–>Hearing the Voice of God<–
So, you thought you heard from God. You went after that one job, that one person you thought was going to be your spouse, or that one career path that you could’ve sworn—if you were allowed—that it was the path you were meant to go down. However, once you found out these things that you pursued weren’t what God told you to go after, you start wondering to yourself: Do I really hear from God? Sometimes you might even get other people who you told you were hearing from God scorn or mock you for following what you though was God’s leading.
I deal with some people who don’t necessarily believe whether or not God speaks. Then I have the opposite that I occasional see who believe too readily in when God speaks or does not speak. Since this debate rages on between believers so strongly, I often wonder how any new believers could ever really understand what this means or if it’s true or not. It’s especially hard to believe that God speaks when so many people don’t know how to be led by the Holy Spirit when responding to whatever it is that they’re hearing or feeling about a place. I’ll just squash this post right here, God does definitely speak today, to us, and if you’ve never ‘heard’ Him, you might want to check if you are a sheep or not.
“But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”
So, what does it really mean when Jesus says His sheep hear His voice? It’s clear from the text that people who believe in Him as the messiah and follow His teachings are indeed hearing His voice. Those who do not always listen to any person, demon, thought, or idea that goes against those teachings are hearing Him. Yep, it’s that simple. However, I would like to take it a step further, since it seems a lot of people are obsessed with hearing God in other ways in today’s time. I also don’t want to skimp parts of the scripture where God did actually speak to people in other ways than us just following His word.
Ways we hear God:
- He actually just speaks
- His Word
- Other people
- Gut or desire
God speaks: There are plenty of times in the Bible where God just comes and speaks to those He is calling to do something. Moses and the burning bush, Elijah and the still quiet voice, and Job and the tornado. Each of these instances was different, and unique to catch the attention of the person God needed or wanted to tell something to. Remember that God can and will use unique and personal methods in catching your attention as well when He wants you to know something.
Your conscience: The conscience is something that we find being used especially when the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do something. Some people call this their ‘inner ear’, however I just call it as it is: it is your inner voice that’s guiding you to something or away from something. The conscience usually can steer the ship easily, but that doesn’t mean there are not times when it conflicts with what God wants you to do. (Romans 2:14-15; Hebrews 10:22; John 8:9)
His Word: This is probably the best and sturdiest method of guidance from God on your life; however, God knows that there are instances where specific and detailed questions arise that might need more detailed guidance from Him. However, I think even if the situation seems specific, it’s still good to turn to God’s word first. Sometimes you can read a scripture nine times and not get anything, but when you read it for the tenth time, a light bulb seems to go off. It seems as if the scripture is ‘breathing’ and speaking something that you’ve never seen before. This is because God is opening up His word and path by illuminating it through scripture. Reading the scripture over and over again is called meditation in the bible and is praised highly.
Other people: God loves using other people to not only help us be pruned and grow, but to encourage us in our walk. This is why going to church is important. When people speak to you about whatever you’ve been asking God about, I believe it should always be confirmation, however, sometimes what they say will have never been spoken by God, but you just know God is in it. The problem I see with a lot of people, especially those in my age group, young adults and teens, do is that they forget to apply wisdom and prudence to the decisions that they are making. This is sometimes called wise counsel, but remember sometimes even the wisest council is not wise at all when coming against the wisdom of God and His word. (Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 15:22)
Gut, heart or desire: It is how it sounds. Some people describe it as a gut feeling that’s leading them to do something or move in a certain type of way. This is easily gauged by checking your motives for doing something. (Proverbs 23:16; Psalm 16:7; story of Hannah)
I find it stranger than anything when I see believers who don’t believe that God can actually speak to you one-on-one today. As if the almighty, all powerful, and all knowing God could not speak to a person one-on-one if He needed or wanted to. I guess God just loses power and ability in certain aspects and places of His life—you know, just like us humans (this is sarcasm btw).
