I have heard wives comment on their husbands that their husband is not hard of hearing but just has selective hearing. I’m sure that that fits me from time to time. Maybe you are also afflicted with this condition. The main symptom is the ability to hear only what you want to hear. It’s a convenient ailment, however it’s not generally very helpful to a relationship.
As it turns out the Lord has much to speak to you and me if we will take the time to listen. In the listening, a deeper spiritual relationship will develop and new insights are gained. So what exactly is the Lord saying? How do we hear Him?
Firstly, we have the scriptures. These are the logos words of God. Logos means the written word of God. Essentially words on paper. A typical English translation of the Bible, and there are quite a few, contain about 780,000 words. That is a lot of words! We can take them little by little, day by day, and learn just what it is that the Lord would want to speak to us. I have been on some reading plans that will take you through the entire Bible in one year.
Currently, I’m using a more relaxed approach, perhaps a more intimate plan, of reading smaller pieces of scripture but trying to understand deeper what God wants me to hear. It is great to have a goal to read the whole Bible but be cautious of missing what you need to hear. In some cases quality is inadvertently sacrificed for quantity. Occasionally a single verse may be all that you need to meditate on, so let that be okay, and hear what God is speaking to you.
This brings us to the Rhema which is the spoken word of the Lord. This is the living or breathed word of God. This is kind of like the difference between a text message or a phone call from a friend. The logos word, although it is the inspired word of God, can sometimes be seen only as raw information, like a history book or a dictionary. But when life and breath lift the logos it becomes the Rhema. I have read some verses probably a hundred times, and they were meaningful, and all of the sudden one day one of those verses may hit me like never before. It has become Rhema, new understanding, depth, meaning. How did I not see that before? The spirit gave it life! The word became living. This is God speaking. In the gospels Jesus oftentimes said after telling a parable,”he who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
In the book of Revelation Jesus says,”He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…” Our God is not silent, He speaks to us daily, but we need to have ears to hear. In the gospel of John 16:7-15, Jesus tells His disciples that it is to our advantage that He would go to heaven so that we then could be filled with the Holy Spirit which He would send. Then Jesus says the Spirit will speak and tell you things to come. So then it seems that God does indeed communicate with us through the logos, Rhema, and the Spirit. It is important to know that these three are in agreement so that they will never conflict with each other. It’s a simple way to judge a word that you may think that the spirit is speaking to you; if it is contrary to scripture, the logos, the written word of God, then it is not the holy spirit speaking to you.
Also throughout the Bible God speaks through dreams and visions. In addition to all of that, powerful words sometimes come from other people who may not even realize that they are being used by God to deliver a certain truth. A child may say something so profound that it causes an adult to reconsider their relationship with Christ for example. As a personal testimony I can tell you that many years ago my wife and I were seeking the Lord regarding a very important, possibly life altering decision. As we were traveling on an interstate highway and prayfully discussing the subject we went through an underpass which someone had graffitied with the simple phrase, “Trust Jesus.” This became the final confirmation that we needed to make our decision.Within six weeks all that we were wondering about came into place and our lives were forever changed.
The point to all of this is to be open to hear the voice of God speak to you. You are deeply loved by God, and you’re not left abandoned and alone. Listen as He speaks to you today.
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak…” Palm 85:8.
The writer is the pastor of Christ the King Church near Jackson Center.