(part 2 in a short series on discernment)
In part one I left us thinking about the question, does Holy Spirit (God) still speak to us today, and if so how?
If you have not read part one, I would ask that you do so before reading any further. Then return and keep reading.
John 10:27 “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We are the sheep. The word hear means “listen” or “comprehend by hearing.” and voice means, “a tone, saying or language.”
Voice recognition is not an invention of technology, at least not its true origin. What do I mean?
I bet there is someone you know or at least know of, that the moment you hear his or her voice you instantly know who that voice belongs to. Did someone just come to your mind? Who is it and what makes their voice so recognizable?
That is the original voice recognition in action, given to us by our Creator.
What if I told you that the voice of Holy Spirit is one of those “voices” you can recognize just as readily? Do you believe that it’s even possible to know Holy Spirit's voice? If not, why do you believe Spirit’s voice is not knowable?
Scripture reveals to us the nature and character of God. Hebrews 13:8 describes God this way; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
With that understanding and truth in mind, we read the red letters in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Jesus, as He was encouraging his disciples before the ascension, told them He must leave; if he did not go, the Helper (Holy Spirit) could not come to guide the sheep of His flock. Jesus left with His followers, his flock, his counselor and his voice.
I share with you a prayer I use frequently as I read the Bible:
“Holy Spirit, Helper sent by Jesus. Help to discern and understand what God has written to us. I pray my own interpretation gets set aside and I grow in hearing and understanding Your word as you intend for me too. In Jesus' name, Amen.”
I’m learning to answer two questions as I read scripture and seek to discern God’s leading within the words. (As a free side note, you can use these questions in other areas of life and learning - you’re welcome.)
(What does this passage mean? How does this impact my recovery & life?)
The first item that comes to mind is another question. Questions can be impactful because they prod us to think and reflect. They can probe into our hearts in ways a statement often does not.
If you wrestle with believing God still speaks to His children in a “tone” or that, still small voice most of having heard spoken of, why is that difficult for you to believe? Where did that belief come from?
As God challenged me with the once-held belief that the only way God speaks is through His Word, at a moment in time I asked God to let me hear Holy Spirit’s ‘voice’. And in a very powerful way, He spoke and I heard.
What’s keeping you from asking God the same question(s)?
The story around that first time is too long to share here. I’m happy to share it with you if you wish to know. I can tell you with certainty, it transformed my relationship with Jesus Christ and the Helper.
Experiencing this deeper relationship with God the Father through His Spirit has also positively impacted my relationship with my wife, children, and now grandchildren.
The gift of discernment God has graciously given to me is also enhanced. It’s for His glory and for the work of ministry He’s called me to. Not for personal gain.
(What do I do with this teaching? How do I apply this in my life?)
I believe at this point you have two primary choices. Depending upon which answer you choose will point you to the next step or more.
You can disregard what I’ve written regarding the hearing of God’s voice through Holy Spirit or at least consider that it is possible and seek God in that possibility.
Even as I share what I believe Scripture teaches us. What I have experienced and what others have shared with me, I fully realize I cannot impart this belief to you. Holy Spirit can.
If you are at least willing to entertain that Holy Spirit has a voice that can be heard, I would encourage you to begin with prayer. God is patient beyond measure and can handle your honest doubts. Lord literally knows I’ve shared a pile of doubts with Him.
I’m also realizing that when I say voice, I need to clarify the term, voice. Our thoughts tend to have a “tone of voice” or sound to them. Most can agree on this, I believe.
As an example. If you think of the voice of someone you know, as you do you can “hear it in your mind," right? We can picture in our mind's eye, and see that person saying what comes to our mind.
In the same way, I can now recognize Holy Spirit's voice in my mind, or in my thoughts. He has a very distinct, firm, and yet gentle tone. I’m not saying I’ve seen Holy Spirit, yet as scripture describes Him to us I’m, by God’s enabling, able to know Him by His tone of voice.
One of the main points for writing this short series is to help you connect with God in a deeper way. For those on a recovery journey and Transformation Pathway I believe this to be a powerful resource of God as you move forward. Especially during those very hard days and times.
I close in reminder of the nature and character of God. Hebrews 13:8 describes God this way; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”