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17 February, 2013

The Devotion of Hearing God

When it comes to hearing God, unfortunately there is no formula that anyone can use to get us to hear His voice in our hearts. Oswald Chambers said” The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing….. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions…… If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God.

Hearing His voice is completely supernatural. There is nothing man-made about it. The work has to be done by the Holy Spirit. If you read carefully what Oswald had written above, you find words like “close identification with Christ; united with Him; the devotion of hearing” these things comes solely from living a submitted life. I can see some of you rolling your eyes because you believe that the moment you become Christian whether you like it or not, you are united with Him. But, the truth is, God does not force us to remain united with Him. It is a lifestyle that we choose. It is an attitude of the heart and it is a disposition. If indeed you are living united with Him, then you would be deep in your day to day communication with Him and you are living a oneness that everyone who knows you long for. Then, this post is not for you.

Even if we do not have that close identification with Him, and living life day in day out in the spirit, you can still hear His voice in your heart once in a while. Like Oswald said in the February 13 devotion, “I can only hear God’s voice at certain times” that is true. When you hear God’s voice once in a while, you can be sure you are one of those who surrender on a “case by case basis” like Charles Stanley said in Intouch Magazine of September 2008. When we surrender on a case by case basis, we are much like king Asa in 2nd Chronicles. We see king Asa not only trusting in God, he also led his army to trust in Him as well. But we see him also not trusting God and decided to depend on himself and solicited the help of Ben-Hadad, king of Aram. He decided to trust his own judgement and depended on himself alone. As such, what he was afraid of had become his whole life and God confirmed it to him in the last part of 2 Chronicles 16:9 when He said: In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”  When we surrender on a case by case basis we do not live out nor do we have a God centered life. Those words Oswald Chambers have mentioned in his devotion, demand that we live a God centered life.

Please understand I am not trying to offend anyone.  And if you have to be upset, so be it, because it is the nature of the true Gospel. However, do not leave it alone. The very reason you are upset should be taken to God right away. Ask Him to help you decipher why you are offended by those words and what you can do about it. Be honest with Him, be open and be willing to hear from Him what is truly wrong. The nature of the Gospel demands a full surrender.  The reality of a life not centered on God, always leads to some kind of partial obedience, but a partial obedience is disobedience in God’s eyes. I myself, have very close family members that are dear to me, but they are unable to hear God all the time simply because they go through a period of time where they can surrender to God’s will and most of the time they surrender to their spouse’s will or the immediate need around them.

I know personally from experience that even when you live a complete surrendered life, if you are not totally immersed in Him, and you allow yourself to be distracted by the simplest thing, you find that the voice is faint and the communication is almost slanted. When I am there, I know that it has nothing to do with God, but my own heart. I also find that not being totally immersed in Him, you cannot have those awesome communication times where you can talk just like two friends. But, it is not an easy thing to look at ourselves and admit who we truly are and that we are failing Him.

Unconfessed Sins
Hearing God also involved living this life in a state where we do not keep unconfessed sins in our heart. When we have unconfessed sins, there is a disruption in the divine life within. When we are separated from His divine life, (oneness or abiding) it is not because His divine life is no longer in us, but it simply means we step away from Him and back to our old self.  I talked about this in my book Apprehended & Apprehending, the new nature He put in us, is where we live with Him as Christian and any time we do not live in the Spirit, well we are not living as Christians. We forfeit the new nature for the Adamic life. When you know what it means to live in His divine life, you understand why the tiniest sin, even the size of a dust stops you from re-entering the divine nature. It is too pure. We re-enter when we confess our sins with repentant heart, He washed us in the blood of the lamb once again and we are back in.

Lack of Obedience
Another requirement of hearing God is living a life of obedience. When we live life partially obeying God, we are like Pharoah. We let go when we feel we do not have a choice but as soon as we are free, we get back to being in control. What does it mean to live a life of obedience? This does not mean those who live the complete surrendered life do not disobey sometimes. But, like everything else in the Christian walk it is a disposition of the heart, it is an attitude and it is a way of life. If we know we have chosen to live a partial obedient life, (yes it is a choice we make whether knowingly or through a lack of choosing Him) then we are condemned to spend this life with some sort of partial hearing and partial oneness. We condemned ourselves to live like a caterpillar that had the transformation process started but the transformation process never finished as such the caterpillar not only never made it into a butterfly but also lives in a cocoon stage.

The bottom line is that to hear God we have to be tuned in the only radio station that broadcast His voice and too much spiritual garbage will act as static on the line.