How do you recognize when it’s God speaking to you and giving you direction? How do you determine if it’s your own desires or thoughts, the influence of the world, or even satan?
The Bible says in 1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV), “Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. ”
God has a still, small voice. It’s important that we take time to pull away and get really quiet before God to listen to Him and hear Him clearly. We know that God will never violate His own word, so anything that contradicts scripture is not from God. (Titus 1:2, NKJV)
We primarily hear God’s voice through the Bible – reading it, studying it, memorizing it. The Bible is the very thoughts and heart of God. It is our life map, our wisdom, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm 119: 105) As you are reading the Bible, something from the page will often jump out to you. Faith will be stirred in your heart. There is an inner witness, a knowing this was God.
Another way to know the voice of God is to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings with a word from God. Jesus came to give us peace, so any voice that leaves us feeling confused, fearful, angry, discouraged, etc, is not from God. John 14:25-27 (The Message) says, “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
We can also find out the will of God through the advice, prayers, and prophetic words of godly people. God often uses His people to confirm the word of the Lord to us. Proverbs 11:14 (NASB) says, “Where there there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. ” The Darby Translation of that same verse says, “Where no advice is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
Although this is not always a reliable source of confirmation, at times God does give His people dreams and visions to guide them. God spoke to Joseph in his dreams that one day he would be ruler over his father and his brothers, who sold him into slavery out of jealousy. (Genesis 37) God spoke to Peter in a dream about what was clean and unclean, which was His word and direction to Peter to preach the good news of salvation to the Gentiles. (Acts 10: 9-40) God spoke to John of the end of times in the book of Revelation.
God may use one or a number of these ways to speak to us. To learn more about being able to hear God’s voice, and spending quiet time with Him each day in prayer, click here.
I might think you have been a fly on our wall:-) We have been talking about this in our family. My son is really trying to find his way – not sure if he wants to stay in New York, and doesn’t feel too confident about discerning how God speaks.
I know this has always been hard for me too. I would much prefer God send me a note with the next step on it that he wants us to take!
Lol, Laurie. Actually my husband Ray and I are in the midst of some very hard decisions right now and we’re trying to hear God’s voice very clearly. Sometimes it’s just so hard to tell and you just wish God would SAY IT OUT LOUD – and show you that very next step! Thanks for commenting! How is your week going?