Sunday, August 14, 2011

Does God Speak To You?

Hello Readers - I have a question for you! Actually, I don't have a question, a friend of mine has a question - yeah Hackman.. sure.. a friend ;)

This friend has left his faith and he is looking back over what he once believed. He would be interested in hearing commentary from various faith groups as to how God "speaks" to them. Is it a voice? a feeling? through circumstances? scripture? etc.. Also, how do you distinguish that it really is God?

I have an eclectic group of friends and readers, so he thought this might be a good forum in which to ask this question. So how bout' it? Does God speak to you? If so, how do you define that? Also, please indicate what faith tradition you hail from.

Just info please.... we will leave any arguments of these points for future conversations. :)


Eruesso said...

I believe God speaks to us as breath, as life itself with all of it's ups and downs. I believe God doesn't speak to us through suffering or joy but AS suffering and joy. To me the connection with what I may call "God" isn't through a feeling or a voice but simply being.

Faith Tradition:Spiritual But Not Religious/Pantheistic/Meh, don't care for titles.


Andrew said...

Eruesso - If I may ask a follow up question... If I remember your story correctly, in your earlier years you leaned toward a different faith tradition and might have viewed things differently. If so, could you elaborate on that?

I think my outlook is pretty similar to yours now, but I hail from a charismatic/evangelical tradition. I felt God spoke passively through scripture, but I felt he was very active in giving me direction through my circumstances. If certain events fell in certain ways, I would become convinced God wanted me to do this or that. I was somewhat jealous of people who spoke as if God communicated with them in a more verbal, or stirring of the force kind of way.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

I hail from the Catholic tradition, and I have no idea if God speaks to me. If God does, I don't know how I would know it.

Eruesso said...

Andrew- After hearing the life changing news that I was to become a father I began to question everything about my faith. Not out of doubt but out of curiosity. That curiosity led me to discover the beauty and love in other world religions which led me to a struggle between Islam and Christianity. I feverishly spent months weighing the two and had led myself to believe that I had to choose one faith or the other. I eventually realized what I loved about Islam wasn't the faith itself but the strong emphasis on unity, of oneness.

As I continued to peel back the beliefs I had inherited I began to realize that the words/chants/prayers etc. don't matter, it's how we love that matters. And from then on Love has always been my religion. When I hear, see, or experience love, THAT is the I Am.
(At least that's what I believe, I try not to make truth claims.)

The Arkwelder said...

I think the following is my most concise statement on how God speaks to us:

It is more a statement on how we "grow" in the presence of God's light, but that would also serve to reflect my opinion on the matter. That is, I don't generally believe God speaks to us with words, but he will illuminate our own words to the extent that we wonder if they are still our own or coming from beyond ourselves.

Janet said...

The scriptures tell us that God's Spirit lives within us so there is no reason to think that God doesn't communicate with us on some level

shallowfrozenwater said...

i have gone through a significant dry period of my life where i have felt that i have not heard from God. i have begged to hear a voice and have been met with silence. the most hope i have found has been in the ministry of the church as they have shown concern for me and i have looked for light in the circumstances of life as it has come my way. i do not have answers for the suffering around me and i have struggled to find hope amidst it. i would say that it has been a depressing time that i have recently turned a corner from.
does God speak? i haven't heard a voice but i have been ministered to and i still believe that there is some hope to pursue. i have seen some circumstance and received some peace as i've fought to find patience with my ordeals.
i still believe but it can be really hard to find the hand of God on a regular basis.

Don said...

If, and only if, God speaks to me, it is through feelings. That's all I have to say about that.

Redlefty said...

Raised very conservative Protestant, and still go to the same church although my faith has become far less dogmatic.

I'm not sure I've ever heard God. When I'm tempted to say something was God's will for me, it just happens to fit with what I wanted anyway, so it seemed conveniently self-serving to ascribe divine blessing to my decisions.

