The more we get to know God through His written word, the more confident we become in recognizing His voice in our thoughts. We want to discern between His voice and our voice. Here’s the neat thing:
God wants us to know His voice even more than we do.
He has made a way for us to hear Him!
The more we get to know God, the more we relax in the truth that our hearing and discerning His voice is not left entirely up to us. Our desire and motivation to hear His voice may go up and down with our physical health or our circumstances. But God is always the same. He wants to be with us. He wants to communicate with us. We see this from the creation of the world in Genesis 1–2 to the consummation of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21–22.
Keys unlock understanding
God’s written word can help us recognize His voice. I am sharing with you over the next weeks five keys that have really helped me. These aren’t simplistic steps or formulas. Just really neat truths that can help us. So, let’s get started.
Key #1 – The Bible is about God, not you
Hmmm, how is that supposed to help? Well,
When you realize the purpose of the Bible is to reveal God to us, you read it differently.
Your expectations change from “What must I do?” to “Who is God, what has He done?” Think about that. This changes everything.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the Bible does show us many things about ourselves that we need to know. But it starts with Him first. Let’s look at how we may have gotten the order wrong.
Instruction Manual? Road map? Guide?
2 Tim 3:16 is a familiar verse to many of us and often shapes our view of the Bible as a functional “roadmap” or guide.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Seems straightforward enough. But, when we back up and see the context of this verse, we get a fuller picture. Paul is writing a letter to remind Timothy of Who God is and what He has done. Paul shows that the Scriptures first point to Jesus, our salvation.
2 Tim 3:15 from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
When you go back and read Paul’s letter to Timothy from the beginning, you start to see the focus on God first.
2 Tim 1:11 I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
So how does seeing God first in the Scriptures become a safeguard for us?
We are creatures set on looking out for ourselves. This is good in many respects, but the danger comes in when it leads to independence from the One who loves us most.
Most of my life I have spent trying to figure out how to stay out of trouble and do the right things. This sounds good, but the trouble is the focus remains on me. It’s right back to the original temptation of the enemy to look away from God. I used to even read the Bible to see how I can avoid pain and succeed.
When I turn that around, I read the Bible first to be with God, get to know Who He is and what He has done. This is an amazing safeguard, protection from self-focus and therefore, self-trust.
- If I read the stories in the Bible just to try to figure out what I should do, I might sidestep an authentic relationship with God.
- If I try to copy what someone else did, in hopes to get what they did, what am I saying to God? Hey, I did this right so I want to get blessed now.
- If I read the Bible to try to get only guidance I might try to make something happen on my own.
- If I read the Bible to fix myself, I may end up striving on my own strength.
- If I read the Bible looking for myself, I might miss the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful, powerful revelations of a God that blows my mind!
Again, I am not saying to ignore the clear principles of Scripture. I am saying, seek Him first.
As I was writing this post, I had a great spiritual conversation with a dear friend. I told her what I was thinking, and she was excited for God to expand this understanding for herself more. She said, “This is a process each of us gets to take with God.”
That is my hope by sharing these keys with you.
Ask this question as you read the Bible this week,
Lord, what does this Bible passage show me about You?
Let me know what happens for you as you read the Bible through that lens.
Happy on His Path,
P.S. I would love to have a discussion with you about this. I am writing an expanded article on this first key. Please connect with me to let me know your thoughts. Learning is much fuller when we do it together.
Bonus reading – seethe reply Jesus gives to the Pharisees who knew the Bible by memory…
John 5:39–40 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life”
This is so useful (particularly the 5 bullet points). Our natural default is to make everything about us. Thank you for this needed reminder.