Knowing God's voice

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StephenMartyr

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey again all!

The analytic type me is in a bit of an issue tonight.

I wanted to look up what others have said about tithing. I searched my epub of one person and not much came up. The next one I tried was a Brakel and again, not too much came up. One section that did have it was vol.2, pg. 313. The main issue wasn't on tithing but it was in the chapter about saving faith. One of the verses that came up was 1 Cor. 11:28.

1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

How does one examine himself without "arrows" from the evil one? How does one begin and continue the process without "intrusions"?

So for example (and I don't mean this flippantly), I could sit down and start praying to God, really seeking Him. Praying and asking God if I was a true believer. Suddenly, the thought comes up in my mind "no you're not". Then I'm startled! Was that God's voice or was that the enemy? Now I'm in a quandry. In the process of taking examination seriously, how do you know your thoughts. They could come from three sources, God, the devil, or your own thoughts. (I suppose in one sense, your own thoughts giving you the thumbs up that you're okay would be those of a "temporary faith" or those deceiving themselves?).

What does the process look for you guys?

How do you navigate the process and know what your thoughts are?

I understand we base "God's voice" on His Word. God doesn't say "Bob, good morning! I'd like you to do..." in an audible voice in your head. I understand people sometimes of "being led" to do something more based on intuition / feelings? Anyways, that one is an aside.

If I go down the route of a prayer / conversation with God, I feel I'm opening myself to lies that can come against me. Or will it be God's voice all time?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I struggle with this as well.

First, we must rely on Scripture. I have heard many missionaries or pastors speak of the "Spirit leading" them to do many things. Often in ministry I think people use this as an excuse to avoid questioning. I mean if a missionary doesn't like his duty-post, how can I urge him to stick it out and endure if he "feels led" to go somewhere else or claims that "God is calling him" to go back to the USA.

Funny how God usually calls some only into more comfortable conditions.

I remember reading a quote by John Newton where he laments the same thing about pastors feeling "called" to a different congregation and he also seemed to question why they only felt called to bigger and more prosperous congregations and never smaller ones. I wish I knew where to find the quote.



Second, however, I must acknowledge that the Spirit does lead....and sometimes by burden and intuition that is based on Scripture, such as in Romans 8, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..."

I have known missionaries who felt strongly burdened to reach a particular lost group and held out close to death until that group was reached with the gospel due to that sense of calling. And others are burdened to pray for a particular neighbor or relative until that person confessed faith.

And when I was first saved, I felt called and even took an oath to find the most remote/difficult area on earth and to reach the people there. While metrics of "remoteness" and "difficulty" may differ, I was, in fact, able to find a very remote and unreached tribe and settle there, thus fulfilling my vow.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Steven, this will invite pushback as this topic always does. (This topic being ‘how do we ‘hear from’ God.) A minister on the board will be better able to articulate. But since you’re speaking as a lay person about a lay person’s dilemma, and I’ve had years as a lay person looking into this very thing, I’ll offer this. And your question specifically concerning 1 Corinthians 11:28 is a good example of a Bible verse that is commonly misunderstood and so causes a dilemma.

So, 1 Corinthians 11:28 is not telling you to listen inwardly for God’s voice. No Scripture tells you to do that. The passage is describing the sin that is happening at their keeping of the Lord’s supper; their lack of love, partiality, and selfishness; it shows that by these sins they are not discerning the Lord’s body (see Gill, meaning they’re despising the ordinance); warns and admonishes them that they need to examine themselves, meaning simply, am I sinning against the ordinance and against God’s people, and if so, repent.

The truth of how we’re to take such passages is very refreshing and relatively simple, and involves no attempt to hear God’s voice inwardly, only to hear his voice as mediated to us in the Scripture and compare our thoughts and actions to what he has commanded. Of course we need the Spirit’s help to really acknowledge and repent of our sins. And he may and does bring sins to mind that we may have foolishly been blind to. But Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light. Look for his voice in what he has said, and ask him to help you obey it.
 
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