Renew your mind. Since God often speaks to you through your mind and wants you to develop what the Bible calls the “mind of Christ” (the ability to make decisions as Jesus would), it’s crucial for you to follow the Bible’s urging in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day, He will cleanse it from such dirt and clutter as false beliefs and attitudes, unhealthy feelings, and misguided plans. Then the Holy Spirit will replace all of that with true thoughts that reflect God’s purposes.

Invite the living Word to help you when you read the written word. The Word of God is a living, creative force – Jesus Himself – and He is actively at work when you read God’s written word – the Bible – prayerfully. When you read the Bible, ask Jesus to make the Bible’s words come alive for you and become conduits through which He sends His thoughts, faith, and love into your soul. Then focus on what He sends you and orient yourself toward it so it will begin to transform your life.

Recognize God’s voice above all others. By experience, you can learn to recognize God’s voice when He speaks, and to confidently respond to what He says. When thoughts recur, pray about them to discern if they may be coming from God. Keep in mind that God will never send you a message that contradicts the Bible’s principles. Also, God’s voice carries the weight of authority within it, and expresses a spirit of peace, confidence, joy, reasonableness, and goodwill. If you think that God may speaking to you, ask Him to confirm so as you study and meditate on the Bible, as you’re alert to the circumstances you encounter, or as you experience the Holy Spirit’s impressions in your mind.

Set aside time regularly to listen for God’s messages. Make a habit of intentionally and expectantly listening for whatever God may want to tell you. It’s more important to become a person who listens regularly to God than it is to constantly ask God to give you guidance.

Dallas Willard is professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. He is the author of The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines. Visit his website at: http://www.dwillard.org/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.comto send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer

Publication date: June 15, 2012