Monday, March 23, 2015

Hearing God Begins with Belief: Part 1 of 5

My relationship with God has become more conversational in the past few months. I do not claim to hear direct, verbal revelation from God on a regular basis. Nor would I be too comfortable to keep company with the man or woman who regularly states, "God told me." Nevertheless, I have a growing conviction that God is near. He knows my name. He attends my prayers. And I hear His voice.

One cannot hear God if one does not believe God is speaking. Sadly, belief in a silent God seems more common than belief in the speaking God. Many authors have challenged our belief in a mute God and it's ramification. I list three short quotes below as examples.

Dallas Willard wrote in Hearing GodHow lonely life is! Oh, we can get by in life with a God who does not speak. Many at least think they do. But it is not much of a life, and it is certainly on the life God intends for us or the abundant life Jesus Christ came to make available.

A.W. Tozer wrote in The Pursuit of GodThe whole bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking... The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

Calvin Miller wrote in The Table of InwardnessGod is not just an ear but also a voice. If he never speaks, is it safe to assume that he ever listens? A mute God is soon absent.

But more comforting than these authors and their conviction in a conversational God, is the exemplary life and teaching of Jesus. A running dialogue with His Heavenly Father fueled His victorious life. The Gospel of John not only makes this divine conversation explicit - Father I thank You that You have heard Me and you always do (11:41-42); I speak what the Father tells me (12:29) - but John illustrates that the conversation is open. 

Jesus invites His followers to hear His voice, like the friend hears the Bridegroom (3:29), like the sheep hear their Shepherd (10:3, 4, 16, 27). Hearing the voice of God brings life (5:24, 25, 28) - full of comfort, security, guidance, and love (10:10, 28).

The invitation to hear Jesus has a single contingency: We must believe (10:25-26). He speaks today. Are you listening?
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Tomorrow I'll discuss three additional challenges to hearing God.

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