Hearing the voice of God seems to be a real challenge for many christians. Still it’s not as hard as you think. In this article you will discover many useful tips, that will help you discern the voice of God. The first principle we all must establish in our hearts is that God does indeed speak today, and He longs for us to learn how to recognize His voice, in the midst of all the noises of this world. One of the worst lies christians have believed is that God stopped speaking when the Bible was published Nothing could be further from the truth.
Because God longs for us to have a real friendship with Him, He wants to teach us how to hear his voice, that is always full of love and comfort for us. Being able to hear the voice of God, makes us stronger to overcome the challenges in our life and helps us avoid pitfalls and make the right choices. In this article you find important keys to hearing God’s voice, based on the Bible. I encourage you to take some time to read this entire article and put it to practice. It will bring life saving blessings and strength to you and your beloved ones!
Many Christians have heard in their churches that God does not speak anymore today. Is that true? Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this. We see throughout the Bible that God speaks:
The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets! (Psalm 50:1)
Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3)
I will listen to what God the Lord says. (Psalm 85:8)
We are not less than the men or women of God in the Bible! We can develop an intimate heart-to-heart relationship with God as well, if we truly want to.
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. (Exodus 33:11)
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. (James 5:17)
I have called you friends… (John 15:15)
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Psalm 25:14)
Jesus Christ said that everyone who belongs to him, can hear his voice. In fact He said that the ability to recognize his voice is the hallmark of every true follower of Jesus Christ.
My sheep listen to my voice. (John 10:27)
Yet many Christians have learned that God stopped speaking tho us, since the Bible was put together. This teaching goes directly against the truth revealed in the Bible that God desires to speak to us and wants us to learn to hear his voice.
Since pentecost we are living in a time that is characterized by the voice of God. God is speaking more today than he has ever done in the past. Since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy have been poured out abundantly over God’s people all over the world.
‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’ (Acts 2:17, 18)
Eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy…. The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Corinthians 14:1-4)
Throughout the New Testament we see that the Spirit of God speaks to people:
The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. (Acts 11:12)
The Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith. (1 Timothy 4:1)
The apostle Peter even instructed us very clearly that we must allow God to speak through us:
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. (1 Peter 4:11)
The Bible says we are taught by the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth. How can he teach us, if we can’t hear his voice?
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13)
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2: 10)
He wants to have fellowship with us, he wants to fill us with his Holy Spirit so we would prophecy, see visions, receive his dreams etc. God is a speaking God, he wants us to hear his voice and he instructs us to become vessels of his voice to encourage others.
Now that we know for sure that God still speaks today, the next question is: how can we hear the voice of God? And, how can we be sure we are not deceived by a wrong voice, for example by a deceiving spirit? First of all I want to outline two very basic principles that help you hear the voice of God accurately. For some this may sound too obvious, but it is absolutely essential not to skip these two steps.
The first foundation to hearing the voice of God in a pure way, is to deeply and radically repent from your selfish life and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to set you free from your sins.
If you do not submit your life, your pride, your will, your emotions, your spirit – your entire being to the lordship of Jesus Christ, you will start hearing voices of spirits that imitate the Holy Spirit and you will be deceived.
Jesus Christ came to set us free from the realm of witchcraft, deception and darkness and to bring us close to God. He made it clear that he is the only way to a relationship with the heavenly Father:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. (John 8:12)
Without Jesus Christ we are exposed to spirits and spiritual powers that want to mislead us. But he came into this world to bring the true light, that sets us free.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. (John 1:9)
Deny once and for all every other spiritual source of influence, close the doors to every form of occult practice, sourcery, new age, witchcraft, fortunetelling… throw it as far from you as the east is from the west, repent from it with all your heart and bow deep before the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who died for you, to forgive your sins and give you a brand new life in him.
Let your pride go down the drain, let your own opinions and every form of rebellion fall away and kneel before Jesus Christ. Surrender to him and ask him to become your one and only true Lord, God, King and Source. Here you can read more about Jesus Christ.
The second key to hear the voice of God is receiving the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, may receive the glorious, amazing gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Without being baptized (or filled) with the Spirit of God, it is impossible to hear the voice of God clearly and regularly. He is the breath of God who comes to live inside of you, to enable you to have a supernatural relationship with God. Read how you can receive the Holy Spirit.
God desires more than anything to talk to you, but he is waiting for you to learn to listen. We are so used to talking to God but we haven’t learned that God also wants to say something to us. There is only a relationship when there is communication. You have a friendship when you talk with each other and listen to each other.
