How to Receive God’s Word

At all of our services yesterday (in-person and online) we posed this question based on the contrast between Moses and Pharaoh: will you respond to God’s word with humble obedience or prideful defiance? While Moses certainly questioned God and was reluctant to follow, he ultimately submitted his will and obeyed God’s word.

However, unlike Moses, most of us don’t have God’s audible voice coming to us in a miraculous burning bush. So, if we are going to talk about responding to God’s word, we need to be sure that we understand how to receive his word. God loves us and wants to instruct and counsel us in our lives (Ps 32:8). How do we hear him? I’ve always liked Nicky Gumbel’s easy-to-remember explanation. He says that there are 5 ways that God speaks to us. Here’s just a quick guide for you today.

Commanding Scripture – The #1 way that God speaks to us is through the Bible. It doesn’t tell us explicitly which choice to make in a job search or the name of the person we should marry. However, if you read the Bible (and keep at it), you will find that the scriptures shape your view of the world in ways that make discerning God’s path for you much, much easier. I encourage you to make regular Bible reading a part of your life. You will find that God’s direction for you becomes much clearer. Try downloading Bible in One Year app to get started.

Compelling Spirit – When you walk with Christ, when you regularly seek his guidance in prayer, you’ll find that the small nudge of the Holy Spirit often guides you in the right direction.

Counsel of the Saints – The wisdom of your Christian brothers and sisters can be invaluable as you attempt to hear God’s word for your life. Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted Christian friends during seasons of discernment. As long as their advice is in step with scripture, it can be a helpful confirmation.

Common Sense – As a general rule, don’t abandon common sense. Sometimes God calls 80-year-old shepherds to lead a nation to freedom, but generally he calls people to faithful, ordinary service to him – a long obedience in the same direction.

Circumstantial Signs – One last way that we can watch for God’s direction is in small circumstances that might confirm something that we’ve already been perceiving.

I hope that this helps you to raise your antennae to God’s word and direction for your life and that you’ll respond with humble obedience.


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