When I hear speakers talk about how to hear from God, I often hear the importance of worship, to listen and to read the Bible. These aren’t wrong. But one thing that I find very effective in hearing from God is making sure my heart is in the right place.
In other words, sins, especially sins we enjoy doing, are the biggest barrier from hearing God’s voice.
We can see this right from the beginning in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God’s commandment and eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, they hid from God (Gen 3:8). This is our nature when we sin. We run away from God.
If our desire is to hear from God, the first thing we should ask ourselves is whether there are sins we are hiding in our lives that we enjoy doing.
Jesus even spoke about this in the Beatitudes. He said, “[b]essed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:9). When our hearts are pure, we can see Him and hear from Him.
There was a moment in our marriage when Wai Jia and I had an argument. What was it about? It didn’t really matter. All I remember was that afterward, I was trying to pray. I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t because there was anger (sin) in my heart. Until I reconciled with Wai Jia, my spirit could not be calm enough to commune with God. Isn’t this what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5:23-24 about reconciling with our brothers or sisters before bringing a gift to God?
So if our desire is to hear from God, the first thing we need to do is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal in our hearts, whether there might be anything we are doing that is not right in His eyes. May we repent, put those things away, so that we may come to Him and hear from Him clearly.