God Still Speaks
A few years ago I was having a conversation with a woman who asked me if I believed that God still spoke to people. I was a little taken back by the question because I did not realize there would be any doubt over that. Without hesitation I answered, “of course God still speaks to people.” She said she had never heard God speak to her and wondered why I could believe with such confidence that He still does.
The main reason I can have this confidence is because His word tells me so. John 16:13 says: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” Clearly God the Spirt still speaks what He hears from God the Father, guiding us in the way of righteousness and leading us into the future. How then can anyone deny that God still speaks?
I think the issue is not wether or not God speaks, I think it is if we listen. We don’t hear God speak for a few reasons:
- 1. We don’t hear God speak because we don’t listen. The time we spend in prayer we too often spend placing demands on a sovereign God, and we don’t take the time to listen. We can’t expect to hear if we are not listening.
- 2. We don’t hear from God because when we do speak to Him, we do so with the wrong attitude. Our prayers are filled with asking that sounds much more like demanding than approaching a holy God with thanksgiving and praise. Jesus’ model prayer starts out by recognizing the holiness and majesty of God, along with His standing as Father who is above all things. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6 to let thankfulness be the basis for our communication with our Father. When we begin to acknowledge who He is as King and not just the magic genie to grant wishes, maybe our hearts will be open to hear.
- 3. We don’t hear from God because we don’t want to. Too many times we come to God with preconceived notions and just want God to answer according to our expectations. We don’t want God to guide us, we want Him to give us. God wants to lead us into His holiness, we want Him to bless the mess we create for ourselves. Hearing God speak means conforming to His will, accepting what He says.
- 4. We don’t hear from God because we are afraid to. We have set the course of our lives and don’t want anything to derail those plans. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that man plans his course, but God directs his steps. We are afraid that if we let God speak to us He will redirect our plans. We forget the He is the Lord of our lives and the only one worth of worship.
So if we begin to listen, with open, submitted hearts, how can we determine if we are hearing from the Lord or just hearing voices? The litmus test is to understand that God’s speaking will always be consistent with His primary way of speaking to us through His word. God will never go against what He has already said. Read His word first, humble yourself before Him, take time to listen, and be willing to accept whatever He says.
By the way, I was in prayer early this morning, presenting my requests before the Lord, asking Him to lead me through the circumstances of life. As I often do, I echoed the words of John in Revelation 22:20, hoping to hear that trumpet sound, signaling the return of the Lord, setting all things right. Immediately, I heard that familiar still small voice, echo back the word of the Lord, simply saying “soon”. Hope you’re ready.