I would like to offer you a New Year’s resolution. It may be the single most powerful change agent in your life. It is simply, listen to God.
The new House Speaker Mike Johnson says he does. “I am a Bible-believing Christian,” he said. To know how he thinks about issues, “Go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.” That comment was too much for Bill Maher, the TV talk show host. “I was reading about this horrible shooting in Maine,” he said. “And, you know, we don’t know much about the guy yet, but apparently he heard voices and I thought, is he that different than Mike Johnson?”
If you see the difference between Maher’s straw man argument about homicidal insanity and the life-giving habit of listening to God, then there’s hope for you. There is no version of authentic Christianity that doesn’t include God speaking to humans. I agree that people have falsely attributed horrible thoughts to God. But criticize what’s wrong, not what’s right.
The Bible tells the story of God revealing Himself to humans. You can’t know someone if they don’t talk to you. So, immediately after creating humans in His image, God spoke to them (Gen. 1:28). The Bible records God speaking through prophets, angels, a burning bush, even a donkey. What’s important is not how He speaks, but that He does.
The pinnacle of God speaking to humans happened when He stepped into creation as a man. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus continues to speak. He said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). He promised to send the Holy Spirit to “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
Being made in God’s image means having a mind to receive His thoughts. All day long you process thoughts from various sources, which you either ignore, dismiss, or adopt. Jordan Peterson and John Lennox discussed the mysteries of human thinking. “Something appears to you, and it springs out of the void,” Peterson said. “And you can say you thought it up. But you’re not saying any more than, it appeared to me.” Lennox was more specific. “The capacity for humans to think seems to be a reflection of their Creator.” You have many thoughts, and some of them are God’s truth.
What would God speak to you? That He exists. Truth exists. He loves you. He has a plan for you. So why not make a resolution this year to pick up a Bible off the shelf and read it. And when you do, listen carefully.