The first key a lifestyle of conversation with God is learning to be instead of do. Doing and being are two very different things. Simply put, doing encompasses all we do for God, things like attending a small group, volunteering, reaching out in the community, serving on committees, and the like. It can even include Bible-reading,church attendance, and prayer—if we are doing these things without a heart connection to the Father.
In other words, doing is anything we do that does not develop intimacy with God. By contrast, being is learning to be still before God and spend time with Him. This is how we cultivate real relationship. We communicate, spending time with Him, listening to Him, and resting in His presence.
This is how intimacy is built—in human relationships and in our relationship with God. Through learning to be in our relationship with Him, we discover peace, rest, and confidence in Him.
This is a central part of our faith, yet the sad fact is that many Christians do not know how to connect to the Father’s heart or recognize His presence. Often, this is simply because they have not been taught about the presence of God. They see Him as their Lord and Savior, but they don’t realize He’s also their Father and friend.
For others, the issue is feeling uncomfortable, like Peter did when God’s presence tangibly showed up on the mount of transfiguration (see Matt. 17). Instead of listening and discerning what was happening, he became really nervous and started talking. He didn’t know how to abide in the Father’s presence, so he wanted to get busy doing something.
While this might be a natural response when we are not used to supernatural experiences, God invites us to set aside our insecurities and to simply be with Him.
Several years ago, I attended a conference on how to hear the voice of the Lord. There I learned two life-changing skills—how to have a conversation with God and how to soak in His presence.
Both of these are part of learning to be. At the conference, I learned four simple steps to dialoging with God, based on Habakkuk 2:1–2.
1. Become still and quiet in my thoughts and emotions.
2. Fix my eyes on Jesus. Use vision like King David did by picturing Jesus (see Ps. 16:8; Acts 2:25).
3. Recognize His voice as spontaneous flowing thoughts.
4. Write down the flow of spontaneous thoughts which come to me while my eyes are fixed on Jesus.
Using this simple pattern, we can connect to God’s heart and learn to hear His voice in response to our thoughts and questions.
At first, it may feel difficult to know whether we are hearing God’s voice or not. That is normal, because we are just beginning to train our spiritual senses to hear from God. The most common way for God to speak is through a still small voice, which is the voice we hear in our hearts. It wells up from within us.
Of course, it is important to always test what we hear against the Word of God. God will never contradict the Bible. And He also always speaks for the purpose of encouraging, strengthening, and comforting. His voice is never accusing, destructive, or condemning.
Even if He is convicting us of sin, He does it in a loving and hopeful manner. He tells us who He made us to be in Him, and that never involves condemnation or fear. God has many wonderful things to say to us. He is always speaking to us. We just need to develop our spiritual senses in order to discern His voice.
This is an excerpt from my new book Loved Like Jesus.
I wrote it because I want you to experience the deep love that your heavenly Father has for you. Living from this reality as a much loved son or daughter, you can rest in a confident connection with Him and experience abundant living and lasting freedom.
Order my book today for yourself and an extra copy for a friend, your pastor and/or your small group.
Be blessed, my friends.
Thanking Him for you,