How do we know our feelings, thoughts, call for action are from God? When is the best time to act or speak or hold our tongue?
We know in Jesus’ last days he was in direct communication with his Father, relying on his presence and guidance to help him face a terrible trial. We see in the Acts reading today that Paul was faced with much of the same treatment as our Lord during His last days. Paul is confident that the Holy Spirit is guiding him to do God’s will and he also is surrounded by a whole group of trusted people. He also has the “benefit” of a prophet and not just one, but 4 daughters of Philip the evangelist who also had the gift of prophesy. So who does he listen to?
The prophecy from Agabus discouraging Paul to continue his journey causes much discussion, weeping and pleading. They had his best interests at heart but Paul was not tempted to stay safely with them. I love his determination! It turns out the prophecy was not quite correct but Paul did suffer greatly at the hands of his countrymen. Again the scene of his arrest is very like Jesus’ condemnation before he was killed.
So how do we know when it is God speaking to us? How easy is it to hear His voice amidst the clanging of everyday life? It is actually quite easy if we’re prepared to spend time reading our bible every day.
2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The bible’s words ultimately came from God himself, even though he makes use of human authors.
2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,and for training in righteousness, that the person of God may be complete, equipped for every good work tells us that the Bible is ‘God-breathed.’ Jesus himself treated the whole Old Testament as God’s word.
In the New Testament the apostles made it clear that their words had authority from God through their empowerment of the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
So, if we want to hear God’s voice, we need to spend time everyday in God’s word. I read this the other day, “I was praying, talking to God and then I opened my bible and God won’t stop talking to me!” What a great recommendation for us all!