After I quoted Frank Viola or commented on one of his books in a blog, he sent me a message saying “Glad you like it.” As result, I’ve been paying real close attention to what he writes. A chapter in Jesus Speaks, which he co-authored with Leonard Sweet, Viola describes what “hearing the Lord” means and what that voice sounds like. I quote:
“The voice of the Lord is like a voice, but it’s not really a voice. It is more of an impulse, instinct, or guided intuition.”
In the New Covenant, God writes His law on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3). That shifts God’s presence from external to internal. That shifts His voice to, “inward promptings.”
“…when the voice of the Lord comes to us, it most often comes in the form of…
• Inward promptings
• Our own conscious thoughts
• A consciousness that either prompts us or forbids us to take action.
• Our own thoughts and judgments.
• Our thoughts, feelings and desires. (quotes from pages 131-135)
“When Jesus feels, He feels through our emotions.”
“When Jesus wills, He wills through our volition (will). Philippians 2:13
When Jesus loves, He loves through our souls—will, emotions, thoughts.
“The trick, therefore, is to discern when your thoughts, your feelings, and your will are reflecting the Lord’s mind, feelings, and will rather than your own.”
I’m not sure whether that helps or not. It dumps us onto the responsibility of discerning whether the voice that is prompting us is God’s, our own, or an intruder with a different agenda. All “promptings” and “spiritual inclinations” must be pushed through the filters of The Scripture, Tradition, Community, Holy Spirit common sense, character and habits of Jesus.
D. Dean Benton — firstname.lastname@example.org