By Greg Silverthorne
At the heart of growing spiritually is knowing this truth: Hearing Him availeth much. After one has begun their Christian walk in earnest, the ability to hear God’s voice lets them know they can progress to a higher level of Spiritual Growth.
Four stages of Spiritual Growth were offered in the first post in this series, namely:
- Seeing the Way
- Hearing Him
- Grasping God’s Greatness
- Walking in the Spirit.
In the second post of series, the following question was raised and addressed: Are You Spiritually Mature?
This final Growing Spiritually series’ post will focus on the 2nd Stage: Hearing Him. On spiritual growth, John MacArthur (highlighted in Part II of series) states that it “progresses from knowing that you are a Christian, to knowing the Word of God, to knowing God Himself.” In the highest level of growth, a Christian walks like a ‘father’ – having progressed from a ‘little child’.
Developing one’s spiritual ears is vitally important to moving smoothly through the 2 highest stages of growth. If you can’t hear him, how will you ever fully grasp what God offers – or be able to obey his instructions? To put it plainly, hear not, grow not. As I noted in the debut post of this series, “your level of growth is, in part, based on your ability, and desire, to discern his voice with ease. This ability will develop and get deeper as one continues to grow.”
Surely, no robust relationship with God can be developed if one can’t hear Him. If you grasp God’s greatness (Stage 3) you already know that hearing Him availeth much!
- I realized earlier this Fall how my own leap of Faith – joining the Gospel Choir at my church in 2009 – had transformed my spiritual ears. As a result of this step I’ve grown spiritually. Only recently did the full spiritual impact of being a choir member become obvious. After this epiphany, reading a Crosswalk.com article helped me more clearly understand what it means to hear God’s voice.
To give you a head start, I offer now several ways to develop your ability to hear God’s voice. Without this skill you’ll never fully grasp his greatness or develop a deep bond with God.
Ten Ways to Hear Him Well
- Bible – Leighann McCoy, in Hearing God’s Voice 101, notes: “God most often communicates with us through his word, the Bible. Because God most often communicates through his word, you need to read it. It doesn’t matter how living and active God’s word might be—if you don’t take time to read the Bible, you won’t benefit from the power of it. When you read the Bible, it is good to read for information and to learn more about God—but also to read for inspiration and to experience more of God.”
- Obey his word – Are you a ‘Word Obeyer’? As McCoy notes: “God tells you what to do, and then he waits patiently for your obedience before he says anything else. Many people suffer the silence of God because they refuse to respond to the prompting of his Spirit.” Reluctant doers may not be regular hearers. ‘Living the scripture’ and being obedient put a Christian in a position to hear from God a lot more than those who ignore his word. Please don’t be a ‘Word Ignorer’
How to Hear God’s Voice, written by Whitley Hopler, is the aforementioned article that I think you’ll find very helpful. Hopler, in her very informative report on Larry Kreider’s 2008 book, Speak, Lord, I’m Listening: How to Hear God’s Voice Above the Noise, offers many ways that a Christian can hear God’s voice. All the quotes, in the seven ways below, are from her report on Kreider’s book.
- Circumstances – While non-believers may call it serendipity, an abiding Christian should see that the timing of things may be divine, not just luck. “You can hear God’s voice through circumstances as He opens and closes doors of opportunity. The key, though, is to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than by the circumstances themselves. God will give you peace about His message and its timing if you check it out with Him.”
- Keeping a Journal – This blog you’re reading right now is a product, in part, of a Journal I started keeping to capture my thoughts in Spring 2012. Journalizing regularly is a powerful way to hear Him. “Writing down your thoughts in a journal, then reading the record, can help you understand more clearly how God may be speaking to you. Whenever you sense something that may be a message from God, write it down to preserve it.”
- Dreams – “God may speak to you through a dream, with a clear message and a specific purpose.”
- Visions – “Visions from God are experiences of intense imagery, sound, and feeling that happen when you’re awake and communicate important information.”
- God’s ‘still, small voice’ – “God often speaks directly to your spirit in quiet yet powerful ways that nudge you to pay attention. For example, He may urge you to pray for a particular person at a certain time. Rather than just expecting God to speak in dramatic ways, tune into the quiet voice of His Spirit amidst the noise of everyday life.”
- Taking ‘a step of faith’ – “Sometimes you have to take a step of faith toward something you think God is calling you to do before He will speak to reveal more about His will. Be willing to take that step.” As I noted in my very first post for this blog (and above), I took a leap of faith out of my comfort zone when I joined a choir at my church. I was no longer a passive ‘pew parker’! It’s amazing how taking a single God-directed step can dramatically impact how you see and hear Him.
- The ‘unique way God has made each of us’ – Hopler writes: “God will speak to you according to how He has uniquely wired you. His messages will tie into His unique purpose for your life. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s ways of hearing from God; simply seek Him yourself and trust the unique ways He speaks to you.”
Lastly, there is one other way that I feel a Christian can hear God’s voice. I discovered this about a month before the seed for this blog was sown in Spring 2012.
- Through other people – Have you ever had a situation that challenged you, and then -out of the blue- have a person say something that reveals ‘a way forward’? I have. It’s a common way to hear Him; it’s one that is often overlooked. Sometimes God has people cross your path to help you see something he wants you to see. In that, at times, the message is subtle, you need to be open to hearing such ‘messengers’. At times you might be a messenger for someone else.
A few resources that might help you fully leverage the power of hearing Him in your life are provided below. Do you know another resource to help Christians hear God better?
In closing, please consider meditating on the 4 words of this post’s title for 30 seconds: Hearing Him Availeth Much. The name of this faith strategy was inspired by the King James Version of a familiar Bible verse, James 5:16b:
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Pray to Him, effectually hear Him, and wholeheartedly trust Him.
If you do, I’m convinced that the purposeful plan He has for you will be manifested in your life. I hope this final series’ post, and the two earlier posts, have given you an insight or two on growing spiritually.
Grace, mercy, and peace.
- Whitney Hopler, How to Hear God’s Voice. A report (Crosswalk.com) on the practical applications of Larry Kreider’s book, Speak, Lord, I’m Listening: How to Hear God’s Voice Above the Noise.
- Larry Kreider, Speak, Lord, I’m Listening: How to Hear God’s Voice Above the Noise (2008, Regal Books).
- Leighann McCoy, Hearing God’s Voice 101 (July 2013, TodaysChristianWoman.com)