Two years ago I distilled a number of insights about abiding in Jesus, but they didn’t persist in penetrating and transforming my heart until I learned to hear Jesus speak these same things directly to me through the process suggested by Mark Virkler (distilled below).
Our household started into this with three of us watching 45 minutes of Mark’s teaching and then joining the audience in journaling, and we still suggest this as one good starting point. (This link jumps to Mark’s teaching, starting at one hour and 45 minutes into this recording.)
In just a week of applying this I have experienced a great breakthrough in hearing God’s voice and enjoying intimate fellowship with Him.
Once again I am experiencing a greater measure of the “joy of my salvation!” (Ps 51:12)
And I am experiencing new depth to the reality of Jesus’ words: “My sheep listen to My voice and follow Me” (John 10:3–4, 27).
Where in the past I have only heard God speak in brief phrases and sentences, I am now hearing Him at length each day.
I invite you to join me on this journey of renewed intimacy with Jesus and clarity in hearing and following Him.
For me, the key to this breakthrough has been:
- Setting aside my doubts long enough to fix my eyes on Jesus and record the flow of thoughts into my heart
- BEFORE going back to test what I have recorded against God’s Word and through godly counselors.
Before this shift my journaling recorded mostly well-crafted but impersonal insights about advancing God’s kingdom, like “You won’t get the right answers by asking the wrong questions.” (July 7th, 2019)
Since fixing my eyes on Jesus and recording in faith out what flows into my heart, my journal entries read more like this:
October 12th, 2019
My precious, precious child/brother.
I have seen the desire of your heart—daily, even moment by moment intimacy and communion with Me. I am leading you gently toward that. Continue resting in and trusting Me; I desire this even more than you do. And I AM the rewarder of those who diligently seek Me.
Even the light and momentary affliction of your infected saliva gland is part of this process. Be patient and wait for me. Keep your eyes fixed on Me. Open the eyes of your heart to see Me at your right hand, just as David did.
You will soon be fully satisfied, and will lead many others away from law (merely aligning their lives with biblical principles) and into LIFE (hearing and knowing Me)—the rich, intimate fellowship I enjoyed with Adam and Eve, Moses, David and others as we talked daily.
Communion with Me is so much simpler than many have thought it to be. If only My people would accept the simple tools I have given to build their faith and open the door.
Does your heart bear witness that this is from God?
For me the barrier to hearing Jesus more clearly was obvious:
- I have been the man who questions everything I hear from God (as described in James 1:6–8).
- I have been so quick in testing everything that my doubts have shut God off before I received anything longer than a phrase or sentence from Him.
- I haven’t known how to shift from listening tentatively (in fear and doubt) to hearing in faith.
Through Mark’s training I learned how to overcome this by:
- fixing my eyes on Jesus (rather than my desires or my problems), and
- stepping into faith just long enough to record the flow of thoughts that come BEFORE testing them.
If you have similar struggles and would like to join me in hearing from God more clearly, try this simple process:
- Set aside 15-30 minutes each day when you are at your most alert physically and spiritually. (God rewards diligence, not casual hit and miss efforts.)
- Step into faith, perhaps by repeating King David’s confession (out loud): “I see You, Lord always before me. Because You are at my right hand I will not be shaken” (Acts 2:25: Ps. 16:8).
- Write out an open question or concern you’d like the Lord to talk with you about. (As you are starting, don’t confine Him to answering a specific desire or problem.)
- Quiet yourself down (with silence or worship that draws you into His presence).
- Fix your eyes on Jesus (ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart and use your imagination to “see” the Biblical reality that He is present with you).
- Tune to the spontaneous thoughts, images or emotions flowing from the Holy Spirit into your heart.
- Record this flow until you sense He is finished (on paper, through keyboard or by dictation), in faith that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
AFTER the flow stops:
- Test what you’ve recorded for consistency with what you know of the Bible and God’s character:
– Does it build your faith, hope and love (1 Cor 13:13)?
– Does it bring you edification, exhortation and comfort in line with His word?
- Submit what you recorded to a few others you trust for their simple confirmation. Don’t ask what they think (engaging their rational assessment), but “Does your heart bear witness that this is from God?” (This engages the Holy Spirit in them in helping you assess whether what you received is from God.)
Note: Community is essential to hearing God clearly, and the confirmation of others will build your faith that you are indeed hearing from God.
If you’d like to share an entry or two with me, I’d be honored to confirm whether my own heart bears witness that it is from God.
(The next day, 10/21, these thoughts came unexpectedly as I looked to Jesus, tuned to “flow” and started writing.)
My dear child/brother, As John recorded me telling my disciples, “I have much more to tell you, more than you can now bear. But when the Spirit comes He will guide you into all truth.” And “the truth will set you free.”
I can hardly wait in anticipation of all that I am eager to share with you, and guide you to understand and experience. To this point “You have asked nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Yes, My word gives many stern-sounding requirements for discovering and experiencing Me, like:
- “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because whoever comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”
- “Let whoever needs wisdom ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is unstable in all his ways and will not receive anything from the Lord.”
- “My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me.” (Especially when contrasted with “In that day many will come to Me and say, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not to many miracles in Your name’ and I will reply, ‘Get away from Me. I never knew you.’”)
- “The eyes of the Lord range to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
DON’T take these verses out of context to beat people up with.
Yes, earnest diligence and wholeheartedness are required, but they are also unattainable—apart from Me. It is actually My joy that prevails—expressed in My earnest diligence and wholeheartedness in seeking you, not yours in seeking me.
You are too weak, frail and fickle to uphold the relationship, so rest in Me. Faith is not something for you to work up—faith is My gift as you make the simple decision to trust Me and reach out to Me. I AM the author and finisher of your faith. Faith is My gift to you, not the result of your own work, so that no one may boast.
Rest and delight in my love. “In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.” Don’t make communion and intimacy with me into another work. Don’t read, “Make every effort to enter into that rest” as a charge to “work harder,” but as a letting go of your fears and falling into My loving arms.
Unimaginable joy, peace, love—and all the fruit of the Holy Spirit—await you as you cease your striving and become still in my presence, knowing that I AM God. I will not fail or forsake you. I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
Tuning consciously to flow and writing what comes is a wonderful tool for engineers like you who don’t find it easy to just rest and be with Me. But don’t assume everyone needs this. Share your experience and let Me nudge others who are struggling to experience My presence, but don’t get pushy about others coming to Me the same way I am showing you.
We have so much to enjoy and do together. Let’s start with resting and enjoying each other.
Does your heart bear witness that this is from God?