I joined Youth With A Mission about 20 years ago last month. I had no idea what I was getting into back then but very quickly I learned the whole mission is built on hearing God's voice.
This was a new concept for me since up to that point I had been taught aside from God's written word, God only said "yes, no, or wait" and that didn't leave many options. You had to be asking all the right questions and this way of thinking left most of the responsibility on the individual to study the word of God in order to know what was required.
I still think the word of God is vital to hearing God well, but my understanding is much richer and deeper than it was back then.
I now believe and understand God speaks today to His people. His sheep hear His voice and they won't follow the voice of a stranger(John 10). I've also heard many stories of God speaking to people who don't know Him yet...and I see that God doesn't work within the boxes I tend to create for him.
One of the other values with hearing God clearly I quickly learned was this idea of Lordship. Who has rule and reign in your life and mine? Who is managing the day to day affairs of your life? Have you yielded or submitted them to God?
Do you trust Him enough to do that?
Getting to know God is a part of Lordship, too. If I realize God is good and has my best intentions in mind, then I will know He understands the best way for me to live. If I believe He created me, then He will know what is the best way I will flourish. I will trust Him to direct my life and speak into every decision.
I used to struggle with the word 'submission.' I used to called it the 'S" word because I am essentially a control freak. I think you are, too. Haven't you heard? There are two kinds of people in this world: those who know they are controlling and those who don't know they are controlling (smile).
I want to be in control of where I go and what I do. I think I know which way to go and what to pray and what is the right thing in most situations. My natural inclination is not to say your will be done... but my will be done... I have had to learn how to pray the way Jesus prays and to really mean it because I've come to understand my life is not my own. To say my life belongs to God may sound like a prison to you but I've come to see it as true freedom. There is no better way to live.
But at the time I was struggling...
These YWAM'er were telling me God knows best who I should marry and where I should live and what occupation I should have... and I should trust God.
It's important to remember that hearing God is essentially about relationship. How am I relating to God? This is another thing I learned in YWAM... is the importance of understanding the nature and character of God. We stress knowing God in the place of worship... seeing Him in all his beauty and majesty as well as in His amazing compassion toward us...
Getting to know God in the place of worship helps us to WANT to submit to Him. When we have an encounter with the living God as Isaiah did when the train of God's robe filled the temple(Isaiah 6), our response is naturally "Here I am! Send me!" Obedience becomes an act of love we gladly surrender to.
Lordship is important because if I am asking God to speak to me, I want to be ready to listen and definitely willing to obey Him.
If I ask God to speak and yet I am unwilling to obey Him, why would he speak to me? Also, why would he want to incur more curses that follow disobedience into my life?(Deuteronomy 28). Sometimes God is not speaking to us because we haven't done the last thing He asked us to do. He is waiting for us to obey the last thing He shared with us.
God wants to speak to us but He also wants us to realize He died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for Him.(2 Cor 5:15). Are you living for Him?
Josephus was a historian and scholar at the time of Jesus and he often used the word "repent" in his writings. This word was not necessarily a Christian word but used in political writings at the time. It essentially meant, "Give up your agenda..."
My question for you and for me is, Have you given up your agenda for your life? Have you repented and given control of your life to God?
And if this seems hard and heavy, why don't you get to know Him better? Ask God for a revelation of His great love or meet Him in the place of worship. He loves you and He wants to show you how very good He is.
There is a level of obedience God is calling his church to. I sense it in the air. I sense it in the winds of change currently blowing through the church. Our response will be to say "Whenever, wherever, however... Your will be done, not mine."