Have you ever wondered if God speaks to you, and how to know when He does?
The book of Jeremiah in the Bible starts out with a fascinating conversation between God and Jeremiah. Two major things stood out to me from the first chapter (Jeremiah 1:4-19):
1) God plans before we are born what our purpose will be and wants to reveal it to us. He lovingly and strategically designed us to live a unique life that brings Him much glory and us much fulfillment.
2) God not only speaks to us, He converses with us. Jeremiah didn’t understand why God would give him the purpose He did and told God so. God didn’t rebuke him, but answered Jeremiah with the promise of His presence and help for all He was calling Jeremiah to be and do.
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If you have difficulty knowing when God is speaking to you, remember:
1) God will never tell us something contrary to His written Word. I don’t know about you, but this motivates me to know His Word, cover to cover. Scripture interprets Scripture, and the more we understand one portion, the more clarity it will bring to another.
2) God always speaks to us in words that bring hope, never in ways that cause us to despair. Years ago, I read this quote by Roy Lessin, helping me to discern God’s voice:
“When the Good Shepherd speaks to His own, He never uses words of despair, hopelessness, frustration, defeat, discouragement, fear, confusion, or failure. Instead, He gives His sheep words of hope, rest, victory, peace, power, joy, triumph, and love.” —Roy Lessin
Bottom line is this: if you belong to Jesus, His Spirit lives in you, and you can learn to tune your ear to hear Him. Ask Him to teach you!
By the way, DO you belong to Jesus?
I often assume everyone I’m writing to knows what it means to be a Christian — a follower of Jesus. But just in case you don’t, it’s very simple.
When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:25-34).
Contrary to what many think, being a Christian is not at all about following rules and trying to be good. When you believe in Jesus and that He died to make you sinless and blameless before God, you enter into a relationship with Him. His Spirit fills you, changing you over time from the inside out.
You’ve Been Tweeked!
Speaking of knowing whether it is God (or the enemy of your soul) speaking to you, did you know that, either way, you’ve been tweeked!?
My nephew Joel recently gave me a little booklet with that title by Bruce Lengeman (affiliate link). It’s a short fable about an imaginary author named Irving MacDonald who stumbled into the brain of an equally imaginary man named Elvin Greble.
Irving first encounters a worker from Scam, Inc. — a company desperate to derail people from their God-given destiny. Irving learns that Scam’s techniques include imposing “tweekers” into the minds of its victims — lies to make them feel shame and regret, think they’re at the mercy of circumstances, hold grudges, be discontent, believe their value is in what they do rather than who they are, and care more about what other people think of them than what God thinks.
But then Irving also encounters Destiny Control which has its own tweekers, but these are very different. They are nuggets of truth that include, “You are a valuable person,” Failure is just a step toward success,” “What people think doesn’t really matter, only what God thinks,” “Serious mistakes don’t disqualify you from being forgiven,” and “Outward image is not valuable to your true destiny.”
While this little booklet seems to no longer be in print, at the end of the story Irving performs a life-changing exercise that we can all do: Make two lists — one of the negative “tweekers” that play in your mind that discourage you, and another of positive “tweekers” that encourage you. A great source for encouraging “tweekers” is the Bible.
And, if you need a little encouragement from that very Book for doing this little excercise, Romans 12:2 reinforces this concept of replacing negative thoughts (lies) with positive ones (truth) so that we can know and pursue our God-given destiny: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Switch On Your Brain
Speaking of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones to renew our minds, I would again like to highly recommend the book, Switch On Your Brain (affiliate link) by Dr. Carolyn Leaf which I talk more about here.