Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of His benefits!
– Psalm 103:2
One of the many benefits that Christians have is our access to the living God and our ability to hear from Him as our Father. It’s an advantage that far too many take for granted, or neglect completely, though He leads and guides; directs and encourages, even warns. His voice is loud on some occasions, and soft on others, as He reveals and chastens, reminds, and convicts. He is the good Shepherd who speaks to us in our ear; through Scripture; through dreams; situations and, through people. He speaks, and we each have an opportunity to respond to what He says.
Many years ago, when I did not know that God spoke to His own so intimately, I would often hear believer’s say, in a sundry of ways, “God told me…” The reality of the immortal and invisible God engaging carnal man was intriguing; but after reading how God initiated a conversation with Abram (Genesis 12) and spoke to Moses, face to face, as a man speaks to a friend (Exodus 33), I wanted the same. To read how Jesus said the sheep would know His voice (John 10:27), and see how God gave specific direction to Ananias, in Acts 9, and specific information to the prophets, made me yearn for that kind of relationship!
And so, after day and night reading of Scripture, and crying out nightly to hear from Him there came in the early morning or very late-night a call that penetrated my REM. He spoke. I heard Him call my name. And in response, I rose with an alarmed but simple, “Yes!” His charge loud and clear—“Will you pray?” And, without delay, I jumped like a soldier at attention, knelt by my bed, and began praying. It was a simple request and a quick-to-obey response.
And, from that time until the present, I have known the blessing of hearing His voice, and the meaning of a healthy relationship with God when there is obedience to His leading. Even more, the synergy found within the Godhead is why I am convinced that the same blessing is possible for every believer.
John 12:49 says, “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” These are the words of Jesus and it is the best example of what a life yielded to the Father looks like. John 16:13 then tells us that the Spirit of Truth “will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak.” Again, an example of obedience at the will of the Father. Inherent in Jesus’s and the Holy Spirit’s hearing and obeying is Their oneness or relationship with the Father. Thus, life in Christ is the greatest benefit when we, as believers hear and heed the Father’s voice.
And, on any given day that excuses replace obedience, no matter how valid those excuses are, I have found that my ability to hear His most coveted voice becomes harder to discern and know. And yet, I have also found that my obedience to His voice fosters unforgettable benefits—the kind that causes me to confidently say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul!”
Father, I repent for the times when You spoke but I did not listen or prioritize Your will. Forgive me, Lord. I believe Your grace is sufficient for my life, so I pray that You would give me ears to hear what Your Spirit is saying, and a heart that is tender to follow Your leading, without my excuses. May I hear and know Your voice and become deaf to the voice of the stranger and deceiver because I am Yours and You are mine. Remember now Your covenant with me, Lord and speak for Your son/daughter is listening. In Jesus’ name.
Ministry Fellow, CU Nova (Princeton University)
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