My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10: 27 NIV
This topic seems to be coming up more frequently in conversations with my friends.
How do we know if we’re hearing God’s voice on a particular topic? How do we ensure that it is not just our minds making things up?
I love to read, and now that I spend less time on social media, I have more time to read. Because this has been one of my biggest questions as well – I have chosen books and other media that specifically talk on this topic. Two of the books I recently read and highly recommend are “Discerning the Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer and “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” by Mark Batterson.
The one thing that stands out in hearing the voice of God is that what you hear will not contradict what the Bible says. You will not be given instructions that go against God’s character.
Keys To Hearing God’s Voice
As Priscilla Shirer shares, some of the ways to know if God is speaking are:
- He is persistent: you will receive the same information from different sources.
- He communicates personally: God knows exactly who you are, and he communicates to you personally.
- He brings peace: God gives His peace in situations.
- He exudes truth: If you are hearing anything except the truth, it is not of God.
- He speaks with authority: Just like the disciples’ hearts burned within them when He spoke, you will know that it is not your own thoughts.
Some of the tests that Mark Batterson shares are:
- Goosebump test: was there a quickening in your spirit?
- Peace test: are you at peace about the decision/instruction?
- Wise Council test: what are your trusted and wise counselors saying?
- Crazy test: does this idea seem too crazy for it to be your own thoughts?
- Released from and Called to test: have you been released from what you were previously doing so you can move towards what you have been called to do?
- By no means is this a comprehensive list. God is God and He can choose to speak to us in the manner He sees fit. As Priscilla stated, He is a personal God, and so are our relationships. He will personalize the way He communicates with you.
John 10: 27 NIV states: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
He Wants To Communicate With Us
God desires communication with us. He wants to hear our voices and in return wants to show us His. So when we are diligent and genuine in our desire for communication, through prayer and reading His word, he will speak to our hearts.
That old story about Elijah speaks volumes about how God talk to use. Hearing God’s voice is less of an audible sound in our ears and more of a still small voice in our heart. When we feel conviction, that’s God talking to us. When we feel pulled to witness to that person, that’s God impressing upon us. When we feel confident and bold to share His word, that’s God propping us up.
God is most often not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. Rather, he’s in our heart nudging us in the right direction.
Read 1 Kings 19:11-13
Hearing God’s Voice Through Obedience
Another way we hear God’s voice is through obedience. When I walk with the Lord daily, I often find it easier to listen to his voice. His impression on my heart is clearer than normal and He doesn’t just show me how to live, He reveals sin in my life that makes things harder than they should be. He puts his finger in the areas of my life that need correction and I’m more responsive to Him.
In order to be obedient, and hear His voice clearly, I need to be dwelling in his presence daily. Like a parent knows their child’s cry, or a child knows their parents voice, when we continually dwell with the Lord, it becomes easier to identify his calling.
When we become obedient in our everyday lives, God works in us to sanctify us and give us a life of peace, happiness and true joy.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being a personal God. Thank you for reaching out to us and saving us when we were lost and without hope. Lord, help us to recognize your voice more clearly when we spend time in study of your word.