If you have been saved, if you have given your life to Christ, if you have invited Jesus into your heart, you have already heard the voice of God, which is the Holy Spirit. You have already been in contact with Him, you have felt Him move within your spirit and your soul. He spoke to you and you spoke to Him. And He has been there ever since and will be there evermore. How great is that?
But there’s so much more to it.
To hear the Holy Spirit, you’ve got to be listening. You have to know what He sounds like in order to hear Him.
Iused to have a quiet time first thing in the morning. This was way back in the day when my kids were growing up. I had a full-time job (and I know a lot of you can relate to this) so I had to cram all of my home time around my job. To accommodate the quiet time, I got up an hour early to pray. I had a small notebook with pages upon pages of people and situations to pray for. Once you got on my list, you didn't get off. Even dying didn't take you off, because then I prayed for your family. So there!
And being a dutiful pray-er, I would ask God what He wanted from me. Most times I would go on and on about how I wanted to be used by Him, suggesting different things that I was interested in. But sometimes – sometimes – I would shut up and just listen. Be still. Try not to think of anything.
Well, of course, I would have these random thoughts go through my head. "Got to remember to take the chicken out of the freezer for tonight." "I wonder if Alice ever found her other shoe." "Surely Mark has finally picked up his room by now." "I need to tell David about that funny noise the car is making."
Or people's names would float through my mind, or their circumstances, or something I had planned in the future. "I hope Mable is feeling better." "I wonder if Randy got that job he applied for." "The preacher looked a little pale last Sunday. I hope he's okay." And I would try my best to ignore them all. They were intruding upon my quiet time, and we couldn't have that, now, could we?
One day it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, those thoughts were the answers I had been looking for. I had asked God to use me. And then I ignored his directions to me. Perhaps I thought of Mable because she could use a call from me or a note to cheer her up. I could call Randy and ask about his job situation. I could stop by the church office and look in on the preacher.
I came to treat those thoughts of names and circumstances as holy thoughts, promptings by the Holy Spirit to do what I could to love the ones he had brought to my mind. And it occurred to me that when somebody's name just popped into my head at any time, those were holy thoughts, too. A quick e-mail, a check of somebody's home page to leave a comment of encouragement, maybe simply a quick prayer offered up in the midst of a busy day.
So, see? You have already heard the voice of the Holy Spirit. You'll hear it again. Just listen…