Where we live in the Tampa Bay Area we are surrounded by water on all sides. Anytime we are driving from one place to the next, there is a pretty good chance that you will have to use a bridge to go over some body of water. One of the most famous bridges in our area is called the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If you’ve never seen it or driven over this massive icon, the Skyway Bridge is 430 feet tall and is the is considered the longest cable stayed concrete bridges in the world. For work, I have the opportunity to drive over the Skyway about once and week and I notice something every time I get to the top of the bridge: I lose cell phone service. Now I know this sounds weird because at 430 feet above the ground I should have perfect cell phone service, but something about the bridge and crossing Tampa Bay causes my phone to either lose all service or go down to only one bar. If I happen to be on the phone, hands free of course, when I start my ascent up the bridge, the person on the other end sounds like an old radio transmitter. I get bits and pieces of the conversation, but nothing more than that. It’s not until my car starts its decent on the other side of the bridge that I begin to hear what the other person is saying clearly again. Sometimes, I feel like our conversations with GOD are like my phone conversations crossing the Skyway Bridge. On my end, I am speaking clearly and I can hear myself, but on GOD’s end I’m only picking up bits and pieces. Like my cell phone with zero bars, I don’t know if GOD’s actually speaking because I can't hear anything through my receiver. I know that many Christians feel the same way and that is why I wanted to write this blog post in our “Back to Basics” series. I believe that GOD speaks to us in more ways than we know, but we aren’t tuned in to how He is speaking. Let’s look at 3 simple ways that GOD speaks directly to you and identify those moments so that you can be better prepared to hear the direction of our Creator.
1. Reading your Bible
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalms 119:105 NLT
GOD is always speaking to us. Maybe not verbally, but He is always speaking through His written word. In America, we have the amazing opportunity to have the Word of GOD, the Bible, at our fingertips whenever we want. Whether it's the physical book, online, or in the Bible App, the Bible is readily available at all times and in all places. Throughout the 66 books of the Bible, GOD is speaking in every one of them. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with the wisdom, direction, and even humor of GOD. When we read the Bible, we are not just reading a book, but we are reading the actual words of GOD. Have you ever noticed that when a certain situation has come up in your life and you go to read the Bible, what you are going through seems to show up in the pages you are reading? I know that I have. That is GOD speaking directly to you through the pages of your Bible. Don’t discount the Word of GOD as just a good book to live by. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of GOD is “living and active” and “it exposes our innermost thoughts and motives.” You could say the Bible is our cell phone to Heaven connecting us directly to GOD our Father. When you question whether or not you are hearing GOD, open up your Bible and see what His Word says about your specific situation. Your physical Bible has a concordance in the back and Bible apps give you the ability to search for anything you want.
2. Through other people
“Teach a wise man what is right and he’ll grow even wiser. Instruct the lovers of God and they’ll learn even more.” Proverbs 9:9 TPT
Many times GOD will use other people to speak directly to us. Whether it's a pastor's sermon, the counsel of a close friend, or even a strangers quick conversation, GOD oftentimes speaks through those around us. In my own life, I have seen where the words of my wife have been the wisdom of GOD in many different situations. In other situations, the words from a podcast or sermon have touched my life and spoken something directly to me. In one moment I might be stressing about bills or expenses and then GOD will bring me across a particular podcast where the preacher is urging listeners to remember the promises of GOD on provision and abundance. Instantly I realize that GOD is speaking to me through that podcast and reminding me of His promises over my life. In the scripture referenced above, Solomon is urging an already wise man to listen and be taught so that he can become wiser. What is the secret to becoming wiser? Listen to wise people. How do we hear the voice of ultimate wisdom which is GOD the Father? Listen to the wisdom that He has put in other people.
3. In your heart
“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.
Hebrews 1:2 NLT
The most common way that GOD speaks to you and to me is through the Holy Spirit Who lives on the inside of us. In order for us to hear the voice of GOD, we have to put ourselves into position to hear His voice clearly. If you read one of our recent posts, “How do I study the Bible (click here to read)” you’ll remember that one point to having good study time is to put away all distractions. The same is true for hearing the voice of GOD. When you have a conversation with someone, can you really hear them if you are constantly looking at your phone or watching TV? In the same way, how can we hear the voice of GOD if we are surrounding ourselves with distractions in our prayer time. There’s a difference between distracting ourselves and distractions around us. We can push through the distractions around us and focus solely on talking and listening to GOD, but it's much harder to hear GOD’s voice when we are the ones putting the distractions in place. A book that I highly recommend is “The GOD I never knew” by Pastor Robert Morris (click here to buy on Amazon) which dives deeper into recognizing and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.
GOD is always speaking, the question is are we listening? Through His Word, other people, and the Holy Spirit, GOD is always giving us opportunities to hear His voice.
Over the next several weeks and months, Anchor Movement is going to focus on a series called “Back to the Basics” where we answer and define what it actually means to be a Christian. We want to answer some of the questions that new and old believers have in their walk of faith. Some examples include, “How to study the Bible,” and “Why should I go to church.” If you have a question you’d like us to answer or explore on the blog, go to our connect page and leave your response or visit our Instagram page here and leave your response in the comments.