“How do I know when God is speaking to me?”
This is the question I find most students are asking when they first come to do a DTS. I totally get it. This is a concept that a lot of Christians still don’t quite understand, especially in the western world. I hear testimonies after testimonies of youths who grew up in a Christian home but have never experienced a true relationship with the Father. I believe our society has ignored one key and critical concept. RELATIONSHIP. Think about someone you are very close to. It could be a best friend, your parents, your spouse, or anybody else you spend a significant amount of time with. I am 100% sure you could depict their voice from a stranger. You know their mannerisms. You know the tone of their voice. You know when they are feeling happy, excited, angry, or disappointed all based on their voice and what they are saying to you. When you accepted Christ into your life, this was the beginning of that relationship. The more you listen, the more you can understand and KNOW when He is speaking to you.
So how to start? You have made the best decision you could EVER make in your life: To accept Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior. You are totally about to have the most fulfilled life living with Jesus.
1) Understand WHO God is
God is personal. He is longing for intimacy with us. He does not need our affection. He WANTS it. He wants US. He wants to spend time with you. He so desires to be with you because He loves you more than anybody ever could. True, intimate relationships are about selflessly laying down your life for someone else. God is not controlling. He does not have identity issues. He desires for his children to understand His heart for them. Spending time in His presence should not feel like a chore. Spending time with your best friend is not a chore, right? If it is, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate who your best friends are. Healthy relationships are meant to bring life and joy! God is a FATHER. He is a BEST FRIEND. He is a LOVER. Most of us have this idea growing up as children that God is only some huge, invisible, crazy ruler up in the sky looking down at the Earth ready to punish you every time you disobeyed your parents. Let’s WIPE AWAY that worldview. He passionately desires a relationship with you.
2) Read the Bible
Ok, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Reading the bible is a great way to get to know God’s heart, and many times He speaks to us through a story, or a scripture already laid out in the word. Any situation in the Bible can keep applying to ALL of us, even in our current generation. That is why it is called the LIVING word. God’s words laid out in scripture will never change, and He will never contradict himself. God speaks all the time through His scriptures. You don’t have to be a bible scholar to gain wisdom from reading the word! Take time to understand the scriptures you are reading, and how God speaks to the people written in the bible. Starting out by reading and understanding the 4 gospels are great ways to understand God’s character. If you are ever wondering what God is like, look at the man of Jesus! Jesus perfectly reflected God’s character on earth. Reading His teachings reveals God’s heart for so many things.
‘’For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’’ (Hebrews 4:12)
3) Learn to Listen
Listening definitely does not come easy for a lot of people. Listening is a habit that takes time to develop. If you learn to be still and really listen to what God is saying, I promise, so much will be revealed to you. Yes, God DOES want us to come to Him and talk. He wants us to ask Him for things, and to tell Him what is in our hearts. But remember, relationships are not one-sided. Practice meditating on what God is saying to you! He has always been speaking, it is our job to learn how to listen. Again, it takes time spent in the throne room. It takes spending quality time with Him, and just being there. It takes taking captive your own thoughts and distractions. It takes silencing our phones for a bit and setting our eyes on Jesus. It takes replacing all these things with the hunger and desire to really know God. We have to get to know Him to understand what His voice sounds like. Sometimes it is hard to listen to God when we have sins in our lives that we have not dealt with. Feeling clouded with shame totally messes with our heart and mind. Shame is NOT from God. It is important to be convicted and to come to God with repentance so we can allow Him to take the burden off our shoulders. If we seek Him, he gives us the strength to stay strong when we are faced with another temptation. Through Him, we are forgiven, and understanding this truly allows so much room to grow closer to God!
God is always speaking. He is always communicating to us. Whether it is a small and still voice, through dreams or visions, through situations or other people, or through His word. There are so many ways He loves to talk to us. It is our job to be willing to listen and be open to what He is saying. Living a life with God is so precious. Keep seeking Him, and you will start to notice He is speaking to you constantly!
Ally (Tennessee, USA) is currently enrolled in the Ministry and Leadership Development School here at YWAM Lausanne and is serving in our communications department
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