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These are the words of Jeremiah. . . . The LORD gave me this message. JEREMIAH 1:1, 4

God has spoken many times to many people, including the prophets and messengers of Scripture. And if we’re observant, we’ll notice an interesting phenomenon when we read the words of these messengers: They wrote with distinctive styles and personalities. They heard God’s voice and expressed it through their own individuality. Ezekiel’s prophecies sound like Ezekiel; Jeremiah’s sound like Jeremiah; Paul’s letters sound like Paul; and so on. It was God’s voice through their voices  —an intersection of the human and the divine.

That’s how God’s voice comes to us, too. We often expect Him to sound like a deep-voiced narrator with a Shakespearean accent, but that’s not His style. And when His voice comes bubbling up through our own inner thoughts, we discount it as our own self-talk. It sounds so much like our imagination or the wandering of our reckless ideas. Rarely do we remember that the Spirit flows from within us. He is not coming from the outside as an objective experience to be measured; He has infiltrated our minds and hearts and transformed them, and He speaks subjectively through them. As with the prophets of old, He sounds a lot like the person through whom He is speaking.

Our rationalist minds, steeped in Greek linear logic, may have trouble with this experience. We’re apt to say that the voice sounds like us because it is us. But apart from burning bushes and open visions, this is how God normally speaks. Our job is to discern which impulses within us are Spirit-inspired and which are not. Is that subjective? Of course. But all relationships are. We all communicate through filters of perceptions and feelings and past experiences. If we are to relate to God at all, it will have to be through a subjective conversation and intuitive perception of His Spirit. And we will have to trust the God who lives deep within us to speak to us there.

Lord, speak to my thoughts. Let me know which ones are Yours. Help me to discern the deep impulses of my heart that come from You  —and to believe them.

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