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It Takes Work to Hear God

Updated on September 24, 2015

an ear open to God.

Have ever tried to smell the color 9? I can hear you now, “Hey Dave, nine isn’t a color, even it was you can’t smell a color.” And you are correct. Then there are some of you that remember the Chris Rice song with that title back in 2000. Chris sings that sometimes trying to hear God is like smelling the color 9. I felt the same way. So, how do hear from God?

Smell the Color 9, by Chris Rice (2000)

A markerJerusalem -
Jerusalem, Israel
get directions

Let me point you to Acts 15. The Council at Jerusalem convened to discuss if Gentiles needed to be circumcised. This was a big deal in the early history of the church. Basically, they were asking the question “Do Gentiles need to become Jews in order to be Christians?” God, in his wisdom, decided not to tell them directly. Instead, he spoke to them through scripture, each other, and experiences. Even though this chapter only hints to it, I’m sure that God spoke directly to these men as well.


I don’t have time to do a complete a thorough study of this chapter but here are the highlights: Peter, Paul and Barnabas shared what God was doing among the Gentiles regarding God-experiences (vs. 7 and 12). God spoke through James, verses 13 and 14. To top it off, James used the words from the prophet Amos (9:11, 12), God was using scripture. Keep reading in Acts 15 for other examples.

When trying to listen to what God is saying to you, it is important to listen to him in the ways he speaks to you. With that in mind, get listening! Ask him what he is saying. Slow down and allow him to lead. If you are reading this, you must know at least a little bit about the scriptures - Here are some tips to help you grow:

  1. Get to know your Bible:

  • Attend a class if you live near a Bible college or seminary. Sometimes you can audit class (do the reading, attend the class, but you don’t have do the papers or the test).
  • Lead a small group in your home or church (this will help you really learn what scripture has to say).
  • Read books. There are plenty of great resources out there like the "The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus" by John R. Cross.
  • Take notes of Sunday morning sermons and study them during the week.
  • What are other ways that you might spend time learning more about the Bible? Try to share them.
  1. Talk about your experiences. Experiences are tricky because God doesn't always use them. It takes discernment and talking with others whom you trust in your journey with God to help you with this.
  2. God doesn’t talk much with an audible voice any more, he uses impressions instead. So, when you have visions or impressions or a dream that you think is from God, talk about it with other believers. Be sure to ask God if it was him who was speaking.
  3. Surround yourself other believers. This is key because we are made to be in community and doing God’s work together. This includes listening and praying to God.

What method does God use to speak to you the most?

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What are your thoughts on how to listen to God?

Hey, what are you waiting for? Get out there and listen and share with others what you are hearing!


What are ways that you study the Bible?

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