God *IS* speaking to you!
Are you listening? Would you recognize His voice? Do you desire to hear it? God has a perfect plan for you. Do you want to know what it is? Ask Him to speak to you right now!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 8:14, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
John 10:3-5 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Requirements: Focus, time, effort, practice
The more noise there is in your life, the harder it will be to focus on God and hear Him. Work, school, stress, sin, family, relationships, worry, unforgiveness, games, entertainment, and social media fill every minute of our minds and lives. How can you hear a friend calling to you from across the room if there is large crowd of people yelling between you?
Even without distraction, it can be difficult to hear God’s voice initially. The room can be completely empty but you won’t know that your friend is calling to you if you don’t even know what his/her voice sounds like. Initially, you might mistake someone else for your friend or only hear part of what they are saying. But if you earnestly spend time and know your friend’s voice, you’ll be able to hear him through the noise. If you can do that and reduce the noise as well, God’s voice will be clearer.
Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
How does God speak?
God can speak to you in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s through dreams (Matthew 1:20-21) and visions (Acts 10:9-18). For Moses, it was burning bush (Exodus 3:2). For Mary, it was through an Angel (Luke 1: 26-38). For Balaam is was through a donkey (Numbers 22:28). For Elijah, it was a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13).
God speaks through scripture. If you want to hear God’s words, read the bible! Jesus’s actual words are in the bible in red letters! It also lets you know more about God. Like reading a biography. Remember, the better you know Him, the easier it’ll be to recognize His voice.
II Timothy 3:16-17 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
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
God speaks through other people! Sometimes through the prophetic (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, personal prophecy) and sometimes just in regular conversations. Sometimes it’s nice to hear from a friend of a friend. “Your Mom told me to tell you that she loves you and misses you.” Sometimes you can’t see your Mom (because your distracted) so she delivers a message through someone else. But wouldn’t you rather hear from your Mom directly?
1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
God speaks through the Holy Spirit! God sent the Holy Spirit to teach, remind and guide us.
John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
He often guides through thoughts and impressions. Sometimes He reminds us of a bible verse. Sometimes He convicts us of sin. Sometimes He gives us an image of someone that needs help. Sometimes He gives us an encouraging word for our struggling friend. Sometimes he gives us peace about a decision.
The Spirit’s voice is often like a gentle whisper. It can be easily ignored and often not even noticed. It can also be often mistaken for our very own thoughts. This is why it’s so important to spend more time with God so we can recognize the voice of God easily.
God, is that you?
Well, if all this takes time and practice, how do I know what I am currently hearing is God? Is it God’s voice or my personal desires? Or is it the devil’s lies?
This is a very valid concern. Remember the more time you spend with someone the better you know their personality and their voice even. If it’s your best friend, even if you didn’t have caller ID, you could tell who you’re talking to from a simple “Hello”. If a someone tells you that your Mom wants you to go cut off your arm. Well, you know your Mom well enough to know it was not her.
If you are unsure, test and discern if it is God. Does it line up with what God says in the bible? Does it bring life or destruction? Even the most honorable intentions are not good enough. Ask your friends or leaders/elders what they think.
I Thessalonians 5:19-21 Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good
2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Peter 2:1 There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you
Matthew 7:17-20 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety
So once we hear God’s voice, what’s next? Listening and hearing is not enough. You must obey. If you obey him, he will give you more instructions. If you ask God for instructions, he may say to go cut your neighbour’s lawn. If you go to God, the next day without doing it and ask again, He will probably say, go cut the neighbours grass! If you keep asking Him day after day without doing it, how long will it be before he stops telling you? Or rather, how long has it been since you stopped listening? Or stopped asking even? Maybe if you had cut the neighbour’s grass, you would have found out he broke his arm recently. Next, God would have given you the opportunity and instruction to pray with your neighbor. If you were obedient with that, maybe he would have healed his arm!
John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Activity Work Sheet
Spend some time in prayer. Ask God to speak to you. Now stop talking/asking and listen.
- What did God say to you? “What is God telling you?” “What does God think about you?” “What does he want you to do?” “Did God give you a picture / vision of something?” “Did God bring someone into your mind?” “Did God tell you something that is for someone else?” “Did God bring up a past memory?” “Did God give you a bible verse?”
- Does it jive (test and make sense)?
- How should I respond in action?