At the CCC Leadership Retreat held on the 7th of February, a question concerning hearing and knowing the will of God was raised. It came up as a part of a discussion concerning the need to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in all we do at CCC. It was suggested that a sermon or two could be preached on that subject, or that perhaps an answer could be provided at the next council meeting. What follows is a summary of a brief answer to that question as it was presented at the council meeting in February.
I suggest there are three things that are essential if we are to hear and know the will of God as given to us by the Holy Spirit. There may, in fact, be many things that might be added to these three, but these three must be present.
The first is a deepening relationship with God. We cannot expect to hear the voice of God, and know it, if we don’t first have a relationship with Him. You know and recognize the voices of those with whom you are in relationship; but you do not recognize the voices of those you do not know. The same is true with God. If we are to recognize his voice, we need to be in relationship with him. Nothing else comes close to this first requirement; nor is there any substitute or shortcut for it. To know the voice of God, we must first cultivate our relationship with him.
Secondly, we must be neutral concerning what his voice may say to us. An important question to ask ourselves is, “Do I want to know God’s will or do I want him to sanction mine?” Too frequently, if we are honest, we want the latter. When that is the case, we can’t hear God’s voice because we don’t want to. If we have already decided what it is we want God to say to us, we are closed to hearing a different message from him and therefore our ears are deaf to his voice. We must be neutral concerning his will. We must be willing to accept in faith that his will, no matter how difficult or crazy it may seem, is best.
Finally, we must pray for courage to be open to hearing God’s voice before we seek to hear it. Without the courage to follow the will of God, we will not be willing to actually hear it. Always the will of God for our lives comes as a challenge. He will not ask us to do anything we can do in our own strength. He will ask us to do what only he can do through us. Unless we have received courage form his hand before we hear his voice, we won’t be willing to listen.
Three things: Deepen you relationship with Jesus; get neutral concerning his will; and pray for courage. Do those and you will hear and know the voice and the will of God.