Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over …to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
I love this passage which explains how the Apostles were led by the Holy Spirit. They were kept from going to certain places, then Paul received a vision, and they obeyed & went on their way.
The Book of Acts has a lot of practical insights into how the disciples heard the voice of God. Many believers today struggle with hearing God’s voice. The problem is that we have too many voices speaking into our lives & it becomes hard to discern which is which. The devil tries to speak to us, other people, our own selfish desires, and often we listen to all of those other voices and we miss what God is saying. One pattern we see in Acts is prayer & fasting. It was a regular part of their lifestyle to regularly enquire of the Lord. Too many believers today will never slow down to go into the secret place to seek the Lord, and they’ll miss out on what God is saying. God speaks to us regularly, but we don’t tune in & listen. Or sometimes he speaks, but we don’t write it down, and we forget it. When my boss at the radio station tells me to do something, I had better take it on board or my job is in danger! So many believers don’t honour the words the Lord has spoken to them. They have far more weight than an earthly employer, they are from the creator of the universe!
I believe there are some keys to hearing the voice of God we need to heed.
1. Ask the Lord to speak.
2. Wait on God to reveal his will through his Word, a vision, a dream, a prophecy or a sign.
3. Confirm the word with the leaders whom God has placed over you.
4. If God is opening or closing doors, then be obedient to where he is leading you.
5. Be humble. Be willing to admit if you get it wrong. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about how to hear the voice of God have been after I’ve got it wrong, and then getting it right next time. Sometimes the Lord allows us to make mistakes, & then we mature & grow & we are prepared for the next adventure he’s calling us on.
Lord, may I hear your voice today. Lead me in the way everlasting, guide my words & my steps, I submit my will to yours. In Jesus name. Amen