In reading the Word of God, we may think we come with no preconceptions, but that’s not really the case. Just as the expectations of the disciples affected how they heard and understood Jesus’ teaching, so too our perception of God’s voice is shaped by our experiences.
Let’s consider how some of the people and events in our life helped define how we hear God speak through His Word and His Spirit.
Our Parents. Our self-concept is shaped early by the way we were treated in childhood, and that in turn affects how we perceive our heavenly Father and His love for us.
Our Teachers. If we had a teacher who was a harsh taskmaster, we may have a similar image of the Lord. But if our instructor was kind and patient, then God may seem more approachable to us.
Our Friends. Having one loyal friend can help us view the Lord in that same light. But if we’ve ever been betrayed, seeds of doubt about God’s faithfulness may be sown in our minds and affect how we hear Him speak in His Word.
Our Experiences. Whether our life has been pleasant and free of turmoil or painful and traumatic, everything we’ve experienced has shaped our understanding of the way God treats us.
This is why it’s critical to let the Word of God rather than our experiences become the filter through which we see life and understand the Lord. Before picking up the Bible or praying, let’s ask God to strip away any misconceptions so we can hear Him accurately.
Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 13-14