More than half a century ago, Dr. Alfred Tomatis was confronted with the most curious case of his fifty-year career as a world-renowned otolaryngologist. An opera singer had mysteriously lost his ability to hit certain notes even though those notes were well within his vocal range. Other specialists thought it was a vocal problem, but Dr. Tomatis thought otherwise. Using a sonometer, Dr. Tomatis discovered that the opera singer was producing 140-decibel sound waves at a meter’s distance—that’s louder than a military jet taking off from an aircraft carrier. Long story short, the opera singer had been deafened by the sound of his own voice. And because he could no longer hear the note, he could no longer hit the note! In Dr. Tomatis’s words, “The voice can only reproduce what the ear can hear.”
The French Academy of Medicine dubbed it the Tomatis effect. And the ramifications go way beyond the opera! All of us have problems—relational problems, emotional problems, spiritual problems. And we think those problems are the problem, but those problems are really symptoms of a spiritual Tomatis Effect. The root problem is ears that haven been deafened to the voice of God. God is speaking. The question is: are we listening?
It’s time to discover the seven languages of God.*
The first language of God is Scripture, and it’s our Rosetta Stone. All the other languages are secondary languages, and they must be interpreted through the filter of Scripture. What’s unique about the Bible is that we don’t just read it, it reads us. Why? Because it’s living and active. When you open the Bible, God opens His mouth. And His word does not return void.
The second language is desire.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The word “give” means to conceive. In other words, God births new desires within us. We have this mistaken notion that God wants to send us somewhere we don’t want to go to do something we don’t want to do. That’s not the way God works! We’ve certainly got to be careful about identifying sinful desires and selfish desires, and God will never give us a desire that’s contrary to His good, pleasing, and perfect will as revealed in Scripture. But when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He sanctifies old desires and conceives new desires within us. Those God-ordained desires become compass needles that God uses to guide us.
The third language is dreams.
Acts 2:17 says, “I will pour out my spirit on all people, your sons and daughters would prophesy, your young men would see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.”
When God fills us with His Spirit, when His Spirit anoints our right-brain imagination, the supernatural byproduct is God-sized dreams. He’s gives us God ideas, and I’d rather than one God idea than a thousand good ideas. The more you pray, the more you will dream. And the more you dream, the more you have to pray!
The fourth language is doors.
Revelation 3:7-8 says, “What he opens no one can shut, what he shuts no one can open. See I have placed before you an open door.” We love open doors! Closed doors? Not so much! But it’s a package deal. And someday, we’ll thank God for the closed as much as the open doors! God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time, but we’ve got to discern the doors He is opening and closing.
The fifth language is people.
God used a prophet named Nathan to rebuke King David. God used an uncle named Mordecai to exhort Queen Esther. God used a spiritual father named Paul to encourage Timothy. Numbers 11:29 says, “I wish all the Lord’s people were prophets.” That may not be the way you see yourself, but make no mistake about it, God wants to speak to others through you. He wants to give you a prophetic voice, but it starts with a prophetic ear.
The sixth language is prompting.
Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’.” Scripture is our map, but the Holy Spirit is our guide. Here’s the good news: God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go, and He’s awfully good at getting us there. But you’ve got to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit if you want to get where God wants us to go!
C.S. Lewis said that God whispers through our pleasures, but shouts through our pain. You can ignore the Bible, but you can’t ignore pain. Pain is a byproduct of the curse in Genesis 3. And the day is coming when there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, Revelation 3. But in the meantime, we’d better learn to listen to pain. Pain is a marriage counselor. Pain is a life coach. Pain is a professor of theology. Pain is the way we learn some of life’s toughest lessons.