People often ask… “How do you know if God is talking to you”? For the longest time, I was one of those “people”. I did not understand how Christians could hear God talking.
The answer… Stop listening with your ears and listen with your heart.
For those unfamiliar with my story; I grew up in the Catholic church, I went to church regularly as an adult, and even when I was my farthest away from God, I still believed in Him, I just didn’t want to acknowledge Him. I have often wondered how true Christians could say they hear God talk to them? Do they have a special phone number? Does God appear in front of them in the form of a burning bush? Maybe they have to be someone really special like a pastor, priest, or minister? I didn’t understand. Hearing God speak to you is not as hard as many think. Once you make that 18″ journey from your head to your heart, from revelation to transformation, it’s not if you can hear God, it’s when you hear God.
Being transformed into a disciple is a heart condition. From the book Transforming Evangelism, The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith, authors Henry H. Knight III & F. Douglas Powe Jr. tell us this about being transformed: Some may be disappointed that holiness does not mean life will be defined on their terms, but it does mean a life participating with God. This life is lived differently because we are no longer held captive by the brokenness that so often defines our being. This is transformation. Once you surrender control and start letting God define, not only your actions, but your entire life; then you will hear God talk to you. Coincidences no longer exist, there are just “God Moments”.
I know this sounds hard to believe, in fact two years ago I could never have believed or understood this. However, God’s plan is undeniable and once you surrender your will for His perfect will, you are able to understand. Imagine the finest orchestra conductor, marking time, waiving his baton, and signaling exactly how and when he want’s the different instruments of the orchestra to sound in. It is a seamless movement of beauty. God work’s in much the same way, just on a much greater and impressive scale. He controls everything from the wind in the trees to the waves in the ocean, from the moment your born until the moment you die, from the sounds that you hear to even the next breath you take, these are all under His divine and perfect control. Once you understand that, coincidence and worry disappear. In Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus himself tells us: 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”.
I have come to see many instances in my life where God was speaking to me, I just either chalked it up to coincidence or didn’t want to hear it, whichever suited best in those moments. We all hear that “little voice” inside us. Call it a conscience, call it intuition, call it whatever you want, but I tell you this; I believe that “little voice” is God talking to you. I will share one recent example of that “little voice” when God spoke to me. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine from church invited my wife and I to a local professional hockey game. He and his wife know we are hockey fans and came upon some last-minute tickets and invited us to go. We graciously accepted the offer and headed out for a night of great fun and fellowship with another couple of believers. When we arrived at the game and found our seats, I felt very blessed. We were right behind the goaltender about 8 rows back off the glass. If you know anything about hockey, you know these were great seats.
Until recently, my only professional hockey game experiences, at this particular arena were with one of my pre-salvation friends. A great man and friend, and one I am proud to call brother. To my shame however, all of our trips to hockey games were filled with alcohol induced frivolity and less than christian behavior. Once I was saved, this friend and I sat down to discuss the heart changes I was experiencing and where it left us as friends. I didn’t want to lose his friendship, but I also knew that God had other plans for me than the lifestyle of alcohol induced behavior he and I enjoyed. Through discussions, my friend came to the self-realization that he had a problem with alcohol and stopped drinking. We still meet for lunch or dinner to hang out and visit, but we stopped getting liquored together.
Back to the game! So my wife and I are with this couple from church, in these amazing seats, and all I can think about is sharing it with my old drinking buddy. I ignored the thought for a while writing it off as “it’s because I’m at a hockey game”, but I kept feeling like I needed to share with him where I was. I took a picture of our view from these great seats and texted him “thinking of you buddy”. Less than two minutes later I am getting slapped in the back by my old drinking buddy. He was also at the same game about 5 rows up and 1 section over with another friend of his. We were literally within 50 feet of one another and had no idea.
After the “are you kidding me’s” and the “unbelievable’s”, we sat and started chatting. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was a bit less than sober. When I called him on that fact, he looked at me a little embarrassed then acknowledged and admitted to his current condition. After a little discussion, he agreed to change his behavior and before the end of the game, he was sober and in control of his actions. Because I listened to that “little voice”, because I heard God; I was able to impact another person in a positive way.
To me this is an example of a God Moment! Why would I be out with another couple having a great time and want to text my old drinking buddy? What are the odds that he would be at the same game within 50 feet of our seats? I believe that God orchestrated that entire evening to his perfection, so that I could witness to a fellow believer who is in a different place in his walk with Christ. I was able to show my buddy that you can have fun at a hockey game without imbibing. I was able to take a person who many are too intimidated to stand up to and tell him to change his behavior. I was able to listen to God tell me to act.
Hearing God is not always a passive act. In 2 Corinthians 3:11-12 Paul tells us: So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. Quite often when you hear God, it will require your active response. Because this is uncomfortable for us, we often ignore or even disobey God. We stop listening to the “little voice” inside us and do what we want to do. Remember the journey from revelation to transformation is only 18″, but once you make that trip, you no longer live life on your own terms. You are to live a life in active participation with God.