3 Beliefs That Block Us From Hearing God
God is still speaking to his people. His communication with us is not a thing of the past, a relic of a bygone era.
In fact, God speaks to us all the time. I work to help people discover more of his presence and power in their lives. That includes learning to hear God speak and discerning how to respond to his leading.
In my time working with people, I have found 3 very common beliefs that block people from hearing what God is speaking to them. I want to share these common misconceptions so that together we can break through the barriers they bring.
The 3 Beliefs That Block Us From Hearing God:
1. The belief that God is not speaking.
Many Christians believe that God only spoke prior to the writing of Scripture. Many others, who believe that God occasionally still speaks, assume that they are not spiritual enough to hear him, or that he doesn’t have anything to say to them.
Yet, I find that God is regularly speaking. In fact, sometimes he is often quite chatty, and he has plenty to say to anyone who wants to take the time to listen.
Scripture gives us no reason to believe that God has stopped speaking to his people. In fact, it says the opposite. When Paul said to the Corinthians to eagerly pursue the gift of prophecy, he was telling them it is indeed possible to receive revelation from God that they could each share with the community (1 Corinthians 14:1). In other words, Paul told the entire Corinthian church—who were not known for their stellar spiritual maturity—that each of them could hear from God.
Throughout the history of the Church, there are countless stories of men and women of faith that have had incredible encounters with God. Those stories show us what is possible.
The same is true for the cases we find in Scripture. Examples of God interacting with His people in the Bible illustrate how ordinary people can have extraordinary experiences with the divine. The stories in Scripture are meant to instruct on what is possible when we walk with God.
2. The assumption that God speaks audibly from outside us.
Truthfully, God ‘speaks’ in a variety of ways, but very seldom audibly. Most of what He communicates to us privately comes from the still small voice within. Since His spirit now resides in us, His voice will almost always come to us from within (as opposed to without). Yet, we often ignore His voice.
If we dismiss our own internal dialogue, we will dismiss the chief way God has designated to commune with us. His voice is often softer, slower and gentler than the world around us. Life in modern society is fast-paced, invasive and loud. So, we have to intentionally cultivate an inner quiet that allows us to be present to ourselves and aware of God’s Holy Spirit speaking.
God honors our freedom to choose, so He rarely speaks loud enough to command us to do something. He seems to reserve that kind of interaction only for the times we are headed for serious trouble.
Instead, His leadings tend to be more gentle prompts, reminders, a series of “coincidences”, feelings and even physical sensations. Sometimes He will bring a verse from Scripture to mind or give us a certain word or phrase. Often, He will give us a certain gut feeling that we can use to discern the situation around us.
Many people have much more mystical and charismatic encounters. But, even if you have not experienced that kind of thing, you can be sure that God has already been speaking to you in a variety of ways.
3. The lie that God is unkind.
Most Christians would profess that God is a loving God. Yet, when it comes down to it, they have failed to really internalize that truth.
Because of that, many people carry the assumption that God is really displeased with them and their choices. They feel that He is disappointed with our sinfulness and really wishes that we would get it together.
Truthfully, God is not as focused (obsessed really) with sin as we are. He has already made provision for it to be paid for upon the cross.
He already knows who and what we are. And, He has chosen to redeem us and set up shop within us anyway. He is under no illusions as to what we have done or what we are capable of. Despite our frailty, He is still pleased with us.
Scripture says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
Therefore, any and all words, thoughts or ideas that make us feel bad, shamed or dirty DO NOT come from Him.
In fact, His voice tends to be the exact opposite. He is generally encouraging, uplifting and empowering. He is the warmest, friendliest and most fun Being that has ever or will ever exist! Even when He does convict us of sin He does so in such a way that shows us that we are capable of so much more.
This is relevant because I regularly find that people dismiss communication from God because it sounds too affirming, too encouraging, too friendly, too imaginative, too hopeful and too playful. His words are much more full of life than they are accustomed to.
Their own negative self-talk and condemning attitudes tend to convince them that God must share in their abasing self-perceptions and therefore the ‘nice’ words they hear from Him must be a product of their own wishful thinking.
Now, not every pleasant thought that passes through our heads comes from God. However, it would not hurt any of us to believe that God is more kind and encouraging than anyone we have ever known.
Truly, we all need to examine our thought-life and take our thoughts captive to the love of Christ. Our minds need to be renewed to the truth of His goodness and acceptance of us.
This is truly what it means to have a relationship with Christ—to recognize that we are indeed one of His sheep that hear His voice and to live in constant conversation with Him.
So, here are 3 Great Truths:
1. God is still speaking to us.
2. He speaks in ways that we are meant to understand.
3. His messages to us are encouraging and full of life.
When we live from these truths, we experience a new freedom and joyful exuberance in life.