Hearing His Voice Part 2

Given that we are called to hear His voice, how do we do that? A better question might be, ‘How have we done that?’ If we are His sheep then He has been speaking to us. I invite you to set aside some time to sit and reflect on how Jesus speaks to you and how He has spoken to you in the past? I don’t know what your list will look like, as we are each called to a unique relationship with Him. For illustration purposes below are some ways He has spoken to me over the years.

–      Scripture (This is for me the most important method. It may be verses or passages He highlights or a ‘sudden understanding’ of a passage or verse.)

–      Impressions (A sense to call someone or pray for them, their face may suddenly come to mind. Looking at someone and knowing their need or the calling on their life – this is very common for me. This are often a call to prayer/intercession.)

–      Dreams (For myself or others.)

–      Signs (Messages on billboards, road signs or messages on vehicles that come with a sense of His presence resting on the message.)

–      Birds (Types or behaviour.)

–      Numbers (Some numbers have great significance in my life and Jesus has highlighted them in a great variety of ways.)

My purpose in providing the above list is to highlight both the variety of ways the Holy Spirit may speak to us and the need to recognize when He is speaking. Once we believe He is speaking to us an important component is discerning what to do with the message. There are three aspects to a message – Revelation, Interpretation and Application.

In the above examples the revelation would be the scripture passage, the dream, the impression, etc. The next step is interpreting what the message means and then how we apply it. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us we do not always know what to do with what He has spoken to us. That is intentional on the Lord’s part because we are parts of a body and He wants us to learn to depend on one another. Paul illustrates this in 1 Corinthians.

26  How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27  If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28  But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 1 Corinthians 14:26-29 (NKJV)  

So when we receive something form the Holy Spirit a general practice should be to share with others that we have a trust relationship with to determine how to interpret and apply it. This deepens our relationships and our spiritual understanding and we grow in the process, which means by extension that His body is maturing through hearing His voice.

Hearing His Voice Part 1

In our busy culture how do we find time to hear God’s voice? We don’t. Though ‘finding time’ is a common expression in our culture do you know anyone who has found time laying around in the street or forgotten somewhere by someone else? Recently at work I went to use the washroom and to my surprise found a very nice cell phone in the stall. The previous occupant must have been trying to ‘find time.’

What does wisdom tell us about time? We need to set priorities with the time Yahweh has given us. One thing that has become clear to me over the years is that what we can easily discern what we truly value by how we spend our time. It would be even clearer if our bank accounts were revealed and others saw where our money went. Our true values are expressed in how we invest our time and money.

If I put all of my activities in my calendar for others to examine I hope they would find that I value my relationship with Jesus, my family and other relationships, health/exercise, and the outdoors. These things are not always in the balance I would like but that is the balance I seek to maintain by paying attention to how I invest my time. Yes, time has been given to us as a resource to invest in the bank of the present for a return on our investment in eternity.

Given that the Holy Spirit sees our real calendars, what would a dialogue with Him about our schedules sound like?

In examining time and schedules one way we are called to invest our time is in hearing His voice. This truth is plainly evident in the scriptures and below are a few examples with some portions emphasized. In John 10 Jesus began His teaching describing how natural sheep respond to the voice of their shepherd then applied it to Himself as the our Shepherd.

16  And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:16

(NKJV) 27  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 (NKJV)

8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NKJV)

14  For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it. 15  In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, 16  Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. Job 33:14-16 (NKJV)

Given that He wants to speak to us there are two questions;

  1. Are we listening?
  2. How do we train our hearts to hear?

A Throne’s Foundation

It is easy to see that the visible part of a house needs something supporting it, a foundation. In a similar manner other things need something supporting them. For example, a throne holds up a ruler, but what holds up the throne, not the literal throne but the right to rule? The answer is of course found in the scriptures. The scriptures describe the foundation of Yahweh’s throne. Have you ever considered what constitutes this foundation?

14  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14 (NKJV)

Yahweh’s throne is built upon righteousness and justice because they are manifestations of His character. We live in a tumultuous time in the earth and we need His righteous and justice manifest in our lives, homes and communities to walk through what is coming upon the earth. To walk in righteousness and justice requires wisdom. Proverbs 8 is the wisdom chapter and tells us something very interesting about wisdom.

1  Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2  She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. 3  She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: 4  “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5  O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.” Proverbs 8:1-5 (NKJV)

20  I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, Proverbs 8:20 (NKJV)

Wisdom is accessible and crying out for our attention. What is most interesting is that we find that in the very things that are the foundation of Yahweh’s throne, wisdom is found. There walking about with righteousness and justice is wisdom.

So when we pursue righteousness and justice we encounter wisdom. The qualifier is that it is righteousness and justice from Yahweh’s perspective. We live in a time where much that passes for justice is simply misguided sentimentality. When we choose to not do the right thing because someone may feel bad or be offended we are no longer exercising justice and righteousness and by extension are not demonstrating wisdom. The scriptures must be our standard, not our feelings or reasoning.

Knowing that to walk in righteousness and justice requires wisdom it is helpful to hear from Proverbs and 1 Corinthians.

33  Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known. Proverbs 14:33 (NKJV) 30  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV)

If wisdom rests in the heart of those with understanding, and if Jesus became our wisdom from God then walking with Jesus should produce righteousness and justice. When we embrace righteousness and justice our behaviour becomes aligned with Yahweh’s thrones and thus His kingdom.

Enjoy your walk.

The Law of the Spirit of Life

So given that we have the Law of the Spirit of Life in Jesus how does it work? If we reflect on laws we discover that while laws are put in place they need to be enforced. The speed limit, parking laws, the criminal code, all require enforcement. What about gravity and the speed of light? Yes they too require enforcement and the scriptures tell us how they are enforced. Jesus is both the source of these laws and the one who enforces them. They are built into creation.

1  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4  having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 (NKJV)

15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:15-18 (NKJV)

Do you see the enforcement of gravity and other laws in the passages above? For example, there is a little phrase in Hebrews 1:3 “upholding all things by the word of His power.” Some translations say ‘powerful word’ but I believe miss the point. The Greek meaning of ‘word’ in the phrase above speaks to a present and ongoing release and could be translated as ‘u[holding all things by the utterance of His power.’ The point being made in Hebrews is that everything we see in the physical realm is held together by the ongoing release of Jesus power! Colossians 1:17 tells us that “in Him all things consist.” He made all things, visible and invisible. The universe, angels, everything. In in Him they ‘consist’ or are ‘held together.’ Jesus continually enforces the laws He built into creation by His ongoing life and presence.

The word ‘firstborn’ in verse 15 above refers to position or standing, not birth order. Jesus has the ultimate authority, which takes us back to the ‘law of the Spirit of life’ in Him. How is it activated in our lives? The answer is simple but difficult. Simple to say, sometimes hard to do.

2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

Another aspect of law is that some aspects of the legal system have authority over others. A higher court can overturn the ruling of a lower court. This is how the ‘law of the Spirit of life’ functions. It takes precedence over the law of sin and death. Imagine dropping a ball. The law of gravity takes over and it drops to the floor. However, if you put your hand under it and catch it you cancel the effect of the law of gravity.

In a similar manner the law of the Spirit of life can interrupt and negate the effects of the law of sin and death. It is issued by the highest court, the heavenly one! However, for it to be effective in our life we must believe it. If we focus on the power of His life in us rather than on the power of sin and death we find ourselves increasingly walking in freedom. After all, what we focus on grows. What are we giving our energy and attention to?