Ah, relationships. Mysterious, complex, yet fulfilling. Friendships, dating, marriage, family, colleagues, leaders, enemies… the list goes on. Each kind of relationship faces different struggles, but there’s one thing in common amongst all of them; Communication. Even enemies need communication. I’ll say that communication is the key to all relationships. In fact I would go as far to say that without communication, no relationship can be built nor sustained.
What is communication?
- two-way transfer of information
- two-way transfer of emotion
- two-way transfer of opinion and reflection
This understanding of communication and it’s importance in relationship challenges me. It challenges how I see my relationship with God.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” ~ John 15:9-10
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” ~ Song of Solomon 8:3
God is wooing me into a relationship with Him. He desires for us to remain in His love. He sees us as His beloved. But how are we investing into this relationship that we have with God?
Of course, as Asians, we struggle to receive His love, as a Friend, as a Father, or even as a Bridegroom to us. I reckon that, if relationships are designed by God to feed on communication, I’d reflect on how I’ve been communicating with God.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ~ Revelation 3:20
How many times have I not heard the ringing of my door bell because I’m so focused on cooking in the kitchen? Many times. Poor guests, they have to wait outside the door.
We are so good at praying long prayers, but are we listening? Are we hearing His voice? The knocking on the doors of our heart? No wonder sometimes our times of prayer can be so boring. Imagine going on a date with someone, and feeling like you have to talk throughout the time together. Exhausting for you, draining for the other.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. ~ James 1:19
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~ John 10:27
Also, we have to acknowledge that unforgiveness in any relationship will hinder communication. In human relationships, unforgiveness leads to anger and sadness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
In our relationship with God, he is faithful to forgive us as long as we confess our sins. Communication requires forgiveness. If there are any unconfessed sins, we can ask God to reveal them to us through Holy Spirit, and we should seek forgiveness for those sins. Also, if we harbour any kind of anger or unforgiveness towards God, we also need to cancel those debts and release God from our unforgiveness. Getting unforgiveness out of the way helps a lot in our hearing of God’s voice!
Listening attentively to God’s voice would prove to be very hard, especially in our times where there are so many sources of distraction, and noise pollution. I learn from my DTS classes on Hearing God’s Voice that there are generally 4 kinds of voices that we can hear:
- Our own voice
- God’s voice
- Devil’s voice
- Other people’s voice
The more familiar we are with God’s nature and character, the easier it is to identify the Devil’s voice. When we hear other people’s voices, we will need discernment. While we shouldn’t let other people’s voices replace our need to hear God’s voice for ourselves, we also shouldn’t dismiss the voices and opinions of our spiritual authorities.
What I find the most challenging is how we can differentiate God’s voice from our own voice.
for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:16
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9
So yesterday, Sheryl and I were at the dining area with some of our classmates. Sky, our classmate, asked us for dinner idea. Almost immediately, both Sheryl and I exclaimed, “I know!”, and we smiled at each other because we know what we were both thinking. True enough, we were indeed thinking of the same dinner place.
Definitely, there were times that I thought I knew what Sheryl wants, but it turned out wrong. Every time I try to know her better, every time I try to guess her thoughts, I learn something new, even when I guess it wrong. Not that we are supposed to guess what’s on God’s heart, but by knowing His character and nature more, we know how He thinks or feels about any particular situation. It’s all part and parcel of growing in intimacy in our relationship with God.
God can speak to us through our own thoughts. God can also input new thoughts into our mind. We just have to be open to both, and let Him use us as a vessel to express his character and nature to others around us.
Questions that I think would help me in identifying if it’s God’s voice:
- Is it aligned with God’s character and nature?
- Is there any hidden human agenda that contributed to the thoughts/feelings that I feel I receive from God?
- Am I trying to impress others through my flowery imageries, or to tell people that I can hear from God?
- Did I demand for God to speak to me in a specific way, without acknowledging that He can and will speak in whatever way He wants to, and be open to receive His voice in the way He wants to reveal it?
- Am I judging what I received as unsophisticated, and subconsciously limiting God to speak only for big matters, and not small/simple things?
David, the man after God’s own heart. I wonder what it feels like to have more of God’s heart in us. We think, we feel, we act, more like Him. Even in times when God doesn’t speak clearly to us, we can still hang on tight to His promises, and to remember them in our heart.
I can come before God to ask Him what I want to hear, but God decides what He wants to say.
I look to God, the affirmer of my faith, when I pray prophetically for others. He is the one that affirms my risks.
God desires to speak into all matters of our lives, big or small, as long as we seek Him.