We need to refine our
ability to discern God’s voice. Because
we are so unfamiliar with it, we struggle to recognize it at first.
We may experience more failure than success.
Yet we must struggle to grow. To shrink
from failure is to remain immature in our faith.
So, as we listen for God, we
recognize that some other foolish thing is likely to pop into our minds
instead. We acknowledge that it may seem impossible to distinguish the foolish
or fleshly from the God-initiated. We
try to deal with this problem by sharing with others the impressions we
receive, judging them against what God does subsequently and in view of the
In some cases, there may be
no correlation between what you thought God was saying and what actually
happens. However, in other cases, the
specificity of what you have been shown in prayer lines up so well with what
God does, there can be no doubt that God has spoken to you. When you see that God actually did speak, not
only does your faith in him grow, but your faith in your own ability to hear
grows as well.
Because we can be so fallible
in our hearing, one moment interpreting our stray thoughts as directives and
the next writing off the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we need to start paying
attention to our thought life. To grow
in this skill of distinguishing between your impressions of God’s voice and
your own thoughts, you have to take some risks.
It’s like riding a bicycle. You
have to be willing to take a few falls in order to master it. You have to be willing to say, ‘These may
just be my own thoughts and not God speaking, but this is the impression I
We learn by taking risks – no risks, no
increasing of your trust. No trust, no ‘getting on the bicycle.’ No getting on
the bicycle, no progress.