If you are a Christian, one of the most important lessons that you can ever learn is how to know when God is speaking to you. Many Christians think that God's voice is heard by a booming voice that is thundering from the heavens. If that is how you feel God speaks, you will never hear Him speak. Back in the biblical days, God had to speak audibly from the outside, because He did not live on the inside of the bible prophets and characters just yet. The reason He did not live on the inside of them is because these were "pre-Jesus" days. However, after Jesus came, died, and was resurrected, God was then able to come and live on the inside of us. God on the inside of us is called his Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-17) Continue reading for clarity...
How God Speaks: Before you can learn WHEN God is speaking, you must know HOW God speaks, because if you don't you will miss His voice.
In the following scripture Jesus was speaking to His disciples:
(John 14:16-17 Amplified Bible) And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) that He may remain with you forever--The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart) because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.
As stated in the intro to this article, during the days before Jesus walked in the earth, God spoke to His servants from the outside. In the above scripture, Jesus was telling His disciples that He had to leave them and return back to heaven. Jesus was the voice of God to the disciples. When Jesus spoke, it was God himself speaking. So Jesus wanted the disciples to know that he was leaving, and that he wouldn't be there to instruct and comfort them any longer. However, He assured them that after He left, He would have God send them someone else, another person, to take His place as one who comforts and speaks to them.
The comforter that Jesus was speaking of is "The Holy Spirit" of God. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to be a helper to God's children. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would live on the inside of them and would always be with them.
Because the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of all Christians, when God speaks to them, the answer will come FROM THE INSIDE of them. Why? Because that's where He is living now. His Spirit lives in you. Many Christians pray and expect Jesus or God to mysteriously answer them from the outside. They are missing it. Jesus is not going to speak to you audibly. God is not going to speak to you audibly. Instead God speaks to you FROM WITHIN. Be sure that you understand that the answer comes from within. Now, there are times, when supernatural experiences will occur and a person will really hear God's voice audibly from the outside. However, 99.9999999 % of the time, your answer will come from within. When God speaks from without you will know it. But to know how He speaks from within requires knowledge and discernment.
Knowing WHEN God is Speaking to You: Because God's spirit lives on the inside of you, God speaks from the INSIDE of you. When He speaks from the inside, His voice comes to you "AS A THOUGHT." As a matter of fact, you will think that it's just a random thought that you had, when really it was God's still small voice speaking. It was His Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of you, speaking to you the mind of God concerning your situation or concerning a matter. Some people call it "INTUITION." They will say, "Something told me..." When the World Trade Center's were attacked, many individuals who would have normally been in the building on that particular day, didn't go into work on that day. And they later gave their reasoning for not going on that day. They said, "Something told me not to go." They called it intuition. Be advised that this knowing is not called intuition. It is actually a person. And the person is God, through His Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of you. So again, God speaks AS A THOUGHT. It's literally like you are having a conversation in your mind with yourself, with your own thoughts. God speaks to you from within.
Is it REALLY God Speaking? Part 1: Knowing that God speaks from within is only a small bit of how to know when God is speaking to you. Once you hear that voice, or that thought, from within you must discern the source. Where is the voice coming from? Is it coming from God's spirit, the soulish realm, or another spirit? I will attempt to clarify.
God speaks in two ways. The first way is through His written Word, also known as the LOGOS Word of God. The Logos Word of God is the Holy Bible. It is your biblical roadmap and foundation for "All Things God." The second way that God speaks is through his RHEMA Word. A Rhema Word is when God speaks to you outside of you reading the bible. A Rhema Word can be His voice speaking to you from within, or it can be Him speaking through another person to you. When God speaks to you through your thoughts it is a RHEMA Word for the situation you are facing.
In order to know if the thought you have received is from God, you must FIRST know God's LOGOS WORD. By reading God's Logos Word, through your bible, you are able to learn the characteristics of God. You learn His nature. You learn His ways. You are able to learn some of His patterns. If you don't know God's Word and you don't study your bible, you will get tricked into hearing and following other voices that are not God's.
