If you’re not hearing God, you’re not enjoying the life He has for you or the relationship He wants with you.
God made you to hear Him. Not once in a while, or only in certain places. Every day, everywhere.
Most people don’t hear God because they are listening in the wrong places. God speaks in your heart, and specifically in your conscience. This is because your conscience is the place where you weigh right and wrong. Right and wrong are what God cares most about, so it’s only natural that He would choose conscience as His throne.
If your conscience is clear, it makes hearing God much easier. Otherwise, it inhibits your ability to hear God. This is why the Lord’s Prayer follows the request for daily bread with a request for forgiveness. It has us asking God to forgive us our trepasses or debts just as we have forgiven others. Our conscience therefore can be defiled not just by sinning, but also by refusing to forgive the sins of others. Keeping a clean conscience is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. Some of our most meaningful prayer is simply acknowledging before God the things we have done wrong. If we’re really honest, it can take a while.
Some of the most dangerous people in the world are people who don’t maintain a clear conscience but who insist they are hearing God. People who kill innocents in the name of God demonstrate that they have corrupted their consciences somewhere along the way. To ignore a good conscience is to shipwreck your faith and damage your conscience in the process.
Assuming you keep a clear conscience, how do you hear God? First of all, by listening for Him. God’s most profound and extended message is Jesus Christ. In fact, one of His names is “The Word of God.” Is this word residing in you? Have you allowed it (Him) to take up permanent residence…or has He been “in one ear and out the other?”
If you have heard the word of Jesus, and are keeping it, you can begin to hear specifics from Him about how you should live. Sometimes you simply “know” you should do something – something that you hadn’t really considered before. I’m not talking about something weird, but something kind and loving. That is, He has worked in your conscience and sensitized it in a new way. Other times you will remember something Jesus said (such as “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me”) and know that you have a chance to act on it. Sometimes it will be a memory, an image, or just a notion. God speaks in diverse ways. But always to the same end – love.
The Bible makes clear that God likes to speak, and anyone who wants to hear Him, will. The question is not whether He will speak to you – it is whether you will do what He says when He does speak to you.