If the Lord has entrusted His word to you, it is because you are trustworthy, so trust your capacity to listen to Him. Spiritual disciplines are good, just make sure that they reflect who you are and use them creatively!
Sometimes we worry too much about missing the voice of the Lord over our lives. God has given us his Word and His Holy Spirit to teach us, to guide us and to hear what he has to say.
But, what do we do when we feel that we have missed His voice?
His voice can come in different forms and ways or to put it in another way, His voice can be perceived or understood in different ways and forms.
Recently, I was in a gathering where Will Hart was speaking and I asked him: How do you hear the voice of the Lord, but I did ask him not to give me the traditional answer, which is always right, The Word. The reason I asked that question is that we tend to operate in a monoculture that dictates how we should listen to the voice of the Lord.
Some of us have been taught that there is just one way to do it and that way always tends to feed our understanding, the mind. That is why we struggle in translating His voice from our minds to our hearts. There are things that the Lord wants to say to us that can only be received and understood in our hearts, things that the mind can not cope with. Just imagine if David rationalised what his chances were of defeating Goliath!
The difficulty is that we may have “One size fits all” approach to listening to the Voice of the Lord when the reality is that not everyone fits this mould!
Jesus in Mark 8, tells the disciples to watch out for the leavens of the Pharisees and of Herod. The disciples experienced one of the most powerful miracles that Jesus performed when He blessed the loaves and the fishes and about 4000 people got supper that evening. Jesus had compassion on the families and the disciples distributed the bread and the fishes, in fact, the miracle was taken place through the disciples’ own hands!
But they were worried about the fact that they have ONE bread left to eat! Jesus takes this fact as an example to teach them about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod but he does not get to teach it! Instead, Jesus asked some harsh questions that reveal to us that there is more than one way to listen to the voice of the Lord.
Jesus asked them, Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Then Jesus launches into a powerful interrogation, better than the lawyers in “Few Good Men” – if you don’t know what I am saying then just watch the movie!
This is the interrogation:
1. Do you not yet perceive or understand?
2. Are your hearts hardened?
3. Having eyes do you not see?
4. Having ears do you not hear?
5. Do you not remember?
6. How many did you gather?
7. Do you not understand?
It seems to me that there is more than one way to perceive what the Lord is saying to us. It seems to me also, that Jesus is not just addressing the mind to understand him but he is appealing to all our senses, even our capacity to smell and taste – I believe that these senses are intrinsically described in the story, the bread smell like bread, it tastes like bread and the fish tasted good!
There are brilliant minds out there, there are brilliant speakers, there are brilliant writers and there are you and me and you know what: We are brilliant too. We all have been given the capacity to listen to the voice of the Lord in ways that are different than other people. We are unique, created as masterpieces with distinct voices and with an immense capacity to understand and know the voice of the Lord, It does not have to be a mono cultural experience. The real miracle is this: “the Lord can communicate with our uniqueness and this makes us diverse and rich”. After all, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice”, that is a heavenly declaration which must be true on earth.
For some of us it is the mind, for some of us it is the tactile way, for some of us it is seeing, it is hearing, it is feeling His presence, we feel that our hearts are racing, it is feeling his joy. For some of us, it is smelling His presence or tasting it. What is true in the natural, meaning our natural senses it is also true in the spiritual, we all have spiritual senses!
For some of us, HIs voice comes to us when we are still, or His voice is so powerful that it makes us fall down before him. For some of us it is the quiet voice of the Lord, but for others His voice comes like a thunder, like an earthquake.
We need to allow ourselves to express the voice of the Lord and react to Him in ways that are true to us. The problem with the one way fits all approach is that it tends to be restrictive and lacking in colour. Have you ever come across people saying that church is boring, do we wonder why?
It could be that we have not missed His voice, it could be that we have borrowed or adopted a receptor that does not fit with who we are. The best receptor is you, with your own uniqueness and beauty.
“If the Lord has entrusted His word to you, it is because you are trust worthy, so trust your capacity to listen to Him. Spiritual disciplines are good, just make sure that they reflect who you are and use them creatively!”