I first learned to discern God’s voice when I realized that it is the Holy Spirit’s voice together with mine that cries out to God, “Abba, Father.” God taught me this when He opened my eyes to the truths of Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15.
Galatians 4:6 (NKJV) says:
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
And Romans 8:15 (NKJV) says:
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
Long before I learned to discern God’s voice, I realized that I hungered for God deep in my heart. I identified this hunger with the sentiment echoed in Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15, that as children of God, we cry out to Him in our spirits like young children cry out to their earthly fathers. The fact that I recognized this hunger for God in me served as corroborating evidence that I really was a child of God.
But I did not realize that God Himself was the source of my hunger for Him. Then, God opened my eyes to the truth of the Scriptures. From Galatians 4:6, He taught me that He sent the Spirit of His Son into my heart, and that His Spirit cries out, “Abba, Father.” He taught me that Galatians 4:6 is not about my spirit crying out to God, but it is about Jesus’ Spirit in me crying out to Him. From Romans 8:15, God taught me that my cries to God are by way of the Holy Spirit. He taught me that Romans 8:15 is not about Jesus’ Spirit in me crying out to God, it is about me crying out to God by way of Jesus’ Spirit.
Being confronted with these truths, I realized for the first time that God’s voice is discernable, and that I am able to discern it. I hear Him when He cries out, “Abba, Father.” Not only do I hear Him, but I also join Him when He cries out to God. In effect, He leads me in my cries to God.
Stop for a second and think about this. The Spirit of Almighty God expresses His personal affections to God the Father from inside our hearts in a way that is discernable by us. And not only do we discern His cries automatically, we join Him in those cries. And we identify so closely with His sentiments that we may not even realize that our cries originate with God. But if we make the effort, we can discern the truth that they originate with Him and not with us. And if we make this effort, and if we discover that our hunger for God originates with Him, then we have learned to discern God’s voice. This is a good place to be.
To be continued…