IN RECENT YEARS I have made much of the importance of hearing and intently listening to the voice of God . . . Jesus . . . the Holy Spirit. I make no apology for this, for as I consider the Bible’s position on this, I discover that it is indeed the very basis upon which we Christians must stand. If we do not hear what God is saying to us today, we miss the whole point of what Christianity is all about. I know my life has taken on a whole different perspective and dimension as I have devoted myself more and more to doing whatever Jesus says. I can say categorically - it works! It bears fruit! It opens doors! It enlarges one’s ministry calling in God! It releases more of the supernatural of God! It is just so much better!
Recently I came across this Scripture; one I have read many times before, but this time it “hit” me for what it says: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before, whom Heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet(Jesus) shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:19-26, NKJV).
The context of this Scripture is the miracle of healing that took place with Peter and John on their way to a prayer meeting (not on their way home from a prayer meeting). They are declaring the absolute importance of being able to hear the voice of Jesus in our everyday lives. The healing happened because of Peter and John’s ability to perceive the voice of Jesus in knowing how to minister to the crippled man sitting before them. He was healed by faith in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:16), and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the ‘rhema’ word of God (Romans 10:17). The voice of Jesus and faith go together. One does not work without the other.
Peter was reminding the people of that which Moses had prophesied way back in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. He was explaining as to why the crippled man got healed at the gate to the temple. The voice of God (to, and in, Peter and John) was very active in guiding them in what to say and do with regards that miracle of healing. They simply followed His instructions, and the miracle took place. The result of that healing that day was the conversion of 5,000 people to Jesus! In Acts 2:38-43 we read that 3,000 were converted as a result of Peter’s repentance message of “His Word” (the word of Jesus through Peter). Surely if we are really serious about the winning of the lost, then this message of listening to – and obeying – the voice of Jesus has got to be faced up to – and heeded to - in a greater way than the general present doubting bunch of followers we appear to be. This is what releases the supernatural of God into our midst, but we have to demonstrate that we trust the voice of Jesus enough to give ourselves to whatever He tells us. He knows the needs, and wants to direct us in His way of meeting those needs (which is often very different to how we would go about meeting them). Our obedience to Him then releases His hands to fulfil whatever He has promised to us.
This message was not only for Israel of old; it is for us today! In essence it is telling us that repentance and a change of life has all to do with our ability to hear and discern the voice of God . . . Jesus . . . the Holy Spirit, for God does speak today through many ways. Our very acceptance by God is on the basis of “hearing in all things, whatever He says to you” (Acts 3:22). The next verse makes it so clear that our neglect of hearing whatever Jesus tells us brings about our “destruction.” Lack of repentance “blocks” the voice of God in our life. Christianity is not about us trying to please God, but a love commitment to cultivating a listening to His voice. We stand or fall on what we do with the voice of Jesus!
The voice of God – and just as importantly our obedience to it - is a major key to seeing the signs, wonders and miracles, which includes divine healing - released through us in a visible way to a sick and needy world. When the sick are healed in Jesus’ name, Jesus is glorified, lives are brought to repentance and conversion to Jesus Christ, the Gospel is proclaimed, and then the process can be repeated again and again through those new converts. When we live by the voice of Jesus, then we will have “good success” (Joshua 1:1-9) . . . Divine life permeates through us, and we live with an expectation to impart and release it to others, because that is the heart’s desire of the Christ within through the power of His Holy Spirit. But if we have no desire or expectation that God wants to use us supernaturally, we “cut off” the flow and settle down to living very ordinary lives. And that is not the will and purpose of God for any one of us!
All the Bible prophets pointed us to JESUS as the only way to God – “Him we should hear.” God has made it all very simple really. There is only one way to know God personally and that is through listening to His Son, Jesus. He carries the voice of truth to us, and for us. Without that voice of truth we have no revelation, no understanding, no power of conviction to turn us away from our own selves. The result of that is we fall into the trap of having “a form of godliness but denying the power of it” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Listening to – and knowing – the voice of Jesus, is an absolute major essential for us to live the Christian life today. Yet scores and scores of Christians live doubting that Voice! It is a weakness that we need to face, and overcome. It is not good enough for Christians to get their guidance only through their pastor (as many do), but we are called to know Jesus personally for ourselves. To trust our eternal destiny to a mere mortal man (no matter how spiritual or great he may be) is a risk no one should be willing to take!
To know someone personally, we must have meaningful conversations with that person. We must recognize when he/she is speaking to us. A one-sided conversation becomes a boring conversation very quickly! For us Christians, our very life and strength depends on our ability to discern the voice of God as, and when, it comes to us. The Bible is full of the voice of the Lord! It is the voice of God to us – why don’t we believe it? But God is also speaking through many different ways today, i.e. His inner voice, His prophetic voice, the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, the five-fold ministries, impressions, pictures, visions, dreams, trances, angelic visitations – all confirmed by the written Word of God. Yet, far too many of us are “locked into” a method of believing that God speaks only through His written Word. God is wanting us come to a place in our lives where He can speak to us anyway He wants, and we will know it is His Voice. We can, and must, cultivate the voice of God in our lives. We must get to know for ourselves that what we are hearing or seeing is really the Lord – and the only way that will happen for us is when we are willing and prepared to step out in obedience to that which we have seen or heard from God. A passive acceptance of the voice of God leads us nowhere! In Luke 6:46-49 we read of the wise and foolish man. The wise man succeeded because he actively obeyed what Jesus said. The foolish man lost everything because“he heard and did nothing.”
The voice of Jesus is the key to our future, and it is our obedience to that Voice that releases God to fulfil His promises to our lives.