Session 3: Am I POSITIONED to Hear God’s Voice?
How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture
Hearing God speak is not a passive activity! In this session, Chip will unpack the transformative impact of five ways we can get a grasp on God’s Word. These practices aren’t new, they’ve stood the test of time for thousands of years.
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Welcome to session three of How to Hear God’s Voice in Scripture. In our time together, we talked about: Am I ready to hear God’s voice? And the second was: Am I willing to hear God’s voice? For me, the third question I ask myself is: Am I positioned to hear God’s voice? Here’s what I mean by that. As a parent, sometimes you’re saying stuff to your kids and they’re out of earshot or they’re doing something else and you’re actually speaking, but they don’t hear you. They’re not in a position to hear your voice. All of us probably have been with a friend and you’re talking to them and you’re saying stuff and then you realize they’ve got their earphones in. They can’t hear you. In other words, they’re not in a position to hear your voice, and that’s true of us all. When I kind of mentor some people or try to encourage them, often we’ll get pretty honest about life and they’ll say something like, “I really want to hear from God and I really want to be his man and I really want to do what God wants me to do.”
So I’ll ask a few questions and I’ll ask, “Tell me a little bit about your spiritual diet.” And they’ll say, “What do you mean?” I say, “Well help me understand your relationship to God’s work.” And more often than not, it’s “well, I …” They stall. “I read the bible some.” I said, “Well are you reading it systematically?” “No I just kind of … I skip around here and there and then, well, I kind of had this one thing on the internet. I read a verse here or there.” And I try and be really gentle. “Basically you’re telling me it’s mostly junk food. You’re not positioned to really have your mind and your heart saturated with God’s word in such a way that the Holy Spirit can grab it and speak to you on a regular basis.” And I put my arm around them; and God’s not down on them; I’m not down on them, but you know what? If you’ve got earphones in, if you’re distracted, if God’s word is not going into your ears and you’re eyes and your heart, you’re not positioned to hear him.
When I was a young Christian, I was associated with a loose group that had been influenced by the Navigators. They had an illustration about God’s word called the Hand Illustration. To this day, I keep sharing it with people because it helped me. It’s how to be positioned to hear God’s voice. The fellow that helped was a brick layer – an actual bricklayer – great guy, his name is Dave. I remember Dave had a big Bible like this, and he said to me, “Chip, if you really want to get a grasp of God’s word, you need to really grab onto it.” Then he showed me a little illustration. He said, “You know what? People that really understand God’s word, they hear His word on a regular basis.” And he said, “You know what? If you hear His word, you get a grasp of it. Just a little bit.” Then he said, “In Revelation Chapter one, there’s a promise for those who hear God’s word, there’s a blessing.” He said, “But it’s more than that Chip.” He said, “You need to read it” and then he put two fingers on the Bible.
He said, “You know, you get a stronger grasp in Acts 17. It says that the Bereans were more noble minded than the Thessalonians for they received the Word gladly and they examined the scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” And then he said, “You know what Chip? A lot of people read … Some people hear. But if you really want to hear God,” he said, “you need to study. You need to study the Word. You need to make it as a goal to literally master the books of the Bible.” Now I was a young Christian and that was pretty intimidating. But like he said, you’ve got your whole life to do it. Study to show yourself approved as a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed. Then finally he said, “Chip. Let me tell you something here.” He said, “Temptation is really hard to beat. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t have his Word inside your heart to bring help to you in those moments of temptation, you’re going to struggle and struggle and struggle.”
He said – here’s the forth one – he says, “Not only do you hear, you study. You read, you memorize. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. Your Word, I’ve hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Now you’ll notice that I’ve got a little King James in here. I was a very young Christian and that was sort of the early passages. But let me just be honest and tell you how this happened. I’m sure many of you don’t have this struggle, but most men that I know and probably many women. Lust is an issue that’s hard to beat. The whole pornography issue in our day is overwhelming. I was at a campus where there four girls to every guy. I sort of kiddingly said, “you could be ugly and get a good girlfriend.” I’d become a Christian and I was in God’s Word and I was now and then reading and trying to listen and trying to hear. I honestly was almost ready to quit the Christian life because, even though my actions got better, my thoughts and the lust in my mind, I felt like such a failure.
I remember a friend of mine having some cards on his desk that he was going to memorize, these 30 cards. He was a wrestler and I was a basketball player. I thought basketball players are better than wrestlers. He was doing a couple each week. Well, I memorized all 30 cards in 30 days and reviewed every single one of them every day. I mean, I had them down pat. I did it just to impress this guy. But at day 21, I’ll never forget, I met a co-ed and she was a very beautiful and a Godly girl. I remember having an encounter on the sidewalk with her and leaving and realizing my mind was pure. God made this connection. As a young man, how do you keep your heart pure? By guarding it according to God’s Word. That sent me on a crazy journey where I’ve started memorizing hundreds of verses and then whole chapters and I even memorized a few books.
Because then when I was driving or walking or doing anything, I could meditate; I could hear God’s Word; I could read God’s Word; I could study God’s Word. I began memorizing God’s Word and then, as I began thinking about it – are you ready? – I was positioned. You see, when the Word of God is in your heart and you can think about it, the Holy Spirit will take the written Word and make it the living Word. I’m telling you, I’ve had moment after moment after moment where God will give me a prompting from a verse to say “I want you to go over and help that person.” Or I was in a meeting and I said something and the Spirit of God will bring a verse to my mind as basically “Chip, you were posing. You were trying to impress people.” What I want you to know is that if you’re ready and if you’re willing, and if you’re positioned, our God will speak to you on a regular basis. It’s awesome.