Take time to be with God, without saying anything. Learn to relax with God. Learn to open your heart for Him. Learn to set time apart to come into quietness and rest with God. Get away from the restlessness of the world, the many sounds of television and internet and seek the stillness. He will speak. You can count on that. It is unusual to hear God’s voice as loud as Samuel did when he was called out of bed in the middle of the night…
You know, you live in a body, you possess a soul but you are a SPIRIT. And God? God is spirit too. That is why God speaks to you in a spiritual manner. That is: He speaks to your spirit. So you can hear him with the ears of your spirit. Ears of my spirit? Yes indeed. Your spirit has senses just like your body. Because when you are outside your body, you can STILL see, hear and feel. People who have had a near death experience, left their body for a short period of time and suddenly they could see, hear and feel much better.
When God speaks, you listen with the ears of your spirit and when God shows you something, you will see it with the eyes of your spirit. True wisdom is not in your physical brains, but in the ‘brains’ of your spirit. That is why the Bible says that only knowing God intimately makes you truly wise. That is why Jesus said:
I have taught you for three years, but only if the holy Spirit will come into you, you will understand. He will lead you into truly knowing (by experience) the truth. (Paraphrased from John 14-17)
Real knowledge of God doesn’t develop in your brain, but in your spirit. It is given to you by the holy Spirit of God. That is an important difference. A well-known Christian song says: ‘open the eyes of my heart, Lord’. A bible verse says:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling. (Ephesians 1:18)
As Westerners we have been taught to understand everything from our brains. If our grey cells cannot grasp it, we want to keep a safe distance. However, God is not a set of brain cells, nor is he a book full of words. He is SPIRIT and speaks to our spirit, in a spiritual way, to our spiritual senses.
It is like you ‘hear’ something in your heart or in your thoughts. A soft voice. A deep impression in your heart. An inner feeling. Soft, loving, something very clear, sometimes very quiet. You can’t hear it with your physical ears but nonetheless it is a clear thought, a clear sound, a clear meaning. You just hear it. Very simple. Or you know something very strongly. Or you can feel a thought well up from the inward. It comes spontaneously, naturally, quietly.
Voices that intrude aggressively, voices that chase you up, voice that frighten you or cause agitation, are never God’s voice. Because God is love and he speaks from love. God is a father, a friend, a lover. He is also a loving Shepherd. He doesn’t need to shout in your ears. He is soft, loving and constructive. Even when he corrects you, he will do it from his love and with the desire to bring you more in his love.
You can ‘see’ something with your inner eyes yet it is invisible for your physical eyes. You can just SEE it in front of you. Simple. God shows it to you. Some have a gift of God to ‘see’ very often what God is showing them. With others it is less often. But we all have spiritual eyes and we all have the ability to ‘see’ spiritually.
When God shows you something in your spirit it usually makes a deep impression. I once saw an image of an awesome light. The thought came into my heart ‘This light is God. You are outside of that light. You don’t have to be. You are supposed to be in that light. Don’t be afraid and come completely into the light of God.’ At that same moment I felt suddenly that I was completely surrounded by that enormous light.
The lesson God showed me with this was: ‘You are NOT TOO FEEBLE to stand in the full light of God. God doesn’t want you to separate yourself from Him because He forgives your mistakes. Realise that you are allowed to be in the center of the LIGHT of God. Come and be at ease where you are supposed to live: in the full light of God.’
I discovered through this image and the thoughts that followed that God accepts me completely. You will never forget lessons like that.
You can always do that, anytime you want to. My wife and I sometimes do this together with the children. At those moments we ask God if He wants to show us something, to encourage each other. You can always ask God to show you something as an answer to a prayer or a need. After you have made your need known to God, ask Him to show you something. Focus yourself on Jesus Christ and relax.
God speaks in many different ways. If you pay attention to God’s voice you will notice that He will use every possible way to reach you. Following are some ways how God can speak to you:
The Bible is God’s book in which He shows Himself. When you read in it, you can learn so much about Him and yourself. Everything is about his relationship with you and His love.
Because the Bible will only become God’s voice to you if the Spirit of God leads you, for you to get things out of it that God wants to say to you.
Like the young Samuel that heard God’s voice so loudly it woke him up. There is also the example of the baptism of Jesus Christ where God’s voice sounded so loud that the bystanders said it was a thunder strike. Even today God speaks to people with an audible voice, though not very often.
This is what we already discussed. You can hear that voice essentially in your spirit aka you inner being. In your thoughts you can hear three voices: your own, the voices of demons (who only speak lies) and God’s voice. The more you practise, the better you will be able to discern God’s voice. That is the only way. Try, practise and build up experience. You will learn it as you follow God for a longer period of time. It is important to always check the voice to the message God has revealed in the Bible. When a voice says things that are not in agreement with what the Bible says, it is a deceiving voice.
God always speaks to us by giving us inner peace or unrest when having a certain thought or decision we want to take. God lives in your inner being so He will always confirm something if it is of Him or not, by His inner peace. God can speak very clearly to you by giving you a feeling of sadness when taking a certain decision or a feeling of unrest.
