The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Rating the Voices of God: A Foolish & Harmful Game

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God loves variety and to Him, differences are good. But to us humans, differences must be categorized into groups of good and bad, better and worse. If I say my skin color is better than yours, then that means I’m authorized to pick on you. If you say the shape of your nose is better than mine, then that means you get to make fun of me. We have cruel natures and we’re obsessed with comparing and rating. Why can’t we just enjoy variety the way God does and realize that there are several “right” ways to go about certain things? Some Christians like to dance about when they worship, others like to stand as stiff as statues. We say one is better than the other. God says both are good.

God loves variety, and He’s not going to stop loving variety to accommodate our silliness. He doesn’t treat us all the same because to Him, that would be plain boring. Of course the moment God starts treating us differently, we start in with the comparative labels. We decide that direct revelations from God are “better” than hearing Him speak to us through another person. But why? Why should you care what form God’s communication takes in your life? What matters is that He is talking to you.

Some Christians hear God’s Voice speaking clear messages right inside their brains. Others feel Him speaking to them through nature. Still others hear Him speaking through the lips of other humans, or through words on a screen. Those who receive clear thoughts in their heads like to act superior to others. They tell you that they’re closer to God because He speaks to them “directly” while He only speaks to you “indirectly.” Well, baloney. Have you ever heard a sermon on Sunday morning and felt like God was speaking directly to you? Have you ever read some blog or devotional on the internet and felt like the whole thing was written just for you? How are these forms of communication any less special than God dropping some thought into your head? They’re not. Anytime God speaks to you, it’s personal, and it’s exciting.

If I call you up on your phone, that’s personal. If I send you an email, that’s personal. If I text you, that’s personal. If I meet you for lunch, that’s personal. They’re all personal forms of communication. They’re all valid ways of building a relationship. In your life, how does God like to speak to you? Is He a texter or a caller? Maybe He talks to you through books. Maybe He talks to you through music. Maybe He talks to you through some preacher or teacher. Does it matter what method He’s using? No. What matters is that God is talking to you.

You need to realize that God is the King. He is the alpha party in His relationship with you. He is the Leader and the Initiator. God won’t be led by you and He won’t take orders from you. He’s going to talk to you the way He wants to talk to you. You can decide to either tune in to the channel He’s broadcasting on, or you can set your dial to the channel you want Him to broadcast on and then sit there in a huff until He accommodates you. Many Christians try to play this game with God. They say, “I want to hear You speak to me directly like You do with So-and-so.” And then they start refusing to accept anything that God says to them through any other channel. When He speaks to them through their pastor—nope, that’s not good enough. When He speaks to them through a song on the radio—nope, that’s unacceptable. They decide for God how He must speak to them, and then they go into brat mode until He accommodates them. Well, God won’t be led by us. When we try to control Him like this, we end up with nothing.

Maybe you attend a Bible study with a woman who is always hearing God speak to her through the Bible. But when you go home and crack open the book, all you get is condemnation from demons. Or maybe your pastor has regular dynamic sessions with God in his prayer closet. But when you head into your prayer closet, all you get is dead air. Because you’ve fallen into the trap of labeling God’s communication styles as “better” and “worse”, you end up concluding that God loves you less simply because He won’t talk to you in one of the “better” forms. But God never approved of our silly human rating system. He loves variety. He never said the guys who get visions are His favorites. He never said He only cares about the people who He gives moving experiences to during prayer retreat weekends. We are the ones who came up with this ridiculous system of ranks and now we’ve led ourselves into a major mess. In the Church we’ve got a bunch of self-anointed egos claiming to be better than everyone else because they receive a bunch of “direct revelations” from God. Then we’ve got a bunch of other souls feeling sorry for themselves 24/7 because they’re so unloved by God. All of this carnal drama is where our rating system has gotten us and it’s high time that some of us learned better.

How does God talk to you in life? What are His preferred channels of communication? Maybe He only ever talks to you through other people. So what? Why is this something to get bummed out about? God is talking to you. His message isn’t any less personal just because it’s carried to you by human lips. In fact, there is a distinct advantage in God speaking to you this way. The direct revelation crowd doesn’t have it as easy as you might think. There’s nothing simple about discerning whether that dynamic dream you had last night was a message from God, your own wishful thinking, or a result of not digesting your dinner. Listen to the folks who claim that God speaks to them in dreams and you’ll hear them attaching His Name to a lot of visions that He clearly didn’t give them. Then there’s the group who hear God speaking words in their minds. Well, every human has a thought voice. Then there are demons—they put a lot of messages into our brains as well. So how do you discern who is talking when? How do you know when a message really came from God and not your flesh or demons or your own wishful thinking? If God speaks to you through books, you need to appreciate how sweet it is to have His words neatly spelled out for you in that black and white form. If He speaks to you through people, how nice to have His Voice come in some audible form. God has many communication styles and each one comes with advantages and disadvantages. It’s not about better and best, it’s about recognizing which forms He’s currently using in your life and appreciating how personal the whole thing is. So what if He speaks to you using a verse that He’s used with a thousand other people as well? God is speaking to you. There is nothing more thrilling than the Creator of all things saying something to tiny little you. And how cool is it that a pastor can get up and preach a sermon Sunday morning and not even realize that God is using the lips of a total stranger to speak directly to your heart?

When God speaks to you, it’s your message. Maybe someone posts some devotional on the internet and they mean to cast it out to the whole world. But when the Holy Spirit uses that message to uplift your soul, then it becomes your message. God talks to you. Don’t minimize the importance of this. There is no soul alive on this planet who God isn’t speaking to. God speaks to all of us in many different ways. He talks to you every single day. This is a reality: God is constantly speaking to you. You just don’t see it because the Church teaches you to only monitor certain stations, like the Bible, or preachers. But when you forget to write something important down on your grocery list and that item suddenly pops into your mind just before you get into the checkout line, where do you think that help is coming from? God is talking to you. Yes, God does care about our grocery shopping. The Holy Spirit doesn’t only show up when we go to church. He is always with us: in the car, at work, in bed, in the bathroom, walking down the street, on the couch.

A key part of gaining confidence in your personal relationship with God is learning to recognize how many ways He is already talking to you. Maybe you’ve figured out by now that God just isn’t interested in speaking to you through the Bible. Fine. Stop trying to force a broadcast on that channel. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to help you tune in to the other ways He is speaking to you. Maybe there was a particular teacher in the Church who God always spoke to you through, but now He’s stopped. Fine. Follow His cue and start looking elsewhere. Staying fluid with God is essential, for He likes to keep changing things up.

Demons will do anything to discourage you in your relationship with God. Convincing you that you’re being passed over by God is a very effective way of dragging you down, and it all starts by conning you into accepting this ridiculous theory that some forms of God’s Voice are better than others. Anytime God speaks, it’s exciting, no matter what method He uses. Anytime God speaks to you, He is reminding you of how intimately involved He is in your life. No one is passed over. No one is less loved. So the next time you feel tempted to say, “God never talks to me,” you need to remind yourself that God is talking to you—you just need to tune into the right station. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to do this. Ask Him to help you recognize the many forms of His leading in your life and then believe that He will. In the meantime, whether your physical brain is consciously aware of it or not, God is always with you, and He is always talking to you.

FURTHER READING:
Learning to Recognize God’s Voice
Voices in Your Mind

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