After a week off for Fall Break, we resumed WNW by wrapping up the "Open Skies" series. We began the night with a worship set that included "Your Love Never Fails" (Jesus Culture/Newsboys), "City On Our Knees" (tobyMac), and "One Thing Remains" (Kristian Stanfill). I then gave a brief review of the series leading up to this point and said that we would be wrapping it up by talking about listening to God. I shared a short clip from the tv show "Smallville" where young Clark Kent is learning how to use his super hearing and listens for his father's voice among a bunch of noise. I shared that just like that video, our heavenly Father is always speaking to us, the question is whether or not we are listening for Him. If prayer is a conversation with God, then we must listen to His voice in addition to the words we speak to Him. We read John 10:27 where Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice.
I shared that there are a couple of things that must be in order to listen to God:
1) You must be saved
In John 8:47 Jesus says that those who are of God are able to hear His voice. Our separation from God keeps us from being able to hear His voice. If we are seeking God for answers but have not stepped out to follow Him and receive salvation then that is what must first take place.
2) You must be clean
1 Peter 3:12 lets us know that we need to have a clean heart in order to hear the voice of God. Sin hinders us from hearing His voice. It does not mean that we have lost our salvation, but means that we have allowed a barrier between us God that keeps us from being able to hear His voice.
So now that is in order, how can we listen for God's voice? Here are a few ways
1) Get Alone & Quiet
We see instructions on this from Jesus and Him living it out in Matthew 6:6 and Matthew 14:23. We have to make ourselves available to listen to the Holy Spirit. This means we need to get out of distractions in order to better be able to hear His voice.
2) Read, Study, & Meditate on Scripture
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God's Word gives us instruction. The Bible is the main way that God speaks to us today. If we are not reading and studying the Bible then we are not listening for the voice of God.
3) Through Godly Mentors
Proverbs 12:15 tells us it is wise to seek godly counsel. Every Christian needs a godly mentor to speak truth into their life. We should not simply seek counsel from people we like who will give us the answers we will like.
I closed the message at this moment with the challenge to make yourself available to hear the voice of God. We set in silence for a few minutes and I asked the students to spend time asking God to speak to them and listen to His voice. We packed sack-packs for the week and dismissed. Then whoever was able to stay and wanted to discuss some more, we sit in a circle and discussed how to discern God's voice. We discussed the following questions to ask yourself when you think you're hearing God's voice:
1) Does it go against God's Word or lead you to sin?
If so, then it is not the voice of God. Galatians 5:16 tells us that when we follow the Spirit, He will not lead us to sin. God will never give you permission to sin. He will never tell you to do something that goes against His Word. The question was raised "what if our parent asks us to do something that goes against God?" We had a good discussion on this as we were able to point out that in that case, we can still honor our parents without doing what they have asked us to do that is sinful.
2) Is it vague or confusing?
If so, then it is not the voice of God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God does not confuse us but instead provides peace. He may only give the first step of instructions so that you will then step out on faith before He reveals the big picture.
3) Is God really telling you to do something, or is it simply something you want to do? You must ask yourself this question because if it is just something you want to do, it may not be of God. There may be times He asks you to do something that is completely against what you want to do.