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Strategies for Tuning Into God's Voice

Let’s face it folks… This work is tough! It’s emotionally draining and most of us wear many different hats both in the office and at home. As the work piles and the fiery darts fly, we need to be intentional about prioritizing what’s in front of us. But that can be so difficult to do, when everything we seek to accomplish at the center is important.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought now was the perfect time to remind you that it all starts with prioritizing the God, through whom all good things flow. One of my favorite pastors says “You can’t run a steam locomotive on a puddle of muddy water.” So, in this at article, I will lay out some strategies for tuning into God’s voice so you can be filled from His streams of living water and purify that puddle you may be trying to get by on. We will start with a couple scriptural examples.

  • Moses' Example: Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. Exodus 33:7

  • Jesus' Example: Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Mark 4:45-46

As you can see, in both examples, Jesus and Moses were intentional and got away, out of their normal environment, with the sole purpose of hearing from God. Now let’s look at some strategies and how to steps you can take to hear from Him.

Posture Strategies:

Go to a quiet place and posture yourself to listen. This might be a room with a closed door, out in nature or soaking in a relaxing bath. Just make sure it is free of distractions like people, TV, pets, and work-related items. It may even help to put on some quiet instrumental, ambient or soaking music.

  • Remove your unrealistic expectations. It's also important to note that we must remove our expectations of how God will speak and what He will say. He may speak through the Word, an impression in your mind, nature, dreams, people, circumstances, and however He wants. We should not attempt to limit a limitless God with our expectations.

  • Stop talking, rest, and wait upon the Lord. If we are talking so much that he can't get a word in, how will we ever hear what He is trying to say? If we have a "hurry up God" mentality, this disrespectful attitude doesn't deserve to hear what the King of the Universe has to say. Right? But, if we would posture ourselves in humility, removing that part of ourselves that is prepared to bargain or demand, then we will be ready to really hear, perceive and act.

  • Discern & distinguish His voice from others. There are 3 voices in your head. One of them always tells the truth, one of them always lies and one of them is swayed by feelings, past experiences, selfish motives and expected outcomes. If you haven't figured it out, the 3 voices are God's, Satan's and your own. Often, we get in our own way. We hear, we just don’t perceive or understand with clarity because we haven’t shut out the other voices. And just like our expectations complicate the posture of listening, they also disrupt the hearing.

  • Don’t expect that God has something specific to say. You may expect Him to correct you when all he wants to do is tell you how loved you are. You may expect Him to speak to you about a getting out of a problem but all He wants is to sing over you and draw you into worship. You may expect that you won’t hear, and guess what, you won’t. Your faith enables you to hear. So let go of expectations and let God speak, however, whenever, and whatever He wants.

Discernment Strategies:

  • Know His Voice: The more you read the word, the better you know Him. The more you know His true character, the more you are filled with His Spirit, the easier it is to discern His voice over others. John 10:27 says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

  • Know your Enemy: If you don't know your enemy's tactics, you won't be able to distinguish his lies from the truth. How do you study your enemy? Study the Word! 1 Peter 5:8 says “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

  • Know Yourself: Be willing to be humble and check your selfish attitudes at the door. Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to counsel.”

  • Stay Close: If you get far away, there is danger there. Not only that, but the relationship suffers and our ability to hear will not be clear. Psalm 27:5 says, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

Practice Strategies

My son's former karate teacher would say "Practice, Practice, Practice, leads to Mastery!” This is true in all things. Not just muscle memory. The Bible talks about this as well. Philippians 4:9 says, "The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

  • Find a comfortable, distraction free place to sit with a Bible and a journal in your lap. Visualize a peaceful place. Take deep breaths and focus on being with the Lord as you attempt to detach from your surroundings.

  • Pray “Oh Father God, I want to hear your voice. I need your guidance, your unfailing love and your amazing grace in my life. I want to go deeper with you. I want to know you more. Forgive me for talking more than I listen and for choosing my voice and the voice of others over Yours. Help me to hear what you are speaking but to also to understand with a new level of clarity. Enable me to obey and move fear far from me. I trust you Jesus. I choose to posture myself now with no other expectation but that You will be here with me. Come Holy spirit. Fill me up and if there is something I need to hear then, speak Lord, your servant listens”

  • Now listen. As you begin to hear from the word or in your heart, write those things in your journal. It may be a name, an idea, a prayer, some direction, whatever it is jot those items down. Don’t decide right away what is or isn’t the Lord’s voice. When listening time is over, take a look at what you have written and practice discerning what thoughts are yours, what is true vs lies, what God was trying to tell you. Measure it up against the word and what you know of God’s character then turn those things into prayer.

So, in the midst of life’s many demands, let us strive to listen, discern and faithfully follow the One who offers us unfailing love, guidance and grace upon grace. He is faithful to provide the answers you need and more importantly, rest for your soul.


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