The Narrow Gate – Hearing God Speak

Isaiah also records the promise of our God to speak to His true followers.  We find this in Isaiah 55, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live…Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near….”

Did you catch that?  “Incline your ear and come to me; listen so that you may live.”  Our God is inviting us to draw near to Him by listening for His speaking.  Some would argue that this means to listen to those who speak for our God, or to “listen” to the word of our God.  That is not what the Lord said here, and to assume that is to read into the scripture meaning that isn’t there in the words.  Drawing near to our God involves listening to Him.  The result of this drawing near and listening is that we will find our life.

Warnings:  Many people claim to hear the voice of our God but are really hearing their own desires, the voices of the world or the evil one.  Many a heresy has developed from the misguided process of ”hearing God speak” apart from the safeguards our Lord has put into place to protect us.  These safeguards are to protect from error in a conversational relationship with our God. They include these things:

  1. Love for our God above all other loves – this orients your life purpose and promotes an unselfish approach to the God relationship.
  2. Knowing Him intimately – this intimacy with our God is always draws us near to Him and sharpens our desire and devotion toward Him.
  3. Making time for daily conversational communion with Him – it is here that one develops the habits of a hearing heart.
  4. True faith, which is trust and obedience – Acting by trust and quickly obeying your God will lead to revelation from Him.  Revelation always follows obedience. 
  5. Absolute surrender in all things – the death of the self-life opens you to the life of your God lived in you in and produces a deep union and communion with Him. It is His life in us by His Holy Spirit that guides us into truth and away from error.
  6. Devotion to the Word of our God as the measure for all truth – to regularly search the Word of our God and to meditate upon it daily will transform your thinking and enliven you communion with Him. All that our God speaks to us will be in keeping with the scriptures.
  7. Submission and accountability to true koinonia fellowship with godly people who likewise are seeking our God – this accountability will sharpen your hearing and correct any errors.

In the absence of these safeguards, our hearing may easily be clouded by selfish motives, worldly desires, and evil interference.  Our communion with our God will get short shrift in our daily affairs. But as these practices grow in our daily living, we will begin to enjoy regular conversational communion with Him.

Peter writes about the nature of our New Covenant relationship with our God  in 1 Peter 2:3-4, “His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.”

We are participants in the divine nature of our God.  Notice the message here is not that we participate in His work or even His mission.  We participate in His very nature.  We participate in Him.

The most natural, sensible, and appropriate response to being partakers or participants of the divine nature of our God is to join into conversational communion with Him every day.  What if Jesus Himself came to stay with you at your house for a couple of weeks?  And what if, when He arrived, you spent only about fifteen minutes with Him most mornings and about an hour with Him on Sunday, and the rest of the time you left Him to fend for Himself?  Would that not seem totally ridiculous?  How much more so when we consider that He does not visit us daily, but lives within us continually.

So how can we entertain and engage with this divine inhabitant in our lives?

  1. We must decide that we will truly love our God as our first and highest love in this life.  He must become our magnificent obsession for this is His rightful place.
  2. We must choose to participate in His divine nature as our life and mission each day. 
  3. We must commit to unhesitating obedience in whatever He points out to us.  Revelation from our God always follows obedience.
  4. We must begin to live in full surrender to Him. The unsurrendered life cannot fully engage with our God.
  5. We must turn to Him often in conversation.  Just like if Jesus were walking side by side with you in every event and action of your day.
    • Speak together as you walk, work, drive, and transition.
    • Confess anything that you need to confess – simply level with Him about any sin or selfish motive, and any fear or reluctance.
    • Repent of all self-dependence and anything that might be an obstacle to your unconditional love.
  6. Create silence in your life, and fight to keep it sacred.  Once you begin to settle into silence as a daily routine, you will long for more and more of it.  In the silence is where you hear your God.
  7. Make sure you are in the company of like-minded folk with whom you can share successes, setbacks, and accountability for what you are hearing.

We have the life of our God made available not only to us but within us for the purpose of experiencing a daily conversational communion with our creator.  There is no greater life imaginable than to be in a conversational communion with the divine nature of our God.  This is life in abundance, life without limits, life as it was meant to be for us.

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