice, to know and understand how he feels about us and our circumstances.
Hearing God is a spiritual gift in the sense that we hear God with our spirits, not just with our minds or our physical ears.
Having a gift implies a giver.
And if a gift is given, it can also be taken away (or not imparted in the first place).
However, standing against that are the words of Jesus himself:
“My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me”
This implies that all followers of Jesus must be able to hear him. Otherwise, how could we know his voice and follow him?
So, strictly speaking, we should not see the ability to hear God as a spiritual gift.
I believe that we should understand the gift of hearing as an ability inherent in every believer. It’s something intrinsic to the way we’re built, as new creations in Christ.
If hearing God is an intrinsic ability of the believer, what is its relationship to the spiritual gifts of prophecy and healing (and the rest of the list)?
Listening to God is a pre-requisite for using spiritual gifts, and is even more important for becoming truly effective in them.
Jesus said, “I only do what I see the Father doing”.
In other words, he watched and listened to his Father and only did as he was led, no more and certainly no less.
Therefore, if we want to be followers of Jesus, we must be able to do the same.
Any spiritual gift may be useful in a given situation, but only God knows which one will truly touch the heart of the person who is to receive the blessing.
So it follows that we must stay close to God and listen to him, so that we will know which gift he wants us to employ, and when.
Once we have buried the lie that we can’t hear God, we can open ourselves up to the truth that everyone can hear God, all the time.
And that begs the questions of how often and how clearly we can hear him.
If we want to follow Jesus, we can pray that he will:
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