We all face situations where we just wish God would tell us exactly what to do.
But how do you know if it’s God speaking to you, just your own thoughts, or worse, the devil speaking to you?
How can you discern God’s voice and get His direction for your life?
Is there a way to know that it is God speaking and not just what you want to hear?
There are a few reasons it’s hard to hear from God.
The truth is, God does want to speak to you. In fact, He is ever sending messages to you. And it is possible to hear His voice. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and follow me.” The Bible is full of examples of people hearing from God and He hasn’t changed. He still wants to communicate with you today.
It may be hard to recognise God’s voice at first, but there are ways to start learning to hear from Him and know that it is Him speaking to you.
Have no will of your own in the matter. Are you willing to do whatever God says whether it’s this way, or that way? Surrendering your will allows God to step in and show you what His will is.
Another important reason to surrender to God is so that you do not act or “hear” according to your temperament:
“God’s will for me must not be made subject to my own temperament. When we know a man’s make-up it is often all too easy to guess what ‘guidance’ he will get, because his natural proclivities intrude so subtly upon the leading of God.
Too much so-called guidance among us is little more than personal bias. A timid brother is ‘guided’ to take a back seat. A forward brother is ‘guided’ to take a front seat. Each claims to be led of the Lord. Is he? Or is his temperament ruling him?
The pure will of God demands of me that what I am temperamentally shall be set aside. I should be so Spirit-filled that the man beside me cannot foresee, on grounds of my temperament alone, how God will lead me.” Watchman Nee, A Table in the Wilderness, May 11
To recognize what is from God and what is not, you must know Him.
The only way to get to know Him is by spending time with Him in prayer and study of His word. Listening for God’s voice without regular Bible study opens you up to hearing voices that are not from God.
You must be a student of the word if you want to hear from God.
Knowing God’s word will protect you from deception because God will never contradict His word. Compare any impression or prompting to it. Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
God’s impressions and promptings always come with light and hope. Learn to distinguish the difference between conviction of sin and the guilt associated with it (legitimate guilt), and a guilt that never leaves you in spite of confession (illegitimate).
A prompting accompanied by force or guilt is not from God.
One of the surest ways to know that God is speaking is internal peace. When He rebukes and corrects He sends the Holy Spirit to comfort. Satan can never bring peace.
But: Beware of false peace. When you have a strong desire to do something, it can produce a false peace that comes only from excitement. As time passes this false peace disappears, and God’s true will emerges. Never move too quickly. Wait to let feelings and emotions simmer down, and spend time surrendering your will to God.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord.” God appeals to your reason, Satan uses force. Never act on a driven prompting. God may urge you to follow a course of action but it will come together with peace.
Learning to recognise God’s voice will impact your entire life. It will change your relationship with Him, transform your marriage, and change the way you parent your children.
It is a privilege to hear from God personally.
Challenge: start experimenting with God and learn to recognise His voice to you.