“How do I know when God is speaking to me?” If there were one question concerning God I have heard more than all others, it would be this one. I wish I could say that I were an expert in the matter and had the voice of God completely figured out, but that would be far from true. Sometimes I too struggle with knowing exactly what God wants from me, and when He wants it done. I’ve even gotten frustrated and felt like I just couldn’t come up with the right answer.
If there’s one thing I have figured out, it’s that God has a way of using life’s situations to teach us how to hear His voice more clearly. God is constantly speaking, we just need to understand how to listen. I love these words Jesus said,“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. (John 10:27) I would like to share three small things that have helped me to better understand God’s voice, and how He speaks.
1. God is rarely in the signs. We’ve become sign seekers due to the fact that we have lost our faith in the ability to hear God’s voice. The prophet Elijah also had this problem, so don’t beat yourself up too badly (see 1 Kings 19). When we seek after signs, we don’t learn to hear His voice, or understand how He speaks. Elijah found that His voice was “still and small” and not in the big things. Why would God choose to speak to us like this? Well, when he whispers, it forces us to be still, move in closer, and block out all other voices. Inevitably, through the process of getting closer, we fall more in love with Him.
2. He generally speaks through His Word (The Bible) because it’s indisputable. Problem is, if we’re not reading it, we’re missing out on about 80% of God’s voice. Paul said in Hebrews 4:11, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires”.
Nothing is hidden from God’s word, and it gets right to the heart of the issue. His Word also gives clear direction. “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path”. (Psalm 119:105) David also said these words, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”. (Psalm 119:11) When we hide the Word of God in our heart, there’s nowhere for anything else to hide.
And lastly, God’s Word encourages us when we need it most. “I weep with sorrow; but you encourage me by your word.” (Psalm 119:28)
3. Satan doesn’t have the loudest voice. Fact is, our own voice often times is the most heard. It cries out in desperation as it jockeys for the top place in our mind. The devil doesn’t need to put much effort in when our own self-will is on top. He plays on our pride, encourages our fears, and manipulates the voice of God against us. “Self” is the most powerful weapon used against the voice of God.
Paul said it like this, “…the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!” (Romans 7:17) This is why John said, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less”. (John 3:30)
I would like to leave you with this. Maybe you’ve tried reading God’s word and felt like you’ve gotten nowhere, but I would like to encourage you to try again. Don’t just read it, learn to study the word. Ask your pastor or a close friend in the Lord to help you learn how, and when you do, you will hear and recognize God’s voice so much better. I promise!