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Pointers along the way #206

Shortcuts for hearing God?
- Jacob Ninan

God uses different ways to communicate with us. He has written down in the Bible eternal truths and also many do's and don't's. The more we are familiar with the Bible, the easier it is for us to know God's will in many situations of life. But we also need to know His will in specific situations for which there may not be any clear instructions in the Bible. When we sincerely desire to please the Lord in everything, it can be a problem that we aren't always clear about God's will.

We would very much like it if God would physically tell us what we should do. We would like Him to at least give us guidance through a voice, vision, dream, prophecy, etc. God does communicate sometimes through such means, but comparatively very rarely. If we are bent on getting such supernatural guidance for our decisions, especially after we have heard someone else's testimony, we may get frustrated, because we can't insist that God should answer us according to our whims and fancies!

Whether we are reading the Bible, listening to a preacher, praying or waiting on the Lord, God speaks to us in our heart - our spirit. When we hear Him, our heart 'burns within us' (Lk.24:32). In other words, something becomes 'alive' in our spirit that tells us it is God speaking to us. People may explain it as 'having eyes (or ears) opened,' 'light dawning,' 'experiencing peace,' etc. But such a 'spiritual' event cannot be explained in words even though every born again Christian experiences it.

The ability to hear God like this matures with experience, and there is no way we can learn it overnight. When we realise that God's voice is not the only one ringing in our mind but that is mingled with voices from our own flesh and mind, people around us, and Satan and his demons, it becomes clear that there is a possibility for us to make mistakes. The only way we can get to recognise God's voice is through getting to know Him better. And the way to get to know Him better is through sincere and serious study of the Word, and by learning about His ways through our own and other people's experiences. This takes time and effort.

We can see that if we are impatient and would like to jump classes we could have a lot of interest in supernatural guidance. This can be dangerous, because God is not the only one doing supernatural things now! Just like high school students imagine that they know everything about mathematics, we can also think that God is speaking to us in visions, dreams, prophetic words, etc., when actually we are imagining things or Satan is feeding us with counterfeits.

God wants to instruct and teach us the way we should go (Ps.32:8). In other words, He doesn't want to give us instructions to follow without understanding (v.9). He wants us to make mature decisions based on His word, our sanctified understanding of His ways, the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of the mature. Let us not look for shortcuts.