One thing that has occupied my mind lately is this thought: "How do I know I'm hearing from God?"
I know that many will say, well just read His Word and you'll hear from God. This is very true, but I think I want to take it a step further. Reading God's Word and Hearing God's Voice seem connected but unique. Almost like the Trinity, one God in three unique persons.
The voice of God is a mix of the presence of God, the heartbeat of God and what I would call the nudge of God. It's the calm assurance that when a decision needs to be made and the Scriptures don't tell you with clarity what to do about that specific situation, that you lean on your understanding of the principles of God's story found in the Bible, you make sure you have an unobstructed connection with Jesus, and then you trust your conscious & God's Spirit to guide you in the application of those aforementioned realities. Not an easy answer, but one that I find is closer to the truth than "God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it for me." So true, but so insufficient in helping me discern God's will in a conversation with someone that is complicated. So inept to give you the practical hand holds and foot holds you need to navigate the situational ethics of a multi-layered conflict.
This is where God's voice is imperative for me. It never contradicts what God has said in his Word, but it does elaborate on the actionable steps that need to be taken in a unique situation. Sensing God's tugging and his whisper is crucial. Asking for him to speak into your heart before a meeting makes all the difference in the world. Hearing him say, "Wait before you say that." or "Ask them this question." or "What they said isn't truly what they feel." or "You're not actually hearing what they're saying, listen more deeply." or "Don't let them leave before you address what I've laid on your heart." Things like this are what I mean when I talk about hearing his voice.
I can think of several other whispers of God:
"What are you so angry about right now?"
"Where did that thought come from?"
"Take the conversation this direction."
"Stand up for yourself right now."
"Say you're sorry."
"Don't take that personally, something else is going on behind the scenes."
"When are you going to stop worrying about that?"
"Why won't you trust me right now?"
"Stay in the conversation a little longer."
"That word they just said is the key to this conversation."
"You're a people-pleaser. It's time to confront them."
"Why aren't you taking your day off?"
"Read that passage again and this time think about ______ while you do?"
"Why did that affect you so much?"
"Help them out...this isn't an enabling situation."
"Don't back down...stand your ground."
"Swallow your pride...and back down."
"You need to get away from the situation to see it clearly."
"Trust me, I won't let you down."
"I love you, even if you think you've bombed."
God's Word doesn't say any of these things...and yet it does, in not so many words. God's voice is what translates His Words into something that makes sense in "our moment". If we don't cultivate the ears to hear what God is saying to us, we will function in the flesh. No if's, and's or but's about it. God said, "My sheep hear my voice." We know the shepherd of our souls, the husband of our hearts so well that when he speaks, we know His sound and tone like we know our own parent's or children's voices in a crowd. We know when our child is crying out of a playground of 50, we know when our parent is calling our name out of a room full of 200...we know the voice.
The longer I live the more I realize the need to hear God's voice. To stay so in tune with him that even when I don't have the time to open my Bible and find a passage that talks about my present need, I lean toward God and His Spirit guides me into all truth. He makes sense of a moment and gives me the words to say or the decision to make or the question to ask. On the spot.
That's what I'm talking about...an "on-the-spot" God that joins you in the journey and whispers audibles to you right in the fat middle of a moment. He doesn't wait for your quiet time, he comes to you when it's "go time" and speaks a word "right in the nick of time."
You need this in friendship, marriage, parenting, relationships, decisions, and momentous moments that don't give you time to prep a speech or a thesis. You need God's friendship that comes through His Spirit's fellowship to speak to you in ways and with words that make it so you don't "lean on your own understanding" but instead to "acknowledge him" letting him "direct your paths".
Not sure if I'm making sense to many people who are reading this, but I'm finding this distinction to be a matter of life and death in the daily grind of my days. His voice is the difference between success and failure, life and death, grace and truth, me or God, instincts or precepts. And sometimes, you don't get a "do-over" so it's essential to abide with Jesus, and to let him abide with you.
Jesus, speak to me in my mundane moments. I will not lock you into a quiet time. You are free to talk to me whenever you'd like..."all the" time.