As a follow-up from my previous posts on this topic, just thought I’d share a bit of the advice I gave to someone who asked me that question.
We are so used to hearing on ‘the outside.’ By that I mean physically through our ears. That pathway of ‘hearing’ is actually the brain interpreting sound waves stimulating our nerves and neutrons as signals from our environment. We have grown up to learn that these sounds can become a language and that has given us an ability to interact and communicate. As we mature, we might even develop a skill set that helps us to understand and comprehend the actual meaning and intention ‘behind’ what a person is trying to say. Just because we have said something doesn’t mean that we are understood.
Our normal way of communicating can be defined as coming from the ‘outside’ with those we interact.
Jesus once said, ‘my sheep will hear my voice.’ That kind of hearing comes from deep within our soul. We are informed through Scripture that the Holy Spirit will take the deep thoughts of God and reveal them to us. That’s akin to hearing the ‘still small voice of God.’
You might be able to understand this better if you see yourself having two aspects to your life: that which comes from outside of you; and that which is your inner being. People can get to know you on the outside, but as we all know, that is not the case with your inner life and thoughts. That aspect of your life may even now be described as a hidden inner dialogue with your conscience.
Hopefully there is not a disconnect between these two parts of you. Sometimes we have learnt to smile on the outside, but are going through turmoil on the inside. A person of integrity can be seen as someone integrated between their values they hold within (like our belief in God’s grace, love, and forgiveness) and the outside expression of the same.
It can also work the other way: ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.’ Our inner self becomes transformed to reflect more the likeness of values introduced to us. The Apostle Paul encouraged his readers to be ‘transformed by the renewal of your mind.’ The end result of that transformation was the ability to recognise the things of God – ‘his good and perfect will for us.’ (Romans 12:2)
My guess is that God values what is happening to us on the inside.
Jesus often stretched the pharisees limited perspective of ‘morality on the outside,’ by forcing them to acknowledge our inner preoccupation. He challenged them: ‘as you have hate for your brother in your thoughts, you have already committed murder.’ Seems extreme, but the point is that what develops within us has a way of defining us and our actions.
Jesus even identified that from our innermost thoughts all kinds of evil wells up. Is that the place of our inner worship & inner workings?(see Mark 7:6-23)
Perhaps ‘the real you & the real me’ is what’s taking shape in our inner life. Of all the things that God could have done to sort out evil and rid us of sin, God chose the message and action of forgiveness. God could have done that when Adam was a lad – why wait all that time? If our reality is the inner life and that is where we dwell, then Jesus came into our world to redecorate and reshape our inner being.
I believe that Christ’s salvation is seen in a restored relationship with God to have the ability to hear and see and interact with God; just as it was intended for Adam before sin and death came into our existence.
The effects of that kind of salvation work is experienced in our inner dialogue and conversations with God (our prayer language!).
As a side point: the temple walk that I have developed is basically just a mud-map to find our relationship with God expressed in the ‘hearing and seeing’ integration and interaction with God through His Holy Spirit.
God saved us so that we could once again walk with God and for us to meet with God as he chats with us in the cool of the evening (Gen.3:8).