God’s voice is Speaking
A speaker recently visited our church to share about missionary work in countries where Christianity is outlawed. He said that in these circumstances where it’s extremely challenging for them to share the gospel, Jesus is actually coming to people in their dreams to introduce Himself, and to speak with them. It gave me goosebumps to hear, and still gives me goosebumps to write today. Can you imagine hearing God’s voice so clearly? Seeing Jesus, and holding a personal conversation with him?
At a time when we can choose from hundreds of different churches to attend within our own city, stream our favorite pastors and evangelists from around the world, and download and listen to an infinite number of worship albums, many of us are struggling to hear God’s voice. We’re wondering if He still speaks today.
The fantastic news is that He does! In John 10:3, Jesus says that His sheep “hear his voice” (ESV).
He doesn’t say that they should hear His voice or can hear His voice, but that they do. The problem is that many of us aren’t tuned in to hear what He’s saying.
There are several different programs I enjoy listening to on NPR. If I don’t tune in to a program one evening, that doesn’t mean they’re not broadcasting it. It simply means I need to take action and tune in to hear it.
So where should we tune in to hear God’s voice? God speaks in dramatic ways and everyday ways. And sometimes our own heart gets in the way of us hearing His voice. Let’s take a look at all of the ways we can hear Him!
FIRST, We Can Hear God’s Voice in Dramatic Ways
- Prophetic words. The Holy Spirit may provide us with a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, or a personal prophecy. It might be delivered through us if we’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, or it might be delivered to us through another believer. First Thessalonians 5:19-22 (MSG) instructs us, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.”
- The Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts. Some Christians have heard an audible voice, or have felt a very clear word on their heart that they knew without a doubt was from God. It’s important to remember that God’s voice speaking to your heart will never contradict God’s voice in the Bible. Be sure to evaluate what you hear by that standard.
Second, We Can Hear God’s Voice in Everyday Ways
While many of us would prefer to hear God’s voice in a dramatic way – “Here’s the address of the house you should purchase!” “Here’s the name of the man you should marry!” – most of us hear God’s voice in more everyday ways. First Kings 19:12 describes God’s voice as a “gentle and quiet whisper”. Where can you hear that whisper?
- The Bible. Second Timothy 3:16 says that, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” Make a daily Bible devotional part of your routine, always praying before you read that God will speak to and lead your thoughts as you read His words.
- Quiet prayer. Be sure that when you pray, you also pause to listen. In conversations with other people, we speak and then pause to hear the other person’s response. How much more so should we pause to hear from God?
- Thoughts. As we approach situations prayerfully, God will often plant thoughts and ideas in our head. John 4:24 tells us that God is a Spirit, and that He will communicate with us through our own spirit. Again, remember that these thoughts will never contradict biblical truths.
- Godly counsel. “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14). God will often provide trustworthy advice through Christian leaders or fellow believers.
- Circumstances. Our circumstances can often serve to confirm God’s plans for our lives. When my husband submitted a move request to his employer, they would only approve one suburb of San Antonio that wouldn’t affect his pay. In that suburb, we found and agreed on only one house. When my husband felt led a few months later to start his own business out of our home, we learned that if we lived just a few miles in either direction of our house, his business would not have been approved. We didn’t know that when we moved, and likely couldn’t have found a house within such a small radius if we tried. It confirmed for us that God’s hand was in it all.
- The peace of God. God’s voice carries peace, authority, reasonableness, confidence, joy, and goodwill. When you experience these signs regarding a situation, it may be a sign of God confirming His will in your heart.
And Finally, Sometimes We Have to Get Out of Our Own Way to Hear God’s Voice
Just like I have to turn the radio dial to NPR, we have to sometimes take action to be able to hear what God is saying.
- Examine your own heart. Is there any unconfessed sin in your heart that could be blocking you from hearing God’s voice? Are there areas of your life that you need to give to God? Romans 12:2 (NIV) instructs us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Ask God to renew your mind, and to remove any unhealthy feelings, false beliefs, or misguided plans, so that you can hear Him more clearly.
- Spend more time with God. We spend more time with people that we want to know better. So if we want to recognize God’s voice and hear it more clearly, we should increase the amount of time spent in His Word and in prayer.
Wrap It Up
God is constantly speaking to us, through prophetic words, the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts, the Bible, quiet prayer, our thoughts, Godly counsel, our circumstances, and the peace of God. In order to hear God’s voice, we should pursue the avenues through which He speaks, examine our hearts, and spend more time with Him.
Jesus has promised that His sheep hear His voice, not should or can, but do. What is He telling you today?
P.S. Want to make Bible reading and prayer a daily habit? Then download our handy dandy worksheet, How to Create a Habit, for free! Get it here!
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