In 1985, bestselling author and respected pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, wrote a book called, How To Listen To God. He said God speaks to us in four primary ways: the Bible, the Holy Spirit, other people, and circumstances. The key, however, is to listen with the spirit of obedience. In other words, whatever God says, DO IT!
He gave a checklist for knowing if it was God’s voice, your own or someone else. He said to ask these questions:
1. Is it consistent with the Word of God?
2. Does it conflict with human reason?
3. Does it build up the Spirit?
4. Does it challenge your faith?
5. Does it call for courage?
But the most important thing is being able to know when God is speaking … to us.
One time, Dr. Adrian Rogers was asked if God ever spoke to him. He said, “Why, of course, all the time.” The person asked, “In an audible voice?” Dr. Rogers replied, “No. It’s louder than that.”
When’s the last time God spoke to you and told you to do something … specifically?
For me, it was Monday, November 9. I was in the Denver International Airport waiting for my flight back to DFW. I had gone into the men’s restroom and noticed a worker with a cart and a mop sticking out of it. He was on his knees in full protective gear, wiping down one of the toilets in a stall. The Lord told me to give him $100 to encourage him. I dismissed it. I talked myself out of it, washed my hands and headed to the gate to catch my flight home and never thought another thing about it.
“I talked myself out of it, washed my hands and headed to the gate to catch my flight home and never thought another thing about it.”
When we landed at DFW, I realized I would be in rush hour traffic and needed to stop by the restroom before making the drive back to the office. When I walked into the men’s restroom in Terminal D, I saw another cart with a mop sticking out of it and a gentleman in full protective gear wiping down the counter, sinks, and towel dispensers. I didn’t think much of it until I heard the Lord say to give him $100 to encourage him. Again, I was going to talk myself out of it, walk out and begin the drive home. After all, I was going to be in rush hour. I quickly began to wash my hands. I turned to the left to reach for some paper towels and the man was standing next to me with a mask on, staring at me. Without drying my hands I reached for my wallet and handed him a one-hundred-dollar bill. He didn’t say a word; he just turned and resumed cleaning.
When I walked out and made my way to my car, the thought hit me I ought to go back and check to see if that guy was still there. Why? Because I thought of Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Was God testing me to see if I would respond to what He told me no matter what He told me to do?
Later I shared that story and one of the people I shared it with asked, “Was it the same man in both places?” I said, “I don’t know. But it was the same God.”
Ironically, I was preaching this past Sunday on Hebrews 3:7-19. Two different times in those twelve verses it says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
So I have two questions: What is God saying to you? And number two …
Are you listening?
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.