HOW DO I KNOW ITS GOD SPEAKING?
I’ll never forget the first time someone told me they had a word for me from the Lord. It was a strange and somewhat confusion prophecy which brought more fear than anything else. Was this really from God? Was it a counterfeit from Satan, or just words from a sincere but confused woman? Other times when seeking God’s guidance and direction I get conflicting ideas and thoughts. How do I know which, if any, are from God?
Sometimes God’s message to His prophets were very strange. Hosea was told to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1). Isaiah was commanded to go around naked for a year (Isaiah 1). Did they wonder if it was really God they were hearing? They obeyed, and clearly God was behind them and had a good reason for what He told them to do (Isaiah 20:3-6). How can we know for sure what we hear comes from God Himself and nothing or no one else?
God speaks through: The Bible (Psalms 119:105), Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3), Sign and Wonders (Acts 3:6-7), Tests (Judges 6:36-38), Godly People (Proverbs 8:32-34), Children at Bedtime (1 Samuel 3:8-9), The Creation (Romans 1:20), Preachers and Prophets (Acts 11:27-28), Donkeys (Numbers 22:30), Bushes (Exodus 3:1-4), Angels (Luke 1:26-28), The Angel of the Lord (Genesis 22:10-11), God’s Glory (Exodus 33:18-19), Circumstances (Acts 16:6-8), Reasons (Isaiah 1:18), Dreams (Joel 2:28), Visions (Joel 2:28), Failures (Matthew 26:75) and Holy Spirit to Human Spirit (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Obviously, there is no one ‘approved’ way. If we can’t tell by the channel of communication, we must look elsewhere to understand the source.
Over the years I have come to understand my wife’s words, pauses, inflections, emotions and moods. I can recognize her voice easily because I am very familiar with hearing it. The more I listen to God, the more recognizable His voice becomes as well. There are traits and characteristics that help me be assured it is Him speaking to me. Usually the thought He communicates is not something I had been thinking, it is new and it has a ‘rightness’ all over it (1 Kings 19:11-13). It pops into my mind seemingly from nowhere. It brings joy and motivation. Even when it is conviction of sin, there isn’t fear or guilt – just a desire to turn from the sin and be done with it. His voice is quiet, gentle and positive. His Spirit gives me peace and confidence that it is Him speaking to me and I can trust what He says.
When the voice speaking to me is Satan or my own flesh that is not true. I often feel failure, guilt, fear or dread of the future. Bondage, not freedom, results (Matthew 11:28-30). God’s words speak to the very core of my being (Hebrews 4:12). They result in peace (Philippians 4:7) and knowing everything is under control (Jeremiah 29:12-13). When it isn’t from Him, I feel fear and discouragement.
God’s messages are clear, specific and understandable. Those not from Him are confusing, uncertain and sometimes vague (John 16:8). God’s leading lines up 100% with the Word of God. Those from Satan or the flesh are full of deceit, half-truths and lies (John 14:6). When I share what I believe is from God with mature believers, it makes sense to them as well (Proverbs 11:14; Deuteronomy 19:15; and Matthew 18:16). As we mature spiritually, our increasing experience and discernment allow us to distinguish between God’s Spirit and ourself or Satan. If you are unsure, ask God to help you know the truth and to change you if you are listening to the wrong voice. Trust He will do so and move ahead in faith using your best discernment.
1 Kings 19:11-13 Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Think of a time when God revealed truth or guidance to you. How did you know it was Him?
Have you learned to recognize His voice when He speaks to you?
Spend some time right now sitting silently and listening for His Spirit to communicate with your spirit. Don’t be in a hurry.
For more information about how to listen for and recognize God’s voice see my articles, “Listening to God,” at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/articles/ under the topic “Spiritual Life.” Or email me at Jerry@Schmoyer.net and I’ll send a PDF copy. If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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