Basically I think creation is always speaking. Always. I'm just not listening very much.

Jon said...

This is a great question Andrew. I'm assuming the question is about God speaking to us personally, not about the revelation that might be available to all of us through the Bible or other inspired books.

I was converted to evangelical Christianity in my teens and spent quite a few years at the more conservative end of Protestantism before gradually moving towards a more skeptical form of Christian faith. At no time in my life have I ever "heard the voice of God" in some literal way like I have heard others talk about, but I still believe that at times I have been guided by God.

In my younger days I used to pray a lot for specific guidance with very mixed results. Sometimes I would "hear" nothing and be disappointed. Sometimes I would feel very clear in my mind what to do and see that as God's guidance. Sometimes that would work out well, other times no...

Now that I am older and different, although probably not much wiser, I still do pray but in a different way. The prayer is more about letting go of my anxiety and seeing the situation I am facing clearly, waiting for this understanding to come so I can see what I should do. I find that usually it does and these days I am a bit better at telling the difference between this clarity of purpose and being driven by my fears or anger or whatever.

Is this the voice of God, or just my own mind working better? Well, does it have to be either/or? Is this what the Spirit of God working in us means?

The Arkwelder said...

It seems to me that those who are chiming in with an actual experience are describing something similar, a feeling of atonement (at-one-ment) that ultimately guides ones thoughts. I'll add that I'm a Mormon but not a religious exclusivist. Don't think religion is a factor when it comes to prayer.

Head of Shiz said...

I am what members of my church would call (somewhat disdainfully at times) a liberal mormon.

I do believe God speaks to us individually and for me it has always been a feeling and rush of inspiration, not necessarily verbal but understood as if it was. Man thats hard to explain and I can see how easily I could confuse my own desires to His but I feel like when it comes from beyond myself its distinct enough to recognize.

Debby said...

I do believe that God 'speaks' to me. I have never heard His voice, but sometimes, I have this overwhelming urge to act or to speak, irresistable, cannot NOT do it, and when it is done, something amazing comes of it, and I realize that God had moved in my life...and I had not noticed His presence(until after the fact) once again.

Sammy said...

Apologies for the late reply.

For me, I guess I would say God speaks to me through feelings. When I pray to God (which, for me is almost a type of meditation), I feel calm, peaceful, and connected to God. I know in my soul that God loves me and that, no matter what might be going on right now, that it will all eventually be ok. While I don't "hear" God's voice speaking in my head, these feelings often seem to lead to thoughts or ideas which are helpful to me at the time.

Gary said...

My experience with Baptist/evangelical theology can best be described as a wild Roller Coaster ride: a lot of great psychological, emotional, and spiritual highs and a lot of deep psychological, emotional, and spiritual lows. Why?

In Baptist theology, your Justification and your Sanctification---your essence as a follower of Christ...if you boil it all really dependent on you and your feelings.

Do I feel saved? Do I feel I really repented in my born again experience? Do I feel that I truly had faith when I made a decision for Christ; when I prayed a version of the Sinner's Prayer? If I am really saved, why do I feel at times that my faith is so weak? Maybe I need to do the born again experience again; maybe I need to pray the Sinner's Prayer again, just to be 100% sure that I am saved. I want to know without any doubt that I am saved, and if I do not feel saved, I begin to doubt my salvation.

Baptist/evangelical theology tells me that I will always feel Christ's presence and strength inside me, if I am a true believer. But what if I don't feel him there sometimes? If it is true that I should always be able to hear God speak to me, in an inner voice or feel his inner presence move me/lead me to do his will, what is going on when I don't hear anything or feel anything? Have I committed some unknown sin and he is refusing to hear me? Or is the reason that I don't hear or feel him present within me... is because I'm not really saved!

I was so incredibly happy to find Lutheranism and find out that my feelings have nothing to do with my Justification, my salvation, nor with my Sanctification, my walk with my Savior and Lord! My salvation was accomplished 100% by God.

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