Wednesday, January 23, 2013

God Moving? II

In our previous post, we shared some steps to being sure we were hearing from God.  They’re mechanisms that the mature Christian has internalized.  But, whether it’s a mature Christian, someone new to the faith, or someone who intentionally wants to deviate, there are ways to subvert any or all of those steps.  I shared a little bit hoe that was possible.  The person functioning in subjectivity and familiarity is very likely going to be blind to how they’re heading in the wrong direction.  The hard part, for any of us trying to keep someone on the right path, is verbalizing how to tell the difference between using those steps properly and subjectively misinterpreting those steps.  So, I requested comments about how to explain the difference.

It appears that I’m not the only one who had difficulty with that.  There were a lot of good comments, but none differentiating objective and subjective interpretation of the steps.  So, I’ll ask again.

The steps Peter Watt shared with us were these:

  1. Biblical - is the event supported by the Bible
  2. Holy Spirit - am I sensing His presence in the situation
  3. Godly Advice - either sought or freely given, do Godly advisors support what I am feeling
  4. God's Silence - am I hearing God in the situation
  5. Confirming Circumstances - are the events in my life leading me in the direction”

The comments we got, so far, were really good and worth meditating on.

Lize Van Wyk – FaceBook:

There are a few things I have learned in my walk with God about hearing from Him:
  1. If you have to start making arguments and justifying your decisions, you are probably hearing from God, but not liking what you're hearing, and therefore you're defending your own viewpoint or decision.
  2. God doesn't change His mind. If He's given you an answer or word about something, no amount of asking is going to change the answer. This goes for both positive and negative answers. Sometimes we know something is right, but we allow doubt to creep into our minds when circumstances change a little. We keep asking for confirmation and getting it, and then keep doubting it, which hinders us from fully committing to God's plan for us.
  3. Wait to hear from God before you go to people. Nine times out of ten this will eliminate the need to ask others altogether. People have good intentions, but if you ask 10 different people something, you will get 10 different answers. Plenty of times well intentioned people who love us want to protect us from hurt or risk and their advice will have nothing to do with God's will for us, but everything to do with their will for us. When you keep asking other people, it means you have no faith in your ability to hear correctly from God. When you ask Him, He will answer you, but only through experience do we learn to trust this relationship with God. Going to people for their opinion dilutes our trust in God.

Chris Wilson -- the blog:

Great post Bill. It really is hard to see when it is from God or not. Sometimes Hindsight is the best thing. Something interesting I've noticed in my limited experience of this thing called life. There have been moments where things went wrong and I decided they "weren't of God" but really years down the line I saw that actually it had prepared me for something else and made me who I am. We always like to say that good things are from God...but rarely the bad.

GODZWMN A Young Bold Christian – Google+:

My personal opinion is that it's a combination of all 5 points because, if not, confusion can occur (I Corinthians 14:33) ...the Holy Spirit speaks to us and we know His voice through fellowship with the Word. When we seek GODLY wisdom that to should lead us back to what the Word says. God's silence is saying CONTINUE SEEKING me until you hear. And circumstances can be confirmation IF they line up with the Word says...To me, the key is an establishing a relationship with God and being honest with yourself when He speaks. 

Jerry Erickson, on Google+:

I can provide you a parade of 'ifs', but I'm having the same trouble you are in coming up with a method. 
One thing that I would mention is discerning the voice of God. My uncle recently spoke at our men's Bible study and he told a story about how he practiced hearing the voice if God. It sounded absolutely crazy to me when I heard it, but the more I ponder it, the more it makes sense.

He said that he would frequently need to use a bank of elevators at work and there was no way to tell which of the three would open for him. While he waited, he asked God (Holy Spirit) to tell him which one would come. He said that it got to the point where he could say which one would open with about 98% accuracy. He acknowledged that the information he was asking for had no bearing on anything. It was absolutely useless information, but it trained him in what Gods voice sounded like. Over time, he was able to say without a doubt whether or not the voice he heard, any any given subject, was God.

The Bible says that sheep know their masters voice. My uncle suggested that we can mute that voice, which can make it difficult to recognize when we start listening again, thus forcing us to learn His voice again. 

Mike Richardson, Google+:

+Bill Kraski I agree that, given the circumstances, we can interpret any of the 5 things to our own benefit despite the fact that God may be saying the opposite.

It's very difficult to give a formula for hearing from God. In Luke 1:18, Zechariah had what seemed like a reasonable request for confirmation and was stricken mute. But in Judges 6, Gideon basically puts God through a confirmation obstacle course and God does everything asked without issue.

It seems the best advice may be to direct people to God. Invite them to seek Him out for answers. A list of how to do that can allow people to focus on specific methods and lose focus on the One providing the answers.

I think, at times, God uses any of those items on that list (and prayer should also be on there) but he doesn't have to. He knows us best. He knows how to communicate best with us. In my experience, if I'm genuinely seeking Him (and willing to do what He says even if it conflicts with my desires), He's not trying to be as mysterious as possible. He knows that'll only confuse me. :)

Peter Watt, Google+:

I think each of us will be challenged at different times in our lives for that holiness. It is definitely the Holy Spirit that will convict us. It will be the Holy Spirit that is sitting with you when you remember that you have not resolved a conflict with your neighbor or with you when you decide not to give back the extra change (mistaken) you received in the check out line.


Further comments are welcome.  Particularly those regarding how to explain to someone headed in the wrong direction how they're subjectively misinterpreting those five tests of whether we're hearing from God.

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