Today we look at the main way we have to see whether we are listening to God’s voice or our own: the Bible. Everything we do should be filtered through the lens of Scripture (and every word we hear from a preacher, Bible teacher, television or radio expositor or blogger should also be filtered through the Bible).
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 (ESV)
The “spirit” can include your own fleshly desires! And when you come to test those spirits, don’t try to find your answer in the Bible based on what you want. Study! Read more than one verse – if you have a cross reference Bible, look up those verses that are in teeny tiny print in the center column or on the side. People have made the Bible say what they want for years by taking verses and phrases out of context.
… be diligent to present thyself approved to God--a workman irreproachable, rightly dividing the word of the truth, and the profane vain talkings stand aloof from, for to more impiety they will advance, and their word as a gangrene will have pasture. 2 Tim 2:15-17 (YLT)
When you are asking God for a word, come humbly and ask Him to show you what HE wants you to see. God’s Word will speak if you are willing to listen!
I was once going through a stressful ordeal. My first instinct was to get up and run around like the proverbial headless chicken. It is my habit to read my Bible before I begin my workday or even a day off, and this is what I read that day.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Psalms 3:3-6 (ESV)
Based on that passage, I decided to do nothing on my day off but pray and rest (I had never really noticed the phrase “lay down and slept” before and it really jumped off the page). I rested in the Lord that day and whenever my problem came to my mind, I cried aloud to God. I rested on the promises of this passage. No one knew of my problem. The very next day all of my problems were solved through Divine intervention. If I left my house, made calls, did research, searched for ways to get around the problem or even talked to another human being, my problem would still have been solved because God is faithful, and I may have received some glory because of the way I handled the problem. Since I did none of that, it was evident that the problem was solved through God’s intervention alone and He received the glory.
I don’t necessarily suggest that you spend a day in bed praying and resting, but if a passage jumps out at you when you’re discussing something with God, you need to look at it and see if that is His answer!
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to hear God speak directly through Scripture, I’d love to hear your story. It is encouraging to hear what God does through the pages of His Word.
On Friday, we’ll discuss the other ways that you can begin to know that God is speaking to you. Have a blessed remainder of the week.