God whispers to a man named Abram in Genesis 12 and tells him to leave everything he’s ever known: his family, his family name, his race, his history…on the promise of a better future. If you know the story, he ends up leaving his old name, and adopting one God gives him. He follows this whisper to the point of putting his one-and-only-son, Isaac, on the altar. You’ll have to read the story to see how that ends.
Think about how crazy that is! That’s why Abraham was known as a man of faith. He followed the leading of God’s whisper, even when he couldn’t see what God was up to or how it would end.
When I say whisper, I mean a tugging of your heart, an impression in your soul of a certain direction.
John 16:13 tells us some very comforting news. Jesus says, “…When the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth…and He will tell you things to come.”
That means that in a very real way, God still speaks to His people. We can hear his voice. Sound too mystical? Well let’s get practical. In Part 2 of the “what if” series, I gave five filters to test your “whisper” with:
Five Filters: Ask God
1. “Is this whisper really from you, God?”
2. “Is it scriptural?”
3. “Is it wise?”
4. “Does it seem to align with my design?”
5. “Do my closest Christ-following friends agree that it’s your voice?”
If you want to know more about those five filters, check out the sermon here: https://youtu.be/XwMxXPB7al4
But let’s say you’re not getting a whisper anymore. What could be causing this?
Three Blockers to the Voice of God:
1. He has already told you what to do.
So many times God has already given you a whisper, but you didn’t like what you heard, so you ignored it. You go on for a while and start to feel dry. You feel like your “prayers are bouncing off of the ceiling.” You can’t remember the last time you felt His presence, and you even feel yourself growing angry with Him.
I tell people who are having a hard time hearing the voice of God to go back to the last thing He told you to do, and search your soul to see if you actually completed it.
This reminds me of a video game where you think you’ve done everything that you were supposed to do, and you’re running around the map looking to “get to the next level,” but it doesn’t open up to you. And it’s so annoying to backtrack, but when you do, you usually find that you missed a very small but important piece of the puzzle that you just kinda skipped over.
So go back to the last thing He told you to do and see if you’ve completed that mission.
-Have you forgiven that person (I mean REALLY forgiven)?
-Did He tell you to give the $20-dollar-bill in your pocket to that person, but you just ignored it?
-Did He nudge you to help out in your church, but you dug your heels in and coasted along instead?
Sin is an intimacy blocker and will choke the life-giving-presence of God right out of you. In the Parable of the Sower, one of the reasons that the seed didn’t make it to maturity was because it got “choked out” by the thick roots of the rose bush, which Jesus interprets as “the cares of this world.” Some could interpret that to mean sin.
You may have experienced this. You’re going along in a deep, love-filled, intimate relationship with God. His voice is guiding you every day, His presence is so sweet, every time you open the Bible, it leaps to life, you have supernatural “words” for people to help them along their journey….
And then that old sin pops up…
The next thing you know, you feel dry and shut off to God’s presence. It’s not that God moved…you did.
It’s literally like your spirit is being choked out on the wrestling mat. Sin’s grip is around your throat and you begin to fade. Everything of the spirit grows dark. You start to pull in, and if you stay there too long, you’ll pass out. Stay there even longer, and you’re spirit will be strangled to death.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been “choked out,” but it is the strangest thing. As you’re fading, you lose strength. You lose this drive to keep going. You just kinda lose hope, give up, and go limp.
Sin could be anything listed in Galatians 5:19-21, that says, “19 Now the actions of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Wonder why you can’t hear God’s voice anymore? Sin is a “whisper killer.”
3. Fear of what He might say
This last one is where we ignore God because He has been putting His thumb on something that we don’t think we have the strength to do. We are afraid, even terrified. Again, His voice becomes distant. That sweet Presence isn’t there anymore. Worship time at church feels like a set of nice songs, or “just a playlist.” You become the grumpy older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, pointing out everyone else’s flaws. You lose your empathy. You stop seeing your own faults in situations, and awing that plank lodged in your eye around every time you turn around. Life looses its color, its flavor, its lightheartedness, its fun.
The most miserable people are Christians who stayed in one place too long. They were too afraid to do what God was whispering for them to do, so they just kinda hid. They “stayed in the boat” while the Peter’s of their life stepped out on the water. And instead of saying, “wow that was really brave,” they start looking at Peter’s sandal choice that day, or the way he was wearing his “skinny-robes” too tight, or how he was so inconsiderate of those who stayed in the boat by making them look bad, because he had to be “the center of attention AGAIN.”
It may take all the courage in the world to go to the throne of God and say, “you got me. I know what you want me to do,” and submit to that. You may find the floodgates of heaven open up once again!
-He may be asking you to admit to that person what you did.
-to stand up to a bully.
-to have that confrontation you’ve been avoiding, knowing it may get ugly.
-He may be impressing on you to quit that job and trust Him for your next step.
-or leave that girlfriend
-send in that book proposal
-schedule the first appointment with a trusted Christian counselor
-tell a person they hurt you
-or “go to a land that you know not,”
…and you just have to trust Him.
Here’s the deal. God wants you to hear him. As the song, “pieces” says, He doesn’t hide Himself to “tease us.” In fact, He says in Jeremiah that we “Will find him.”
Here’s God’s promise to His people:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD…
WHAT IF….WE LIVED A “WHISPER-LED LIFE?”