Not sure if it’s you or God? Use these four easy ways to know if you’re hearing God’s voice, and enjoy the conversation!
Our lives can sometimes feel like constant noise—voices from every side—influencing the way we think and feel. But, in the midst of it all, there is one voice we need to hear the most—the voice of God.
When you’re seeking the answer to one of life’s challenges, do you ever wonder if you’re hearing God’s voice, or if it’s just your own voice? Maybe you’re hoping to hear from Him, but you don’t want to get it wrong and make a bad move. Do you need to hear Him today about your finances, your children, your marriage or your health?
There is good news—God is speaking to you all the time. In fact, A.W. Tozer said, “It’s the nature of God to speak.” He wants to have fellowship with you, and He wants you to hear Him—all the time.
God has promised to lead His children by His Spirit and enable them to know His voice. That means you can learn to know exactly what the Spirit of God is saying to you about every situation. You don’t have to go through life blindly making decisions or relying on your own abilities.
When you learn to tune in to God’s voice, it won’t be an occasional event but an everyday part of life. That’s why, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” 15 different times.
You can learn to hear God!
If you’re longing for certainty in your fellowship with God, here are four ways to know if you’re hearing God’s voice:
1. Check Your Receiver
“And you will seek for Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
Have you ever tried to watch television or listen to the radio without turning it on? Of course not! You already know that if you don’t turn on the receiver, you’re not going to hear a thing. When you do turn them on, you fully expect to hear something!
So, how do you check your spiritual receiver? The one way to know if your spiritual receiver is turned on is to answer this question:
Do you expect to hear from God?
Some people say, Well, God just doesn’t talk to me. But, here is an important truth: even if you don’t feel like God speaks to you—He does. In fact, He’s speaking to you right now. But, if you aren’t expecting to hear from Him, you haven’t even turned on the receiver!
Now, let’s be clear—He isn’t going to scream, yell and demand that you pay attention. He is always speaking to you, but He speaks in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12, NKJV). So to hear Him, you have to tune in and listen carefully. Another way to describe the way we hear God’s voice is through an inward witness.
What is an inward witness?
God doesn’t communicate with us the way we communicate with one another. He communicates from His Spirit to your spirit, and then your spirit communicates what you hear to your mind. That is what we call an inward witness. It is very similar to a thought or a prompting. It’s very subtle and requires a closeness with God and regular practice to hear it more quickly and clearly.
That’s why the more time you spend with the Lord and the more you practice tuning in to His voice, the more it will become a voice that “thunders in marvelous ways” (Job 37:5, NIV).
Certainty in knowing that you are hearing God’s voice comes to the person who is united with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17, NIV). United means “joined,” or “in union.” It doesn’t apply to someone who is not living for God. It applies to whomever seeks Him diligently, spends time fellowshiping with Him through prayer, and obeys the commands in His Word.
A receiver who is intact and ready to tune in to the voice of God is one who is expecting to hear from Him, and is willing to learn to know His voice.
2. Find His Frequency
“They know his voice” –John 10:4 (NKJV)
There was once a time when you had to work to tune in to a program on the radio or television set. You had to find the right frequency. You never questioned if it was broadcasting—you knew it was—but you had to do your part to find the frequency and tune in.
How do you locate the frequency God uses to speak to you?
Most often, we miss His frequency because we’re tuned in to hear some huge revelation; when, in fact, He is giving simple instructions. That’s what He will do when you first begin to hear from Him—and He will continue to do this for the rest of your life here on earth. Obedience in the simple things is very important to God—it reveals the willingness of you heart.
So, if you’re waiting for God to send you out to part the Red Sea, you may be missing what He’s saying to you right now—which might be to clean out your closet or stop watching certain television shows or spend more time with your children. He will talk to you about the small things in your life that you need to change—adjustments you need to make. He will begin to deal with you where you are, which most often involves helping you walk in God’s best by getting rid of things that are holding you back.
