1Jn 2:27 The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series, please do go back and read them. This one isn’t going to do you a lot of good if you haven’t got the foundations laid, and the first post, especially, is absolutely essential.
So, you’ve quieted your mind and focused it on Jesus. What now? If you’re like most people, at this point you’re just sitting there–peacefully, perhaps enjoying yourself quite a lot, but not exactly hearing the voice of God. Before I go into what the voice of God sounds/looks like, I want to make one point. My daughter and I are very close. We often say nothing at all to one another on a drive or a walk. We’re comfortable in one another’s presence and we don’t need to speak unless there’s something to be said. Sometimes God is like that. He’s happy just having you there, and being there, soaking in His presence, is one way He works in your spirit to change you into the image of His Son, so you needn’t feel you always have to hear “words” from God in order to have “connected.”
That said, the point of this series is actually to hear “words” from God, so how can you tell if it’s God? Some things are (or should be) obvious. If God “tells you” that it’s okay to leave your husband and run off with your boss, that’s not God. If “God” says that your kid is a rotten brat and you were justified in beating him black and blue, that’s not God either. But what if “God says” to go out and knock on your neighbor’s door and witness to him? Is that God? God might say something like that, mightn’t He? Or then again, He might not. He might just say to bake your neighbor a loaf of banana bread, give it to her, and enjoy an hour’s conversation over coffee with no strings attached nor any motive but to bless her and enjoy her company. So how do we know when it’s God?
In my last post, I suggested ways you might want to initiate a conversation with God. Of course, you can also just sit silently and wait for Him to say something. He’ll do that, if you’re sincere, though He might make you wait a while to see how serious you are about hearing from Him. But let’s say that you’re worried about the way you feel about your co-worker. You think you’re way too intolerant and that you shouldn’t react so impatiently to her constant, inane babbling. You’ve asked God why you feel the way you do and how to show love and patience to her that you do not feel.
Once you have posed your question, sit quietly. Keep your mind quiet–if outside thoughts intrude, such as worries of the day, things you need to do, etc., just gently bring your mind back into focus on Christ. Wait for a spontaneous flow of thoughts that just “seem to come up out of nowhere.” They may come as words, or as pictures in your mind. Don’t let those thoughts get away. Look at them. Focus on them. Allow them to sit for a little while in your brain. Remember that God speaks to us all in different ways, according to our own personalities and probably to our level of spiritual maturity as well. If you’re a literate type, He’s going to probably use bigger words than He would if you’re more of a down-to-earth, practical person. He may only give you one word. He may give you a picture.
This is the final step: Write down what you see and hear. If you’re artistic, you could also sketch any picture He’s given you, though for me, I find writing a description works better. I love to draw, but I’m more fluent in words than I am in images. As you write, He will bring more words to your mind (or more images). Keep writing. Don’t worry about being in a hurry. He’s patient and He’s not going to go away just because you weren’t writing fast enough. If you’re not sure what to write next, don’t think. If you do, you’ll end up writing something logical and likely true from your own mind and your own store of knowledge. It may be accurate, but it will be dead. If the words stop coming, and you don’t think God’s finished speaking, it may be because you’ve gotten off into your own thoughts. Re-read what you’ve written. If necessary scratch out words that don’t resonate with you. Relax and re-focus on Jesus and wait. He will continue to speak to you until He’s said what He wanted to say.
Yesterday I had to cut short my quiet time because it was time to get ready for our church, who were meeting at our house and soon to arrive. I figured God was finished, but in the evening, I wanted to just sit and enjoy His company for a little while, and He started off right where He had stopped in the morning. If God is really speaking to you, you don’t need to worry about losing the train of His thoughts as long as you write them down so you can remember what He’s said already.
Tomorrow, I’m going to conclude this series with a few pointers for making sure it was God who was speaking to you and not just you yourself (or the enemy).
Grace and peace,