Have you ever been in a situation in which you thought that God was speaking to you, but you had doubts if you really were hearing the voice of God?
A couple of months ago, I found out that I was going to run out of money in my savings account due to some unexpected bills.
My wife was pregnant with our son Andrew this year. As a result, we had a total of five hospital bills that our health insurance didn’t cover.
The cost was enormous, thousands of dollars but, of course, totally worth it 🙂
As I was praying to God, asking Him about what I should do, someone from the Internet approached me with a business proposition.
He wanted me to promote his product on my blog and for every reader that signs up, I would get a commission.
Quite frankly, I get pitches like this all the time, but this one seemed like it was a win/win situation.
I would make some extra money to pay for the extra hospital bills, and my readers would sign up for an excellent product that would help them with social media.
I asked God if I should go into a business venture with this guy, and I heard what appeared to be a small and still voice that told me, “Go for it!”
Was I hearing the voice of God? Did God really want me to go into business with this gentleman? How can I be sure that I was hearing from God?
I share with you at the end of this blog post if that voice that I heard really was God, or if it was something else.
Are You Sure You’re Hearing the Voice of God?
Last week I published my testimony online, and many of you shared it on social media and sent me personal email messages.
I’m so thankful to each one of you who wrote to me, tweeted at me, and who shared my story.
Surprisingly though, some of the people who wrote to me asked about how they can be sure that they are hearing the voice of God.
The reason some people were asking specifically about this was because hearing the voice of God was an important part of my testimony.
As it turns out, there’s a lot of confusion about what it’s like to be a Christian whose hearing the voice of God.
The problem is that we aren’t always sure if we’re correctly hearing God’s voice. Additionally, sometimes what we think is God’s voice is our voice, or even worse, it’s the voice of the enemy.
You would think that it would be easy to identify the voice of the enemy but remember, the apostle Paul wrote about Satan:
For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
-2 Corinthians 11:14
So how can you make sure that you’re hearing the voice of God?
How can you be sure that you aren’t mistaking God’s voice for your voice, or for the voice of the enemy?
Read on to find out.
The Three Different Voices That You Can Hear
There are three different voices that you can hear in your heart or your mind.
That means that you can’t hear them with your ears, but they are internal voices that can be likened to a private conversation between two people.
1. Your Own Voice
Did you know that you have your own internal voice?
You can ask yourself questions like, “Should I go to this restaurant? Should I buy this item? Should I go to this place?”
Many times, you’ll get an answer back from your internal voice.
It registers as a thought, but it has a precise guiding tone, or it will give you specific advice to follow.
This is the number one voice that get’s mistaken for God’s voice, because it does appear to be a still (a quiet whisper) and small (very fine) voice.
You’ll learn how to distinguish between your voice and God’s voice later in this blog post.
2. The Enemy’s Voice
Make no mistake, the enemy is here to seek, kill, and destroy you. He hates that you’re a child of God and that you’re looking to do His will but:
[Tweet “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world! #ThankYouJesus”]
One way that you can recognize the voice of the enemy is to see if it’s causing you confusion.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
-1 Corinthians 14:33
[Tweet “The enemy’s voice will give you confusion, but God’s voice will give you peace.”]
3. God’s Voice
When we read about the voice of God that came to Elijah in 1 Kings 19, we learn that the voice of God is a small and still voice.
God uses the small still voice of the Holy Spirit to speak only to His real children, and not to any fake ones.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
– Jesus, John 10:27
Five Different Ways That God Speaks to You
Below are five ways through which God speaks to you. They’re listed in order of the least often used method to the most often used one.
5. Method #5 – Dreams and Visions
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.”
– Joel 2:28
God can speak to you through a dream while you’re sleeping or a vision while you’re awake.
It seems that God is using this method in the Muslim world, because many Muslims are coming to Christ through dreams and visions.
Warning: How can you know if your dream or vision is from God?
The Holy Spirit that lives inside of you will bear witness that the dream or vision that you’re having is from God.
He will give you confirmation in your spirit so that you’ll know that you’re hearing the voice of God through a dream or a vision.
4. Method #4 – Other People
God can speak to you through other people. God can send someone to deliver a particular message to you.
From my experience, I’ve found that God sometimes will use this method when you’re not correctly discerning His voice or His will.
He’s tried to correct you by speaking to you but you’re not listening, or you’re not understanding God’s message.
So because God is a loving Father, He ends up sending someone to give you a direct message.
Of course, there are other times when God may choose this method as well; it’s not just limited to when you need correction.
Warning: How can you know that the person that is giving you a message is sent by God?
