Do you ever wonder if that was really God you heard… or just a “hopeful” thought in your mind? That’s a great question!
Look, God DOES speak! He spoke to Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah, Abram, etc. And since God is God… He can speak to us any way he wants to.
The problem is that we aren’t always listening.
Although I am sure I miss it sometimes, I’ve learned to listen for God. He speaks to me:
- Through scripture
- In a beautiful sunset
- With lyrics from songs
- In a sermon
- Through an impression or gut feeling
- In a vision or dream
- Through a friend or counselor
Maybe you hear Him in one or more of the ways I listed above. Or maybe He speaks to you another way. The reality is that He speaks to us all the time…
So the question becomes, how do we know it is Him? Maybe it would help to better understand the ways He communicates. Here are some common ways He speaks to us:
- Through scripture: We need to learn who He is, His character and how He does things so we can better discern His voice. The Bible gives us examples of how He responds as well as tells us His expectations of us. If we know “who” He is, we’ll know better when it is Him speaking. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- By the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart: You know that still small voice (or gut feeling) you have that tells you to call someone or to take a left at the next street or to be honest in a conversation? Well, that is the Holy Spirit… God’s Spirit… which serves as our prompter in situations. The HS also reveals God’s Word and gives us the ability to understand it. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13).
- A prophetic word: On more than one occasion, I’ve had a word spoken over me from someone who heard God. This can be a touchy subject for some, but it’s Biblical and common even today. “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).
- Godly counsel and confirmation: When we ask others what they think or their insight and opinion on what we feel God is saying to us, He will often speak through their words. If you feel God is saying something, ask someone who you know “hears” God what they think. “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14) and “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.” (Matthew 18:16).
- Feeling the peace of God: If what you feel God is saying to brings you angst and fear… it is most definitely not from Him. However, if what we hear Him say excites us and/or brings a peace… that just might be God speaking. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
- Your Circumstances/Timing: Sometimes the only way God can teach us something is to allow circumstances in our life to lead us to and through the very thing we need to discover. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Yes, God talks to us in lots of ways… and the above list is not comprehensive! The issue isn’t wondering “if” He’s talking… but rather… “are” we listening.
So… are you?