I can’t tell you what the song was or the exact lyrics, but that was the point that came to me when I was asking God how do I give up a friend. As in, how do I stop worrying or obsessing about a friend? How do I leave him at the foot of the cross?
Focus on the kingdom
It seems clear that it was the answer, what God wanted me to hear. But how do you know that kind of stuff? How do you hear God’s voice or feel His pull in your life? How do I know it isn’t me?
Let’s go back to the first time I heard God’s voice in my life. I think I was 17 years old(ish), a junior in high school. I had constantly prayed for God to speak to me in any way. I had felt comforted by God and had felt convicted by God, but I knew there was something just a little bit more. How do I get so close to God that I can hear His voice?
Well, let’s think logically: What keeps us away from God? What separates us from Him?
Sin. (Duh, Jaymie, are you going to teach me anything?)
So sin keeps us away from God. So to be closer to God, we can of course start with reading His Word and praying with Him and developing close relationships with other Christians, but we have to remove sin. We can’t just ignore it. The Bible makes it really clear that we are saved while we are sinners but that when we accept Christ into our lives that we should act accordingly. Want to get closer to God? Remove sin.
So what was wrong with me? Oh. Right. I HATED this girl Genesis. We hadn’t spoken in years, but the sound of her voice made my nerves flush with hatred. It was pretty intense… and scary. I had to leave when she walked up to my friends it was so bad. Was that keeping me from God?
I talked to one of my new Christian friends about it (they come in handy for stuff like that) and he thought I should do something about it. It was unhealthy anyway. But see, I felt I had reason to hate her guts. And in the world’s eyes, I did. But that doesn’t make it not a sin. It doesn’t make me any less far from the LORD, who is perfect and holy.
So with a mutual friend, I met with her at Starbucks across from our high school. She was hurt and angry just like I was. I said sorry, which wasn’t good enough to her and it made sense. I had done deep damage to myself and to her. I still wonder if I used to make her blood boil the way she made mine. I knew God was there that day, holding onto my hand. I didn’t hear Him or see Him, but I knew it because I wasn’t going psycho. And I forgave her. I FORGAVE HER. And when I said sorry, I meant it. I realized that I had hurt her too. And that she had hurt me. And while we knew we were never going to be best friends again like in 7th grade, we made amends.
The next Thursday I was at a youth group. And during worship I heard three words in my heart.
I love you
It was different from knowing or feeling that God loved me. I felt Him whisper it into my heart. Over and over that night. I love you. I love you. I love you, daughter. I love you, Jaymie. I love you.
The first time I could hear God and He was whispering words that He had been whispering my whole life. That He loved me. And how DESPERATELY He wanted me to know it.
I don’t like to say that I felt it but I cannot say that I physically heard it. So I say that I “knew it” in my heart. Like how I felt about APU. It was more than a feeling but less than words out loud. But I KNEW it. There was no doubt on what it was that was telling me these things.
I don’t always know. Sometimes I can hear my own voice. Sometimes I hear an evil voice that I believe belongs to an angel of Satan, calling me worthless among other things.
Now Moses? He legitimately heard the voice of God- as it, it came from the sky or the fire and all that. But Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit and that is how we hear God now. And the Holy Spirit, God, is active in us. He loves us.
A lot of time just following Scripture is what God wants. You wake up – what does God want me to do today? I don’t need the Holy Spirit to remind me to love my neighbors (though sometimes I’m being so ignorant that He reminds me anyway).
God works in interesting ways. The more we know Him and the closer we are to Him, the better. Some good ideas for that are
– Praying – Reading the Bible (HIS WRITTEN WORD) – Removing sin.
Each person is different and there’s no formula to plug-in and get done.
Do you have other ideas? What was your first experience in hearing God’s voice – or have you heard it at all? Leave me some comments below about it.