Not sure if it’s you or God?
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding (Job 37:5).
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?
We all hear many voices every day proclaiming messages from three influences: the devil, the world, and the flesh. Jesus told us the devil is the Father of Lies. So every suggestion, every single word, from him will be contrary to God. Anything from his voice is obviously wrong, even if it might feel comfortable, inviting, or convenient. The world we live is not yet subject to the King of kings. God, in His mercy, allows people to live in disobedience to His authority and from these millions of people on earth come voices: opinions on how to live, what choices to make, and how to be happy.
1 Kings 18 gives the story of Elijah setting a competitions of the god’s with his God and what happened after was miraculous. But Elijah was also still very human. Just a few verses later, Queen Jezebel sent a courier with a threat on Elijah’s life. “He was afraid, arose, and ran for his life…” (1 Kings 19:3) and hid in a cave.
But God knew where Elijah was hiding. The word of the Lord came to Elijah and told him to go stand outside the cave. A great strong wind came that dashed rocks in pieces “…but the Lord was not in the wind.” After the wind, an earthquake came “…but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” Then a fire “…but the Lord was not in the fire.” After the fire, came the sound of a low whisper.
Elijah sensed that God was present in the soft whispers. He covered his face in humility and listened as God spoke. (1 Kings 19:11-13.) This is the lesson for you and me today on how to recognize the voice of the Spirit.
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. However most times we confuse the voice, we here ourselves more that hearing from God. In the last couple of months, I have personally felt into the trap of hearing from myself more and believing it’s a voice coming from God, but then I went deeper to learn more on what I should do so as I can start hearing from God.
I have learnt that 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,”
If you’re longing for certainty in your fellowship with God like me, here are ways to know if you’re hearing God’s voice:
“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
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.
Though God can use nature in spectacularly loud ways, like He did with Elijah, I’ve never found a single instance in the Bible when God screamed, yelled, or shouted at His people. “Not by might, or by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord. Certainty in knowing that you are hearing God’s voice comes to the person who is united with Him, 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 fellowshipping with Him through prayer, and obeys the commands in His Word.
“And you will seek for Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:13
The Bible is the Spirit-inspired vocabulary God uses to speak to us. “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and written by men who spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Become fluent in His Word and you will more easily recognize His Spirit’s voice. Most often, we miss His chat 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 your heart.
Jesus knows our every weakness. In His great love and kindness, He teaches us to stay close to Him for our safety and protection. “I am the good Shepherd…I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10-11).
God wants 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.
“My sheep hear my voice.” –John 10:27
A good starting place to measure what we hear is the Ten Commandments. Tune your ear to recognize the sound of His voice. Recognizing the sound of someone’s voice only comes with regular time together and conversation. Ask the Helper to sharpen your hearing, so you recognize His voice and His words more clearly. The realignment of my anxious heart with the truth of God’s control and purposes, which I don’t always see, was clearly the whisper of the Holy Spirit. I can be sure of that because He will never guide me to do or believe something contrary to God’s written word. Reminding us what is true about God Himself is always needed.
If you want to get to a place where you don’t have to wonder whose voice you’re hearing, yours, the devils 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 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.
Now that you know how to hear His voice, what do you do with what you hear from the Holy Spirit?
I am learning to live as His servant. “As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, so our eyes look to the Lord our God” (Psalm 123:2).
The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift to believers. We cannot live the Christian life as God intends on our own strength. God’s will, the Spirit’s greatest desire for each one of us. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (which is the Holy Spirit’s work in us), that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Watch out on upcoming book – Time for Growth (a b2m2g series).