You can look at a person’s walk with God to see if he/she is sent from God. You can be sure that God isn’t going to use just anyone to be His messenger.
He’ll use faithful servants that love God, which are doing His will, and that are courageous.
Also, many times God will use a pastor’s sermon to speak to you directly about a particular situation, or to answer a question that you’ve been asking Him through prayer.
Additionally, look at the message that’s being given to you. Does it line up with Scripture? Is this something that your loving Heavenly Father would want to say to you?
3. Method #3 – Open Doors and Closed Doors
Jesus said to the faithful church of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation:
These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David,
He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it…
– Revelation 3:7-8
God will sometimes open a door for you because He wants you to walk through it, and other times, He will close a door that He doesn’t want you to go through at all.
Example: You went on five job interviews and you got two job offers. You pray about which one you should take.
All of a sudden, the interviewer from one of your job offers calls you and tells you that they’ve decided to update the position to have traveling be a big part of the job.
You know that you can’t travel because you need to have a job where you can stay with your family. God is closing one door so that you can know which job offer to choose.
Warning: How can you know if an open door is from God?
The open door will usually require you to step out in faith and to trust God. You’ll be taking one step closer to God and to the cross, as opposed to taking a step back.
2. Method #2 – God’s Small Still Voice
God can many times speak to you through the small still voice of the Holy Spirit.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak;
and He will tell you things to come.”
– Jesus, John 16:13-14
When you get saved, God may speak to you a lot through a small still voice. He will tell you to pray or to do something specific.
However, as you walk longer with the Lord, God may use this method less as you grow in your relationship with Him.
Additionally, God’s small still voice can be confused with your own inner voice, or with the voice of the enemy who is trying to trip you up.
Warning: How can you know that the voice that you’re hearing is God’s small still voice?
God’s small still voice has certain characteristics.
From James 3:17, we learn that, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
Is the voice that you’re hearing pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy, and good fruits?
Does the voice that you’re hearing have the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit, as found in Galatians 5? (Full of love, joy, peace…)
All of these are qualities that the voice of God will have.
1. Method #1 – God’s Word (The Bible)
If you want to hear God speak to you right now, just open up your Bible and start reading it out loud. That will be God speaking to you.
God’s Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God.
The problem is that some Christians are used to playing Bible roulette.
They don’t read the Bible everyday and so when they’re faced with a difficult decision that they need an answer to, they’ll hold their bibles, close their eyes, and then open up to a page of Scripture.
They’ll hope to find the answer to their question by reading the page they opened up to.
But this is a big mistake and this isn’t the way God speaks to you through His Word.
The way that God speaks to you through the Bible is by reading it everyday.
You have two options, either you can read from one chapter to the next, or you can pray about a good reading plan.
Then everyday when you pray, you bring your petitions before the Lord. Then as you’re doing that daily Bible reading afterward, the Holy Spirit will cause a certain Bible verse or a bunch of them to stand out from the rest.
Those Bible verses will have the answer to your question and will guide you in the way that you should go.
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
– Psalm 119:105
The important thing is to read your Bible daily and systematically. Then you can leave the rest up to God.
[Tweet “You can know you’re hearing the voice of God by opening the Word of God!”]
Remember the Story About My Finances?
If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, then you remember how I opened up with the story about not having enough finances for the rest of the year.
Was I hearing the voice of God when I heard an internal voice say to me that I should go into business with the guy who was making the business proposition?
At first, I thought that it really was God’s voice and so I began to make preparations.
I began to type up emails, and to test the product that I was going to promote.
At a later time however, God spoke to me through one of my pastor’s sermons, and He showed me that I was making the wrong decision.
God used method #4 from above, other people, to show me that I wasn’t hearing the voice of God. It was my own internal voice and I thought it was God’s voice.
I wanted this new business venture to be God’s will so badly, that I fell for the trap of thinking that it was God who was speaking to me when it was my own inner voice all along.
But God showed me that I need to trust Him, and that His plans are much better than my own plans.
What Would Your Life Look Like if You Heard From God Regularly?
Imagine what your life would look like if you were able to better discern God’s voice.
The next time that you’re stressed out because you’re running out of money, you’ll trust God that He’s going to supply all of your needs.
Imagine the next time that you have a problem at work, instead of worrying because you’re not sure about your future, you instead worship and lift your hands in praise.
Imagine the next time that you are facing a major decision, you’re no longer fretting about which choice to make because you’ve already heard from God, and He’s shown you what choice to make.
The single most important thing to take away from this blog post is read your Bible everyday.
Your life will be blessed, and you’ll be glad that you’re a Christian who’s hearing the voice of God.
[featured image via Julio Pineda]