If you are new to the faith know that you do not have to have God speak in a weird or notable way that is just ground breaking, but don’t be surprised if He does. Also, be wary of the devil and his schemes against believers, so that you will not be caught in his snare and use God’s word as a guide to hearing His voice. Have fun with your relationship with God, and don’t get caught up in figuring out every little thing that He has planned for you because He will definitely show you where He wants you to go when He needs you to move and will catch you if you get out of His path.
“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”
6 thoughts on “Christianese 101: ‘God said…’”
Personally I believe it’s best to just stick with the Word. There’s no example in scripture to my knowledge of God ever audibly communicating to a Christian or any teaching that I’m aware of by the Apostles that Christians were to expect audible communication from God. However, I respect anyone’s choosing to want to believe God communicates to them audibly as long as whatever they believe is in congruence with God’s Word.
I agree that it’s best to stick with God’s Word, however, I would never deny God moving in any way that He has in the past, especially if it coincided with God’s word. We need to remember that even though the people in the new testament were Christians, the majority of the first generation Christians used to be Jews and still believed God to be the God He was in the ‘Torah’/Judaic text/ Old testament. Most of the disciples actually encouraged others to read the scriptures/parchments, as well as reading it themselves, and those scriptures/parchments, at that time, did not include anything that was in the New Testament. So, would Paul, who wrote most of the content of the letters in the New testament believe that God could speak audibly, yes, he would. Would Peter? Yes. I feel we should always test everything that anyone claiming to be from God speaks or writes, since that is what the Bible says that we should do, whether it was audibly heard or not. Personally, I’ve never met anyone in my life time who has heard God audibly on a consistent and continual basis and that is certainly not what this blog suggests, if you read it.
Also, Paul, did indeed hear Jesus audibly right before he came into salvation. :] So there’s one for you.
Thanks for commenting and stopping by 🙂
Apologies for the late response. Thank you for offering additional thoughts to me. I agree that one shouldn’t deny any possibility that God so chooses to make possible at any time. I just do my best to follow things based on what God has given us in scripture. While there was not a New Testament early on, there appears to be evidence some of the letters were circulated around (col 4:16). But yes, it seems plausible that generally it would have been Old Testament scripture that was read. But I think something else to think about, there are numerous instances in the OT where God doesn’t audibly communicate at all. In fact it seems arguable that a majority of the time He didn’t audibly communicate, we’re just more reticent to remember the times that He did. Though I’ve still got to go through the whole OT myself to be sure. But to that point, it might not necessarily have been an overtly evident thing that they were to expect that to happen. Just perhaps that it did happen.
Much like we know in the New Testament people were raised from the dead, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s to be taken as a normative belief to hold of everyday life. But yes, we agree everything should be tested, and the test of that is generally the Word. And with that being the case, from my vantage point that’s where it seems more sensible to me to stick with the Word if things are going to be tested by that anyway, rather than audible communication, gut feeling, other people, conscience, or any other speculated sign of confirmation. I think Scripture leaves no speculation generally. With regards to your reference to Paul, that’s not an example of a Christian hearing God the father audibly, which is what I’m specifically referring to. But even with Jesus technically still being God, Paul didn’t hear Jesus as a Christian. He heard him as a Jew and eventual apostle, which I think perhaps still fits within my point that no Christian was ever noted in scripture to have received audible communication from God, and no instruction in the New Testament appears to suggest that one ever does. But we can agree to disagree. 🙂
Hey, thank you so much for the in depth and thought out response. I always think that it is good to look at both sides of the argument. I have personally been put in scenarios where I could not depend on scripture alone for guidance and God helped me through it in different ways (examples would be almost being kidnapped, and taken somewhere against my will). I’ve personally experienced God speak in all the ways mentioned above, which is why I’m confident with writing about it. We can agree to disagree, since we both agree God’s word is the best choice in discerning a situation anyway, so that’s totally fine with me 🙂 God bless!