In those cases it is better to wait until you receive more clarity from God. Typically, if a decision is in line with the will of God, the holy Spirit will give you peace and joy over it.
Even when making a difficult decision that will ask something of you, when you make that decision it will give you a feeling of freedom and peace. To break free from an ungodly relationship can cause emotional pain for a while, but at a deeper level will the spirit of God give you a profound peace.
Jesus Christ had to lay down his life and made the choice to do God’s will. That was a very hard step that involved a lot of pain, but God sent Him an angel to give Him peace and strength. God confirms his will always by peace. Deep inner peace. Agitation is a sign that something is not up to par.
In the Bible there are many examples of people receiving dreams where God speaks to them. A dream like that can be some kind of allegory or metaphor. Typical for a dream of God is that you can’t forget about it. You keep wondering ‘what does this dream mean?’ That is a sign that God wants you to find the explanation of that dream.
A nightmare seldom comes from God. God can give you a disturbing dream to warn you, but in general a dark dream that brings a lot of agitation is not from God.
Make sure you don’t run with a human explanation but listen to the inner confirmation in your heart. Sometimes it takes a long time before you find an explanation about a dream. That is ok.
A vision is like a dream, but while you are awake. You will see some kind of movie in front of you and it can be real vivid. You can find this in the Bible as well. Ezekiel, Daniel and John all had visions like that.
Finally, images are like pictures you can see. God will simply show you something and let you understand the meaning of it. This happens often during prayer. God shows images to make something clearer.
Prophecy is passing on the voice of God. It is a special gift of the holy Spirit of which the Bible says we should desire this gift above all others.
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1 Cor. 14:1)
The gift of prophecy is meant to encourage others, build them up and correct them. This gift is so important to God because everybody is able to receive it and it so encouraging when it is pure and functioning truly through God’s Spirit.
You do have to be careful with prophecy because some people abuse it to manipulate others. Still, that is no reason not to pursue this gift. It just should be a motivation to strive for the pure workings of this important gift of God.
There are moments where you find yourself looking at something for no obvious reason. This could be an object, a text or a person. It often happens that God wants to say something to you through that person, the text or the object. When that is the case, just ask: ‘What do you want to tell me, Lord?’
Some people suddenly get a line, a song or a poem in their thoughts. It might be a good thing to find the complete text because it could be that God wants to tell you something through that text. It can be encouragement or an instruction of something God wants you to do. My wife regularly gets a song in her thoughts, a song she hasn’t heard for years. When we look up the text it turns out to be an answer to something we are struggling with at that moment. It can be very impressive and it gives you the feeling that God is really closely involved with your life.
God also uses people to talk to us. Many times those people don’t even realise God is speaking through them, but you will know because a certain line will deeply touch your for one or the other reason. It can be painful at times because God is pointing out a weakness or mistake. But the Bible shows us it is vitally important to listen to the warnings of others.
But God speaks clearly in his Word that we have to pay attention to what He can say to us through others.
If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe. (Proverbs 13:13)
There is a very practical way that has helped many people to start hearing the voice of God. This technique consists of four simple steps:
1) Sit behind your computer or take a sheet of paper.
2) Focus wholeheartedly on Jesus Christ.
3) Become relaxed.
4) Start writing spontaneously.
This is called ‘journalling’. What you do, is let the holy Spirit speak through you, without letting your carnal mind get in the way, that wants to analyze everything.
When you believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized in the Spirit, then HIS PRESENCE IS INSIDE OF YOU. So it is easy to let God speak through you. But you need to let go of your rational, carnal control. Don’t try to analyze what is happening.
Write, let your fingers type or write on the paper, let it flow spontanuously… And when you feel it is done, start reading it. People tend to think pretty negative about themselves. When you read words that are suddenly very positive, very loving, very uplifting, you know for sure that is God who is speaking to you.
The same goes for singing, painting, dancing… The river of the holy Spirit is inside of you, says Jesus Christ in the gospel of John. The river of living water comes forth from your belly. Just learn to let it flow spontanuously, in whatever way.
When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, you became the dwelling place for God. That is the basic revelation of the New Testament: God lives in you. So it is not hard at all to let Him speak.
So what are you waiting for? Start listening to the voice of God, for example through journalling. Take a nice notebook and dedicate it to journalling. Be like a child, don’t think, but be spontaneous, trusting, relaxed and surrendered tot the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Don’t be afraid, but trust your heavenly Father. He will speak to you.
A major key to hear the voice of God is TRUSTING HIM that he wil indeed speak and that he does not deceive you. He is your loving Father!
David Sorensen had a dramatic encounter with God, which completely transformed his life. He decided to spend the rest of his life showing others show real God is and how much he loves us. David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is.
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