Is God REALLY Speak? Part 2: (John 10:4-5 King James Version) Jesus Speaking: And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger they will not follow...
If you hear a voice or a thought and you believe that it is God speaking to you, the first thing to do is CHECK THE THOUGHT AGAINST THE LOGOS WORD! If the thought is in contradiction with God's written Word, then you automatically know that the thought was not from God.
If you know that the thought you have received is definitely in line with the God's written Word, then set out a fleece before God. Ask Him for confirmation that He has spoken to you. When you do this, God will send another person along, or you can be watching television...and you will hear the person before you speak the EXACT same thing that God has spoken to you. That is your confirmation. I must warn you however that the more you grow in your walk with God, the less He will give confirmations. It's His way of helping you to be confident in Hearing Him without having to receive confirmation. It a sign of maturity. But when you are first starting to know God intimately and learn His voice, He will gladly give you confirmations.
After you have compared your thought to the Word of God and you have requested and received confirmation from God, it is same to assume that you have heard God's voice. You should do whatever He has told you to do. If you fail to do what He has spoken to you, that is called rebellion. You don't want to rebel against God, because when you do, there will be consequences and repercussions. Many people like to call it free will. The reality is that it is free for a moment, but it will cost you in the end. Don't believe it? Read the story of Jonah in the bible. Because Jonah chose to disobey God, He became swallowed up into the belly of a great fish.
What Does God Say To You? Part 1: When God speaks to you, He is speaking to give you counsel or comfort regarding matters that you are facing in your life. He will tell you what to do. He will tell you what not to do. He will give you an "unrest" or "uneasiness" on the inside when you are about to do something that you should not do. That uneasiness is God speaking to you, trying to warn you ahead of time. Because He lives on the inside of you, you will feel what He feels. If you feel uneasy about something, take that as a warning. When God is leading you to do something, there will be a peace in your spirit about it, because God is the God of Peace. If there is any CONFUSION or DISORDER regarding a decision you are about to make, then God is not in the deal. He is not the God of confusion and He is not the God of disorder. When something is of God, there will be peace and order.
What Does God Say To You? Part 2: Not only will God speak to you and counsel you on what you should and should not do in business or personal decisions, He also speaks to you and tells you what you should and should not do regarding your character and personality. For example, someone may treat you unfairly. God will speak to you and tell you to forgive that person. Someone may cut you off in traffic and you flip them "the bird." Afterwards, God will speak to you and say, "You shouldn't have done that." And He does it in a still small voice, a thought in your mind. If you choose to ignore His voice, then what He will do is allow the same situation to come around again, only this time through a different person. For example, you are in line at the grocery store, and you have been praying and asking God for more patience. The clerk is as slow as molasses. You begin to become impatient. You hear that thought, still small voice saying, "Be Patient." So you try to be patient for a few more minutes. Then finally you have to open up your mouth and say something to the lady standing in front of you, "Man. I wish they would get more clerks in the store. This is RIDICULOUS!" When you walk out of the store, that still small voice speaks to you and let's you know that you failed the patience test and that you should not have complained. So the test comes around again, until you pass it.... All of that has been said to say this--a lot of times when God speaks to you, He will speak to you ABOUT YOU! If you are hearing a voice that is always speaking to you about OTHER PEOPLE, but you NEVER hear the voice talk to you ABOUT YOU, then be 199.999999999999999999999999999% positive that you are not hearing the voice of God. God speaks to you about you. Why? So that he can grow you and mature you into a person who represents Him and His character to others in the earth.
Note in Closing: Oftentimes God is speaking, but you can't hear him because there is too much noise in your life to hear His still small voice. If you have never heard the voice of God, be encouraged to read the article linked in the "Additional Resources" section below concerning "How to Pray." Prayer is the two way communication tool that God has provided to His creation to be able to communicate with Him and hear His voice. In prayer, you speak to God and God speaks back to you. Yet, in order for Him to speak back, you must be praying properly.