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.