It’s hard to boil down the single most important one from the long list I’ve developed that includes nurturing healthy exercise, eating, and financial habits, reading more, reconnecting with friends, and finally getting to some home improvement projects. However, there’s one that stands above and beyond the others, even though it isn’t as easy to measure as the others. It’s simply this:
Listen to and follow God’s voice every day.
“Kol Yahweh” is the Hebrew phrase that means “The voice of God.” The early Christians expected and experienced “Kol Yahweh” both individually and when they met as a group. Their decisions came after they prayed, worshiped, and even fasted—and then heard the voice of God’s Holy Spirit give them wisdom and direction. Most importantly, they did what God instructed them to do, even when it flew against the grain of human understanding. The theologian Richard Foster wrote that the early Christians met with holy expectancy:
“They gathered with anticipation, knowing that Christ was present among them and would teach them and touch them with his living power.”
(From “Celebration of Discipline”, Richard Foster)
Ananias, an early Christian, heard God’s voice telling him to go a specific house to bring a message to the man named Saul who had been seeking out and imprisoning Christians. Aware that this man could arrest or even kill him, Ananias still followed God’s voice and went to the man. The result of his obedience was that Ananias experienced God’s power in action as Saul’s sight was restored and he came to know Jesus Christ. Saul was given a new name, Paul, whom God used to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to countless Jewish and non-Jewish people.
Some of the greatest experiences I’ve had in life came after I heard and obeyed God’s voice calling me to do some small thing for someone else. Learning to hear and obey God in the little things of life helps prepare us for the days when God calls us to take a bigger leap of faith.
It takes the power of the Holy Spirit within us and a decision of our will —a resolution— to develop the sensitivity to hear and obey God’s voice. It’s not only possible, but it’s also God’s will and desire that we attune our being to His voice. Just like a musician needs to develop “ear training,” the ability to hear and distinguish different tones and rhythms, so we need to hone the skills of distinguishing God’s voice from our own or others. The first step in listening to God is asking Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. It’s followed by resolving to daily immerse ourselves in God’s Word, aligning ourselves with other Spirit-directed believers, and then keeping a spiritual “antenna” up to God’s voice as we go through every day. All these work together to help us live a meaningful life adventure and relationship with God.
I pray that we will resolve to hear and follow “Kol Yahweh: in the coming year!
God bless you.