God wants liberty and freedom for our lives, and that begins with training. He teaches us how to be led by the Spirit. But, if we disobey these promptings in the little things, we won’t graduate to the bigger assignments. Sometimes, the small things He asks of us may seem unimportant, or involve giving up things we think we enjoy. But to reach a level of intimacy with God where we hear His voice and are launched us into new places in the spirit, obedience must become a non-negotiable in our lives.
That’s why Matthew 18 tells us to become like little children—which means not to be high-minded and think we’re all-knowing. To find God’s frequency, you must be willing to hear His voice in the small things.
3. Learn to Discern His Voice
“My sheep hear my voice.” –John 10:27 (KJV)
If your spouse or closest friend calls you on the telephone, do you know it’s them before they tell you? Most likely you do! But how? Because you’ve spent so much time with them, the sound of their voice and their way of saying things has become well-known to you—easy to recognize.
The same is true when it comes to our relationship with God.
If you want to get to a place where you don’t have to wonder whose voice you’re hearing—yours, the devil’s or God’s—you need to spend time with the Lord. A lot of time. But, if you keep your mind and your heart full of the things of this world, it will be difficult for you to differentiate between the Spirit of God and your own thoughts. That is the definition of a carnal mind—one that has not been renewed by the Word of God.
The more time you spend with Him, the more certain you’ll become about hearing God’s voice. It isn’t just time talking to Him, though. We learn His voice when we listen to His voice. That’s why in Matthew 17:5 (NASB) He said, “This is My beloved Son…listen to Him!”
Find out more about discernment and how to use it here.
4. Line It Up With His Word—the Bible
“All Scripture is inspired by God.” –2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB)
One sure way to know if you’re hearing God’s voice is to line up what you hear against the Word of God. God will never tell you to do, think or say anything contrary to His Word. If you have a thought and you don’t know if it’s God or not—you can look it up in the Bible and settle it right away.
The Spirit of God will only tell you to do things that will give you a more abundant life. Every change He tells you to make is designed to bring blessing into your life and minister grace to you. So, He isn’t going to tell you to refuse to forgive someone or spend money frivolously, or anything else that doesn’t match His Word.
God always agrees with His written Word, and His Word always agrees with Him. In fact, Psalm 138:2 (NKJV) says He has magnified His Word even above His Name. That means God has put His Name on His written Word the way we would put our name at the bottom of a contract. He has given us His Word as a covenant and signed it in the Name of Jesus, by the blood of Jesus. Since God cannot lie, there is no way He will ever do or say anything contrary to that Word. He has absolutely joined Himself to it forever.
God trains us to recognize His voice through His written Word. He uses it to tune our spiritual ears to what is real so that we can easily recognize a counterfeit.
When you’re trained to hear God’s voice in His Word, the devil won’t be able to sneak deceptions in on you. When he tries to razzle-dazzle you with some religious-sounding voice that says, “I love you, my son. But it’s just not my will to heal you at this time,” you won’t buy it. You’ll rise up and say, “That’s not the voice of God. That’s a lie from hell because it doesn’t agree with the Word that says, ‘By His stripes we are healed’” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV).
To live in confidence that you are hearing from Him, you need to have a knowledge of His Word continually in your heart. And you do this by drawing near to God (James 4:8). That’s your part—to seek Him. God’s not going to run you down. Your part is to diligently seek Him. That involves spending time in the Word and in prayer. And whatever place you give Him in your life, the Spirit of God will fill it up for you.
The best part about hearing God’s voice?
You won’t just avoid counterfeit voices—you’ll be given access to secrets and revelation knowledge that will make you the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13). In Jeremiah 33:3, He says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NASB). All you have to do is pursue a life in which you hear the voice of God, heed it and walk into a victory you never thought possible.
When you check your receiver, find His frequency, learn to discern His voice, and line up what you hear with His Word—hearing God’s voice won’t be an occasional event, but a lifestyle. And when someone asks you, “What is the Spirit of God telling you today?” you won’t hesitate for a moment. You’ll know exactly what to say.
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