How to Know When You’re Hearing from God

January 8, 2014 | Tags: ,

God—His way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is pure.
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

-Psalm 18:30

I got caught twice now in a new scheme of Satan’s. Well, it’s not a new scheme for him, but it was for me. I heard what sounded just like the Holy Spirit speaking direction to me. After hearing the voice, I even felt a similar warmth to the feeling I get when the Holy Spirit speaks. So, I proceeded. But I made a mistake I knew but forgot to practice in these cases–I did not ask for confirmation through God’s Word. In one case, God let the actions play out, and I learned a very valuable, albeit, painful lesson. In the other case, God orchestrated the events to rescue me from making the mistake I was about to make.

Have you been there before? Thankfully, we know God’s promise to us as believers in Romans 8:28–All things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Because of the first mistake I mentioned above, I’m writing this devotional today. I learned from it, and now I want to pass along what I learned. I praise God for that and refuse to beat myself up, recalling Paul’s powerful words in Phil. 3:13-14–Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

So my question is: How do we know when we are hearing from God? First, we know the Holy Spirit will never contradict what is written in the Bible. He will never add to it, twist it, or adjust it. He will counsel us exactly as the word says. That is because the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ are One. They communicate perfectly with one another and never contradict one another. With the Holy Spirit living in a believer through saving faith in Jesus Christ, a person is able to hear directly from God. The Holy Spirit is Truth. The Bible is Truth. Everything, and I mean everything else, is a lie. And the Word of God says Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

Second, we may have positive feelings associated with God’s word to us, but we cannot always assume that positive feelings mean God was behind the words. Satan also uses positive feelings as a scheme of his to think we are headed in the right direction. That was my mistake–I relied on my positive feelings, certain I was hearing from God. I thought I knew God’s voice so well. I was humbled instead.

Third, circumstances may dictate the word was from God, but again, Satan can align circumstances to lead us in the wrong direction. In the second mistake I mentioned above, the circumstances lined up that made me think that this word had to be from God. But again, I never went back to Scripture to check before proceeding. Or more precisely, I asked God to confirm His word in Scripture but I didn’t wait for His response through the Bible.

That leads me to the final point–we may need to wait longer to know if we are hearing from God or not. We are by nature impatient people and think we need to move along NOW. But God is the Author of Time. He’s not impatient or in a rush because He owns all time. Waiting on Him will never, ever mean we missed out on something that was His will for us. If it bypasses us, then it wasn’t His will.

So, here are the steps we can take to hear best from God:

1. Pray and ask God for direction and wisdom in the matter. He promises He will give you an answer (James 1:5).

2. Wait and watch what God does. God will primarily communicate through the Bible, which is why daily quiet time in the Word of God is essential to hearing from Him.

3. If you hear from Him in other ways (in your heart during prayer, through another believer or through circumstances) go back and ask Him to confirm this in His Word. Then wait until He does.

4. When you get confirmation, move ahead in faith and trust Him. A step of faith is almost always going to take us out of our comfort zone. But if it’s from Him, you can be assured you are moving in the right direction.

I give you these steps with one important caveat–we are never to seek a formula for hearing from God, we are to seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our Lord, Companion, Counselor, King, and Friend. We pursue a relationship with Him because that is ultimately what our lives are all about.

Know this–God wants to help you and guide your steps. It is an essential part of who He is. But Satan wants to get you off track. Be discerning and know the difference. Time in the Bible will make you more and more apt to knowing God’s voice and His character. He loves you and wants to steer your life to a closer walk with Him.

By Courtney Silberman

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