God is a loving father. Therefore you will sometimes hear Him tell you things which you may not want to think about. Ultimately He will help you to see your real self. You will probably become more aware of your inner thoughts, your REAL inner thoughts...those which remind you of your self-pity, anger, envy or self-righteousness. God has a way of revealing your inner character, not to condemn you, but rather to help you initiate Godly change. Confronting your own weaknesses allows you to rely on the Lord's power and grace to help you change. In the process of change, comes transformation and transformation allows us to become more patient and grace filled with others because we are more aware of own shortcomings. Often God will ask you to look closely at yourself when you are in the midst of being angry or unhappy with other people in your life.
While the thought of having to confront your own weaknesses may sound unappealing, you will discover that Jesus has a wonderful way of revealing your faults while also continually reminding you of His constant love and desire to be with you. His voice will be gentle and comforting. His reminder of your flaws will be filled with compassion as He helps you understand why your behaviors hurt you or others. He offers you His strength and support and you know you can turn to Him when you find yourself caught up in those negative behaviors or thoughts.
Matthew 11:28-30 tells us:
28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When you are listening for the voice of God, be open to hear what HE has to say. Ultimately we hope to become more like Him in order to shine His light onto others and to personally experience the peace He offers . A simple recap on one of the ways to discern the voice of God is;
when you find yourself hearing a gentle voice telling you to honestly look at your innermost thoughts and desires, and your negative tendencies become vividly apparent, it is probably God's way of urging you to turn to Him for comfort and the beginning of transformation.
Next post we will talk about how God challenges us.
Discerning the Voice of God
What a dilemma we put ourselves in! We pray, we hear a voice or sense something out of the ordinary, and instead of trusting God, we find ourselves doubting whether God can or is responding to us, and then we wonder whether it is simply our own voices running through our mind. You are not alone! At some point we all do that, but rest assured you are in good company! Take a minute to read 1 Samuel 3:2-10 .
I find it both interesting and comforting to know that Samuel, a great prophet of the Old Testament, did not recognize the voice of the Lord when he first heard Him speak. Perhaps you, like Samuel do not recognize the Lord's voice when He speaks to you.
There is a download on the sidebar entitled " 10 ways to Discern the Voice of God" (please look at that when you have a moment.). Today we will discuss the first three on that list and in the next few weeks, we will continue.
First let me tell you that Jesus is not going to sit right in front of you and tell you the things he wants you to know, but He will use your mind, which He created to speak words of truth to you. Remember,ultimately the only way God CAN speak to you is through your mind. So let's begin to figure out how you can become familiar with His voice.
(#1, 2 and 3 go hand in hand.)
#1. You hear or sense something that YOU never would have thought of on your own.
This is important because we are often seeking answers when we pray. Many times our so-called solutions are not practical at all, but rather solutions which are ultimately designed to benefit ourselves. When you truely turn to the Lord, you may immediatly find wonderful solutions which had never occured to you or you may discover unlikely (or unwelcome!) answers or solutions. The Lord will show you His way. While sometimes His ways are hard to accept or understand, in the long run you will most likely be pleasantly surprised by His wisdom!
#2. The words are spoken with love and gentleness.
God will not speak harshly to you. Even when He is telling you things you do not want to hear, He does it with a gentle hand and heart. (I have found this to be a wonderful lesson in humility). He has a way of letting you know that while you may have disappointed Him, or done something wrong, He still loves you dearly. You will begin to know and sense that He is with you and will continue to be with you as you follow His course.
#3 The words are truthful.
God will ONLY speak truth to you. He will NEVER say something to you that is against His will. This is clearly one way to distinguish between the words of the Lord and the words of Satan. Without getting into another topic I would simply suggest that when you open yourself up to hear the Lord, you should remember that the prince of this world would like nothing more than to interfere and distract you from drawing closer to Jesus.
Remember that while you may not like everything the Lord asks you to do, ultimately, in your heart, you will know they are things which are morally correct and filled with grace, compassion and love. That is His way. He does not deviate from His character.
Finally, for today, I would simply encourage you to trust the Lord. He can and will speak to you in some way if you patiently wait and believe in His power and understand His deep desire to be in a relationship with you.
In the next week, if you hear His voice or sense His presence, enjoy it. Believe it. Trust it. Stop analyzing and questioning everyting. Allow Him to be with you and allow Him to guide you. You will be so surprized at what you begin to discover!
