LISTENING is the true art and mastery of prayer, but the mere fact of listening also requires discernment… much!
This is an article more about prayer than about voices inside our heads — for those concerned about feeling schizophrenic. These ‘voices’ we hear are really our thoughts as we’re listening along, trying to be guided how to live our lives. The trouble is we’re so easily confused as to where these thoughts come from (God or the enemy) and where they might take us.
Because we have so little information about all the dynamics we’d otherwise need to be aware of in life, we make assumptions. When we act on the basis of a little information, padded out by assumptions, our destiny is fraught.
So, these ‘voices’ or thoughts we get, in the flow of our real lives, can be very harmful. But they can also be helpful, if we’re hearing from God, himself. So very often we aren’t. Bear this in mind.
I know in my own life the amount of times I’ve acted on thoughts I got that I thought were good — from God. My actions always back-fired, no matter how well intended they were, when my thoughts weren’t from the Spirit.
So this is more about screening our thoughts by discernment. We can know these things:
1. God’s voice does not condemn us, but it does speak truth, and that may involve temporary humiliation. God affirms us and never cuts us down. God saves us and won’t surrender us to evil forces. But we must choose to discern his voice.
2. Satan is the Accuser and his voice accuses. Whenever we start saying to ourselves, “Yeah, look at how useless, stupid and worthless you are… what a joke,” we can know where that thought come from — Satan, not God.
3. God’s voice might caution us to pray about matters, to search more the Word (particularly Proverbs), or to see a valued and trusted mentor — even a combination of these. God wants us to slow down and wait before doing anything decisive that might bring harm to others or to ourselves.
4. Satan speaks words of fear ever subtly into our subconscious, so we act on these thoughts without even thinking. They too easily become us. Too easily we begin to believe horrible things about ourselves, what others might think, and worse, what God might think. Then, if we don’t act on repelling these thoughts, they can compel us to take regrettable action.
5. God’s Spirit speaks in truth and love. No matter what we’ve done, God speaks in soft and accepting tones. How wonderful that the Spirit admonishes us in ways we hear the truth yet know we’re loved.
The voice of God in our thoughts, as we listen, is a truthful, safe and loving voice, giving good things.
God’s voice vitalises our lives in truth and love. Satan’s voice violates us by lies and fear.
God’s voice in our thoughts is good for us. It is truth. It is love.
God speaks truth lovingly. Sometimes truth is very hard to hear. But God’s voice helps us grow through the pain of a truth that’s hard to bear. God is acceptance in that pain.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.