Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of audibly hearing the sound of God’s voice with our own two ears. I mean, that would just be awesome! I feel like my life would be so much easier if I could go to a quiet place and converse with him one-on-one.
Every now and then someone tells me that God literally spoke to them. I know it probably shouldn’t make me jealous… but it does! I can’t discredit what they’re saying. I wasn’t there, so I can’t say.
All I know is that hearing God clearly is a struggle. Thankfully, he doesn’t limit the ways he communicates to an audible voice. He speaks to us through the bible, godly men and women, events and our conscious. The best thing we can do is to make sure we are ready to receive what he has to say.
1. UNDERSTAND WHO HE IS
Let’s be honest, we all have or have once had beliefs about God that simply aren’t true. We believe that he feels, thinks and operates in certain ways when he does no such thing. Easy example: some people think that God wants everybody to be rich. That’s absurd, but the point is some people actually believe that.
Our beliefs about God have a major impact on what we perceive him to be saying. The accuracy of what we hear is often equal to the degree of which we accurately see him.
Therefore, it would be extremely wise to get to know God the best we can before we do anything else. The best place to start is the Bible, the eternal book that records actual words from God himself. The more you know about the Bible, the more you’ll know about God. The better you know God, the better you’ll be able to determine his voice.
2. BE QUIET
You may hate me for saying this, but as a basic rule of communication: you can’t listen if you’re talking. We get so caught up in expressing our thoughts and feelings, we don’t take the time to shut-up and listen. And sometimes we don’t want to hear from God; we want God to hear what we have to say.
Being quiet isn’t just about the words coming out of your mouth. You must quiet your spirit. Calm your mind. Free it of anxiety and doubt. Be still and wait on God to respond. The author of this Psalm expresses that silence is accompanied with confidence in the Lord.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.”
3. CONSIDER HIS TIMING
I met my wife in the mid 2000’s. The moment I saw her I knew she was the one. We hit it off immediately and we couldn’t stay away from each other. Now we have a beautiful son together.
I’m lying. After being friends for a while, I developed feelings for her and then she decided to stick me in a cold and dark place called the friend zone. Eventually, I stepped away from her and stopped reaching out to her altogether.
During our time apart, I was traveling all over the place. Little did I know that during that time of my life I was deep in the middle of a God-ordained wilderness. In the times that I was sober-minded, I knew that I shouldn’t have been dating anyone. God was working on me so extensively that the idea of being in a relationship was absurd due to my underdeveloped state.
When I left the wilderness I received the call to ministry (another blog maybe). While I was lost in the presence of God, busy diving in his Word, being full of both patience and fire… He spoke. Two weeks later I received a text from someone telling me to contact my the lady who is now my wife.
I wasn’t even thinking about her. She was hundreds of miles away and I was open to the possibility that God had someone else for me. When I got that text, I knew that we’d probably get married. Words of a sermon I heard years ago sprang to mind and confirmed my beliefs about the situation.
What I’m trying to tell you is that the timing was impeccable. Everything in my life began to line up perfectly. It was almost as if I didn’t need to pray. God formed everything in such an amazing way, I knew it was him dropping the bombshell blessings and it wasn’t coincidence.
God speaks through making situational adjustments in our lives. It could be subtle or colossal. The point is, when he makes these changes it happens with a timing so precise we are left totally convinced that it is Him speaking to us. So don’t be surprised if God shows up “late”, sometimes that’s the only way to convince us that he’s still in control.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Here are a few extra tips that might help you discern what God communicates.
- Don’t Force It– Resist the urge of trying to turn every strange happening into a sign from God. Don’t be swept away by serendipitous moments and mysticism. God doesn’t want you to be confused about what he says, so wait until he eliminates your uncertainty.
- Stay Away from Fantasy– Just because you had a dream, doesn’t mean it’s what God wants for you. Fantasies are the products of our imagination. A vision is directly given from God. Fantasies are biased and cater to our prideful nature. Visions contrarily humble us and ignite our faith in God. Fantasies change, but visions stay the same.
- Don’t Reject the Negative– There are times when God tries to tell us something and we don’t like it. I mean we really don’t want to hear it. He calls us to be more righteous and that doesn’t feel good. He calls us to have more faith, and that makes us look crazy.
- Do Trust the Spirit– Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes when we pray. In other words, he’s a mediator for us. When you are an emotional wreck, your thoughts are all over the place and you say things you don’t mean, the Holy Spirit turns to the Father and says, “Okay. This is what they’re is trying to say…”
- Do Expect the Unexpected– Do not assume you know when or how God is going to speak. Don’t assume you know what he’s going to say. This sets you up for hearing what you want to hear and not for what God wants to say.
- Do Be Patient- We live in a world where communication is instantaneous. Expediency and convenience is our everyday drug. But you do realize that God doesn’t need to rush for anything or anyone? So you need to relax.