HEARING FROM GOD
(Intercessors for Cyprus Editorial for October 2022 edition no. 108).
^ EDITORIAL: 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21: ‘Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.’
HEARING FROM GOD: If we believe we are receiving counsel from God for a new situation, maybe new information, ideas, prophetic words, etc., then we should be willing to have this checked and tested by the counsel of many advisors (Proverbs 15v22). For example, sharing what you are receiving with two or three others, taking it to church elders, ministry leaders, older more experienced believers, etc. It is good to test what we think we may be hearing from God before we act on it…..see above verses from 1 Thessalonians 5.
1. We can hear from God via scripture: the ‘logos’ written set scripture – the word of God, the Bible. Also through the ‘rhema’ word, scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit as relevant to the ‘now’ situation. Personally, I hear far more from Father God through the daily reading of the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s highlighting of verses or passages than any other way of hearing from God.
2. Hearing God via worship & prophecy. The Holy Spirit often moves in the context of worship to inspire aspects of the prophetic, be it a prophetic word or other form of inspiration…even a spontaneous dance can be from Holy Spirit for that particular occasion. Let’s be open to the prophetic in worship.
3. Hearing God via other people, both in the form of advice or chance comments which fit your situation, given by Holy Spirit.
4. Hearing God via circumstances. Often God uses these to get His message across to us. When circumstances begin to line up in terms of timing or other aspects, it may be His word to us. However, this direction should not be taken alone, rather in conjunction with other streams of confirmation.
5. Hearing God via the leading of the Spirit. A sense of His leading in a situation….again not to be acted on alone, but with confirmation.
6. Hearing God via dreams, visions, pictures, impressions, etc., whether these come through you or others. Again not to be taken alone.
7. Hearing from God through the Holy Spirit’s ‘peace’ overall. One of the best lasting confirmations.
If you have need of hearing from God His counsel, then why not give Him time and space to speak to you? Why not arrange a short ‘retreat’ (often actually an advance) - even half a day with no agenda but to be with God? Take a Bible. Go for a walk. Look around. I remember the day God spoke to me through a garden which was exhibiting the change of season from autumn to winter. He just whispered to me that He works in seasons in the lives of His people, and that I was coming to an end of one season and being prepared for a new season. It was a wonderful message and proved accurate. Also, be open and in faith, ready for Him to communicate. So, expanding on the above, how does He communicate and confirm?
(i). The word of God: a) A general knowledge of the Scriptures and God’s requirements. b) The word of God...directed to particular passage or verse(s)
c) The word of God (a ‘rhema’ word) e.g. ‘quickening’...then look up in scriptures, etc. d) NB reading the word aloud (1 Tim 4v13 ‘Do not neglect the public reading of scripture.’) e) Timely preaching / teaching from the ‘pulpit’ etc.
(ii). The inner witness of the Spirit: a) A sense of ‘rightness’ about it. b) Peace in your spirit c) The witness of others involved, in their spirits.
(iii). Confirmation from outside sources: a) Spouse / trusted close ones b) Submission to those in spiritual authority over you e.g. elders of your church.
c) Other people not in the ‘know’ d) Unexpected comments by people used by God to confirm a direction e) Circumstances lining up, News, etc.
(iv). The place of pictures / dreams / visions: Jeremiah 23v28-29: Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the LORD. "Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
(v). Further time with God to mull these
things over: Never be hasty.....the Spirit leads rather than
drives. Listening for His counsel. The key place of fasting and prayer.
Finally, John 16v13-14: “….when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he
will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only
what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to
me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.