One thing in my mind lately is clearly hearing the Lord. There are so many voices shouting at us. Our flesh, the world, our friends and family, the media and of course the devil. So how do we as Christians have confidence in hearing God’s voice?
The most obvious way is His Word. As we study it and soak in it, we can know right away if something is pleasing to Him or not. I remember the story of how U.S Mint employees are trained to catch a counterfeit bill. They study the real thing. Then when the fake comes across their desk, it is easy to spot.
Another way is by God’s peace. His peace that passes our understanding speaks volumes when we are trying to find guidance. Sometimes something happens that “just doesn’t taste right.” My logic says it’s ok but I just can’t put my finger on the problem. It’s a check in my spirit that tells me not to proceed. Remember when Paul tried to go to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit stopped him (Acts 16:7)? I believe he may have been stopped by the loss of his peace.
The third way is found in the circumstances. If God’s Word and His peace line up, but the circumstances do not, I hold off on going forward. I once knew a man who said that when God called him to be a missionary to Peru, he sold everything he had. Nine years later, he finally went to Peru! God may very well be leading in a certain direction, but the timing must be right. Sometimes His answer is wait.
I believe we can make it more difficult than it really is. As His sheep we hear His voice while abiding in Him. By waiting for His word, His peace and the circumstances to line up, we can trust Him to open or close the doors of His will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5, 6).