Later on this year, I hope to have my book published on hearing God more effectively. The working title of the book right now is “Listen Carefully” which is why I have called the blog that as well. From time to time, I will post excerpts from different chapters to get your feedback. Some of your feedback may even help me with the book itself. Even if you don’t comment, you will still get the first glimpses at it.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter Three which is titled “The Spirit Bears Witness”:
I have conducted this experiment with large groups and with individuals. I have tested people with this on buses, planes and park benches. I even have done it over the telephone with a 20-year old soldier in Iraq who was just coming off her shift. In the vast majority of cases, the result is not only the same, but afterwards produces the same result. This is not a secret therapy or a zen-like practice. It is actually just a question.
I ask the question if someone says they want to know God better. So I always ask “Do you want to know how God feels about you?” If they answer yes, I ask them to calm their heart and simply receive whatever God has to say as I ask the question: “God how do you feel about this person here?”
I don’t even have to poll the readers of the last paragraph, for the vast majority reading this will know what answer they come up with.
They hear God telling them “I love you.”
Psychology tries vainly to explain this universal thought pattern. Since most people suffer from poor self-esteem, their own thoughts would lead them to a much different conclusion. The world around them is a cruel, dog-munch-dog existence and therefore the daily grind won’t initiate that thought pattern. We all admit to a level of incredulity when it comes to how God must feel about us. After all, shame is endemic to the human condition for everyone except a few basketball players and comedians.
So how do you explain “I love you”?
William James might say that it is simply wishful thinking (though I doubt he would use the words “wishful” or “thinking”…most likely he would settle for “phenomenological experience of induced emotional potential”). But the certainty and frequency of “I love you” stands in direct opposition to that theory. There just aren’t that many wishful thinkers out there.
The Bible does give us an explanation I can live with. In Romans 8:16, Paul says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirits that we are God’s children.” The word in Greek for “children” is a word which denotes a young child, beloved by the parents. This is not a designation of an heir or a short inhabitant of the house. This is a description of a child that suggests intimacy of relationship. The parent loves this child. And it is just that message that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits.