Author Mark Batterson on Hearing God’s Voice
We’re all familiar with the quotidian voices that inhabit our lives. More often than not, it’s difficult to decipher which voice is God’s and which is our own. It’s so easy to misinterpret the direction in which we are intended to follow, and what we’ve created as our own direction. In Mark Batterson’s new book, The Whisper: How to Hear Gods voice, he covers the seven languages of God and how to identify between his voice and your own.
Listen to Marks interview with Jon Fuller
Many people often wonder, if God’s desires for you correspond with the desires of your own heart. As said in Psalm 37:4,
“Take delight in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”.
God places these desires in us in order to pursue our purpose. While it’s typical to be misdirected and apply your will over God’s, those desires become a compass needle for your life. Whether your choices lead to happiness or pain, God will use those choices to guide you.
Learning to listen for God’s whisper is vital in order for us to follow his will. God’s voice always comes to us with promises of happiness, fulfillment, joy, and success. If the emotions these desires invoke are those of gladness, those passions were placed from God. While those may argue that specified individuals are placed on a pedestal in God’s eyes and have a more fluent language established between them and God, the truth is that God’s whisper is audible to anyone who so chooses to listen.
Mark uses a story in order to convey this proposition. An opera singer once came to Dr. Alfred Tomatis, curious as to why he no longer had the capability to hit notes that used to be in his octave range. What Dr. Tomatis came to find, was that the notes he was capable of hitting were so high, that he became deafened by the sound of his own voice. Once he was incapable of hearing the notes, he was no longer able to produce them; the voice is only capable of reproducing what the ear can hear. All this to say, we are incapable of executing a purpose if you haven’t been informed of what it is.
While we convince ourselves to believe that we have relationship problems, financial problems, emotional problems, and the list could continue forever; what we really have is hearing problems. We often drown out the voice of direction with our own thoughts, making us incapable of hearing God’s whisper. We attempt to resolve issues on our own, to achieve unattainable goals on our own terms. If only we would silence our own thoughts, and tune into the whispers of love and direction God is constantly sending us.
The literal definition of a whisper is using breath rather than your vocal chords; this creates an intimacy and requires a closeness in order to convey the message intended. While God has an outside voice that could be used to intimidate, instead he uses a softer, more personal voice from inside us to woo and comfort us. God uses this tactic in order to string a close-knit relationship between him and his children, to draw them closer.
When this intimacy is established, doors begin to open. Desire meets with opportunity and success; assisting you in doing everything better through the Holy Spirit. This is when those previous voices of inadequacy begin to dissipate and become mission fields in place of fear. This is when you stop talking to God about your mountain and start talking to your mountain about God.
It’s impactful when you stop viewing these fears of failure as mountains and looking at them as mission fields. You have to learn to enjoy the journey and stop disgracing your current circumstances by believing the future will be so much greater. Life will always be unpredictable, but you have to learn to trust that God’s plan for you is greater than you could ever imagine. You have to stop viewing the uncertainty of life as a problem, and view it as a promise of success. As Mark Batterson says, “the cure for the fear of failure is not success, it’s fear in small enough doses that you build up an immunity to it”.
Ultimately, your purpose is already rooted inside of you, with wisdom from the Holy Spirit. When you invited God into your heart, you also acquired the knowledge of your purpose. Now, it’s up to us to stop praying prayers that we already have answers to and begin praying our bravest prayers. Praying for the things that we believe will shake our faith if they aren’t answered. Many of us pray small, pray for things that we’ll still feel confident in our faith if they aren’t answered how we believed they would be, or “they just weren’t meant to be”. It’s vital for us to begin praying over the big things, the things that we don’t have the power to change, things that we have to trust in the fact that God will eventually answer. God’s timing doesn’t always correlate with our timing, and sometimes what we believe to be the answer to our problems, God has a bigger and better solution.
It’s important to recognize that life is messy, it’s scary, and unpredictable, but God isn’t. God is in your loneliest, most insecure moments. He will allow you to cry, to ask “why”, but he will never fail to pick you back up. This is a reminder that he’s always here, always good, and always right beside you. The less space you try to occupy with your own thoughts and will, the more space you’ll leave to hear God’s whisper.