Last week we discussed the importance of finding a place to quiet your mind. It is in this place where you can learn to discover the Lord's presence in your life. If you tried the excercise last week, you most likely will have discovered how alive your senses can be while using your imagination. Generally people find themselves feeling relaxed and calm when they allow themselves to rest in their "quiet place"
If you regularly practice quieting your mind, you will find it easier and easier to quickly "get" to this place. Once you are comfortable with relaxing and enjoying the images, you can simply invite Jesus to join you or ask Him to allow you to feel His presence. While asking Jesus to join you may help you to become better positioned to look for Him or listen for His voice, the reality is that too often all of us forget the Lord is already with us all the time. The problem is not that He has left us, or He does not understand what we are going through or what we are feeling; the problem is that WE have forgotten the Holy Spirit LIVES within us and is ALWAYS with us. Therefore one of the benefits of quieting our minds and becoming aware of our senses is that it allows us to begin to experience the reality of the Lord's presence in our daily lives.
There is no magic formula or any specific way to ask the Lord to make His presense real for you. I can only suggest you speak from your heart. Perhaps you may want to simply ask Him to let you feel His presence, or maybe you will choose to ask Him if there is something He wants you to know. Maybe He needs you to confront something that is uncomfortable for you, or maybe He just wants you to feel the peace He offers by just being with Him.
It doesn't matter. What matters is that you are waiting on Him and eagerly looking forward to forming and/or enhancing your relationship with Him. If you are committed to listening and waiting, I am certain you will begin to not only feel His presence, but you will begin to recognize His voice.
All of this leads to one of the most common questions pertaining to prayer and "listening". That question is: "If I hear something, how will I know if it is God?" Next week we will discuss "Discerning the voice of God".
The following comment was posted after last week, and I felt it was important enough to share the response in case anyone else had the same question. Here was the question:
When you say that we are to ask God to meet our needs when they are not being met by the people we love, it sounds like you're saying that we're to look to people first to meet our needs and go to Him second.
First I want to thank you for your comment. I always appreciate feedback. I did not mean we should first look to people to meet our needs and then go to God if that doesn’t work out.
We should first look to God to meet our needs in this world, to recognize our ultimate worth and to realize as much as we are able; just how much He loves us. Realizing how much we are loved and valued by Him will ultimately MEET OUR MOST PRESSING NEED as God fills the void in our being which longs for that special love only He can provide.
However God created marriage and families. Friendships evolved out of His creation. We are surrounded by relationships and in our marriages, friendships and even in our work environments we grow to depend on people to
help us through life issues. Our immediate families are generally the ones we hope and expect to support us emotionally and physically and to be there through the ups and downs of life. We do look to people to help us meet our needs but that is secondary to turning to Jesus in order to allow Him to meet our ultimate needs.
In a perfect world, relationships would model the character of Christ and surround us with grace, and love.
However inasmuch as we live in a fallen world, relationships tend to disappoint us at times. Some of those disappointments are due to unrealistic expectations we have of people in our lives. Others are simply due to selfish motives or characteristics. Too often we tend to forget that WE disappoint people in our lives as well. As good as any
relationship may be, we must remember we are all sinful. Therefore none of us can be selfless enough on a regular basis to meet all the needs of another person. Our families or friends can not and will not always make us happy.
It is in those moments when we find ourselves disappointed by people we love, that we need to turn to Christ.
When we have been hurt by someone, or are angry at someone’s actions, or feeling overwhelmed, unsupported or unloved, turning to Jesus allows us to gain a clearer perspective on things. Turning to the Lord will remind us that our basic needs can ultimately only be met by Him, who truely loves us unconditionally.
If you purposefully find the time to be silent and wait to see what His response will be, I believe you will discover some degree of patience , grace and understanding for those people who have disappointed you. You may discover some of your own accountability in the event but ultimately you will KNOW and FEEL that despite anything that happened, Jesus is RIGHT THERE FOR YOU and RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.
When you can learn to run into the arms of Jesus whenever life and people are getting you down, or when you feel completely overwhelmed, you will begin to discover a freedom that I do not think is available to you anywhere EXCEPT in the presence of our Lord.
Join us and EXPERIENCE Jesus as you never have before!
I believe there is nothing in this world which can more positively impact or change our lives than a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
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