How do you respond when God says something you didnt want to hear? How we answer that question is one of the most important indicators of our spiritual health, because what is revealed by our response is our integrity. So let me ask again, how do you respond when God tells you to do something that frightens you or costs more than youre willing to give or seems to be something a person as important as yourself shouldnt have to bother with? Not only does it matter what we answer God, but the way we respond at the very moment when we hear His voice is just as important and exposes the true motives of our heart. In a vision, John saw a huge angel standing with one foot on the sea and the other on the land, and then He cried out with a voice so loud it sounded like a lion roaring and then it echoed through the atmosphere producing seven great peaks of thunder. But the sound John heard wasnt thunder at all, it was Gods voice and John understood the words that were spoken. In fact, he almost wrote them down before God told him to seal them up meaning they would not be understood and should remain hidden until a future time. Of course we dont know what was said, but theres a principle at work here we shouldnt miss. Theres a reason why Gods voice sounds like thunder to some people but can be clearly understood by others. And thats what we want to look at more closely.
Following Jesus always tests our hearts. To honestly respond to Him takes:
- Faith to believe Hell do what He promised
- Courage to obey when fear rises up
- Humility to obey when pride rises up
- Love to stop putting my own needs first
There are different ways people can respond when they hear God tell them to do something they dont want to do:
1) Pretend confusion: Im not sure that was God
-What we call confusion is often a way of avoiding responsibility for disobedience (Im confused, I dont understand, I need more confirmation)
- John 12:20-30 some said it thundered
- Warning: God will stop speaking if we refuse to honestly dialogue with Him
- Matthew 21:23-27 was Johns baptism from God?
2) Words without commitment: I have no choice so the answer is yes
- Saying the right words but without determining inside to fulfill them
- Matthew 21:28-32 parable of two sons
3) Honest refusal: I heard you but Im not willing to obey right now
- Telling God no!, telling Him why and telling Him Hell have to help you change your mind.
- Jonah 1:1-3; 4:1-3 Nineveh or Tarshish
- Warning: Youd rather have God pursue you than stop talking to you
4) Dependent obedience: Ill do what you ask, but unless you help me every step of the way Ill fail.
- Asking God to help you obey one day at a time.
- Matthew 6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
God rewards those who obey Him by opening their ears to hear His voice even more.
- John 15:14, 15 You are My friends
- Obedience brings friendship and friendship brings more revelation
- Matthew 13:10-16 For whoever has to him more shall be given
- Ears become dull by refusing to hear eyes become dull by refusing to see hearts become cold by refusing to love
- Our character and the depth of our walk with God is the culmination of the choices weve made over a lifetime . . .
How to Hear God More
- Dont play games with Him, respond with integrity
- Choose to be His friend by practicing regular surrender
- Obey in small things, hearing and obeying takes practice
- Take a big step and stay with it until youve seen the miracle
- Expect more and more of His revelation as you joyfully take His hand and follow
1) Have you ever pretended not to hear Gods voice because you didnt like what He said?
2) Whats the toughest step of obedience youve ever taken? How did it work out?