To say, “God spoke to me today!” should be normal for the Christian. It was for Adam in the garden before the Fall, and we have been reinstated to that pre-fall status. Yet, even after the Fall God communicated with Adam face to face, along with a whole host of Old Testament people, long before Jesus showed up on the scene…
Jesus is called The Word. Jesus, coming in the flesh as a living, breathing, speaking man, opened the door wide for conversation with us because it is what we were designed for. God always intended for it to be normal for us to have two-way conversations with Him, in a spoken language that we can easily understand. God is not a silent, uninvolved, nor inaccessible God. He is very present and ever ready to engage our hearts. He is our loving Father. What good father doesn’t want to be in relationship with his kids, talking with them, daily?
God communicates with us in thousand different ways, but especially by His still small voice. He created language as a primary communication method so that we could understand Him. And while there is so much mystery in God, there is also the great simplicity of knowing Him, and conversing with Him daily. We are told to approach Him like a child (Matthew 18:3) with great joy, quick to believe His every word.
His still small voice can be heard by everyone, believers and unbelievers alike.
God is constantly reaching for our hearts. He designed us for close and intimate relationship and longs for us to turn to Him. His pursuit of us is not dependent upon us, but is self-initiated, from His heart. He endlessly loves and endlessly seeks relationship with us, all of us, even the worst of sinners.
“The worst of sinners.” Who is it that is the worst of sinners? A murderer? A thief? What about the gossiper? Do we think gossip is not as bad as murder? Sin is sin. It’s all the same. And while there is nothing that escapes His eyes—there is no sin so small or benign—there is also nothing that escapes His forgiveness. His forgiveness is deep, and it is thorough, and it is cleansing. If we confess our sin, any and all of it, He freely forgives us (1John 1:9) because of the work of the Cross. And because nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39), we can move into great freedom in relationship with Him.
God speaks to the “worst of sinners” because He wants to reach every single person.
In humility, Paul, after he’d been in ministry for many years said, I am the “worst of sinners” (1Timothy 1:15). Why? Because he knew that none of us are better than anyone else. None of us are more deserving of hearing the voice of the Lord based upon our good life, or leadership status. God doesn’t reserve His words for the holy among us, those more mature, or those in full-time ministry. No. God speaks to everyone—anyone who will listen, any who will simply believe it’s Him.
There are however, three voices, and we have to discern between them. Don’t worry. It’s easy and He is very invested in helping us. Trust Him.
The three voices are:
1. Our own voice.
2. The devil’s voice.
3. God, our loving Father’s voice.
My own voice can change based upon which other voice I listen to more: the devil’s, or the Father’s. Also, my voice can often be the voice of logic and reason that leads me away from faith, especially if I’ve lifted it up in pride, above the voice of the Father. “Pride of life—comes NOT from the Father but from the world” (1John 2:16). Proverbs 3:5 famously says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
The devils voice (or anyone of his many demons) is always negative, condemning, and critical. His is the voice of accusation and slander. He reminds us of failure. He pushes us to fear, hate, and bitterness. He is the author of confusion, anxiety, depression, and doubt. He is quite practiced in sounding wise, but there is always a twisting bewitching agenda behind his words. The fruit of listening to the devils voice is easy to spot—it’s anything that creeps up into our lives that is against love. Galatians 5 includes: distance in our relationship with Christ, removal of freedom, back-biting (gossip), adultery, jealousy, outbursts of anger, drunkenness, pride. It would do us good to remember this letter was written to the church. These were issues inside the church.
God’s still small voice is always loving and kind. He is always inviting us into deeper relationship. His words always bring life, and wholeness, and freedom, and encouragement, and security—they guide us (Psalm 23:3). His words “feel” refreshing to our soul. Even when He is correcting us, it is in gentleness, leading us into repentance (Romans 2:4), always with the invitation to deeper relationship—this is a fruit of repentance: greater knowing Him. The fruit of listening to God’s voice is also: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
God’s voice is the “still small voice” (1Kings 19:12) that is constantly calling to us saying, “this is the way walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If we are to know and follow God we are to practice listening to His voice, walk in His instruction, and follow Him.
It is God’s intention that we would live each day, confidently knowing and hearing His voice, living secure in His loving care and reject those voices that push us away from His love, or make us believe in anything less than His absolute goodness and love toward us… This is the normal Christian life.