If there is one question that I get from people wanting to grow in the faith part of their lives it’s this:
“How can I tell if God is speaking to me?”
Close behind that question is its cousin,
“How can I learn to hear God speak?”
The scriptures are filled with examples of people who claim to hear from God and it’s teaching seem to point to the hunger for his voice as one of the defining characteristics of those who desire to follow. (John 10:27 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.)
Today Scott McKnight posted on his blog a quick review of T. M. Luhrmann’s new book, When God Talks Back.
Luhrmann is an anthropologist trained in psychology and the acclaimed author of Of Two Minds, which explores the extraordinary process that leads some believers to a place where God is profoundly real and his voice can be heard amid the clutter of everyday thoughts.
According to McKnight,
as an anthropologist, she explains this hearing-God phenomenon as a “new theory of mind” in which some thoughts are perceived as coming from outside the mind. (Technically, “thoughts” become “perceptions” for those who say they hear from God.)
I found this explanation extremely helpful and in fact quite familiar as I recall my own journey of learning to discern the voice of God from my own thoughts.
This has been so fundamental to my own relationship with God: the idea that I strive to know the God who speaks and who guides.
It’s also been more than fundamental to my life in full time ministry. His voice is the difference between simply instructing people on the scriptures and speaking words from God into people’s lives. That’s a humbling thing to invest prayer into study and preparation so that the words and ideas that are formed in the message are one’s that have the resonance of the divine.
It’s a great little review and it stirred within me a real desire to spend the day listening for those Thoughts that come from outside.
When are the times when you find it hard to hear the voice of God? Easy?