A Formula for Hearing God’s Voice
What can I do to hear God’s voice on a regular basis? Is there something that I need to do, some “formula” that I need to have in order to access the voice of God?
Well, this final question has been discussed a lot in Dr. Willard’s book and the short answer is no, there is no formula that a person needs in order to access God’s voice.
Yet, Dr. Willard does have a section at the end of Chapter 9 entitled “A Formula for Living with God’s Voice.”
Did you notice the title of his section? It was not a formula for hearing God’s voice, it is a formula for living with God’s voice.
Therein, lies the difference.
He states that hearing from God is not some gimmick, some obsession or some “formula”; it is a lifestyle that includes contact with God.
First comes the lifestyle change.
It is almost a test we have to pass. If we can show God we are serious enough to live a life devoted to Him, He will give us His words. “Hearing His word in a life surrendered and brought to maturity by Him” is a prerequisite [Willard, 213].
Nevertheless, Dr. Willard consents to giving us steps to hear from God and the first two are what he calls “foundational.”
Entering into an additional life by an additional birth is step one to the foundation. To do this, we take steps to do what is morally right and what is commanded by God. To do this we have to sharpen our intention about our lives. We have to take steps to do what we need to do in order to grow in our knowledge about God. The key word here is intention. I have read other work by Dr. Willard and he uses the word intention a lot. It means aim or purpose. It means setting a goal for our life.
To be perfectly blunt, if you are a squishy Christian who does not commit to church, Bible reading, study and learning about God, you are likely to not hear from God. If you don’t know what you believe or you don’t know what is expected of you in this world you are likely to not hear from God. If you don’t realize that you are set aside in the Kingdom of God to further His presence on earth, you are likely not to hear from God.
Step two of the foundation is seeking the fullness of the new life in Christ. Whatever you can do in this life pales in comparison with what you can do with God. Our natural powers combined with God’s “upholding power” can make us more than we ever imagined we could be. Life is a process of moving us from glory to glory as we find God more and more faithful. We can experience more and more of what life has to offer if we believe in God and we back up that belief with action. Our ability to act in God’s behalf can be surprising.
Dr. Willard cites Romans 1:17: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
A person who is trying to grow is surprised by the continual growth of the Christian life. Just when you think you have enough, God shows you more. Just when you think you are doing your best work, God shows you how to perform better. Just when you love Him as much as you think you can, He shows you a deeper love, a more dedicated love that connects you to Him even more.
God has a plan for you and me, a plan that is based on a new life, a plan that asks for change. As part of that plan, He asks us to be committed to growing and committed to learning. God has a plan for you and me based on us trying to do better in our lives. He wants us to join Him in His work. He wants us to connect with Him so we can be better believers, better doers and better proclaimers of His Gospel.
Like a good house, it is based on its foundation. Similarly , a good Christian life is based on its foundation, a foundation of commitment to growth and a foundation of acting on behalf of God.