Hearing God Speak
By Toni Smothers
When you are listening for God's voice, how do you know if what youíre sensing is of God or yourself, or even Satan?
People say, "Iím asking the Lord for direction in my life, but it's like I'm hearing my own voice Ė only not exactly. How do I know that God is the one who is speaking to me, or if Satan is telling me something to trick me? Or am I just talking to myself? Iím so confused; sometimes I think I might be just making it all up in my head?"
Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me" (John 10:27). Knowing when itís God's voice responding to your need can be as normal and natural as breathing in and out for a Spirit-filled, committed, believer. But the newborn lamb has to learn the sound of the shepherd's voice. A mature sheep has been there for a while and knows the shepherd's voice because he has always been its caretaker.
As you are praying and seeking a closer relationship with the Lord, ask Him to let you know deep inside yourself that you definitely have heard Him speaking to you. Donít expect an actual, audible voice, but a sense of knowing that the Spirit of God is speaking to you - Somehow you just absolutely know it in what I like to refer to as your "heart of hearts".
Here are a few clues that can help you:
What you hear will always be consistent with the Word.
God wouldnít tell you to do something or get involved in a relationship that is not pure or that is inconsistent with Scripture. Just ask yourself, "Is that what the Word of God says?" Thatís why itís so important to get and stay in the Word. You can burn the Scriptures into your heart so that knowing His Word will stifle confusion. By the way, confusion is the devilís department; Godís Word is beautifully clear and understandable.
The Lord's guidance will contradict the worldís attitudes and your fleshly desires.
Just look at the life of Jesus. His ministry almost always contradicted the way of the world. (Talk about a total rebel!) He told everyone to forgive, while the world only wants revenge. He challenges us to forgive always, even an enemy (Matthew 16:21). (No one ever said being a believer was going to be easy.) But the world tells us to take all we can, if it feels good, do it - Forget anyone elseís problems, just worry about and satisfy you. God doesnít agree with this me-me-me philosophy. He wants us to live our lives according to His value system (again, no small thing) and not the world's, which is anti-God and anti-faith. When we feel prompted to gratify the flesh, Satan is the one whoís behind that, but we canít let him entice us.
God loves us and wants us to enjoy life so much, but by following His commandments; not by doing what is easy, lazy or self-defeating. "Seek first the kingdom of God." Instantaneous gratification is for selfish weaklings.
Jesus wants us to be selfless. He teaches us to gratify the Spirit and not the flesh, and then we will know true peace. (This really is good stuff Ė it might sting a bit, but, hey, itís worth it if it guarantees your spot in eternity!)
Godís words give courage to our hearts.
God told Joshua, "I command you -- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). God is sovereign over all things. Thereís no one better to have on your side. But, ya gotta listen, just like Joshua did, for Godís encouragement. If you spend life partying and zooming around, (then just crashing), youíll miss what the Spirit is waiting to say to you. So being still before God for a time every day is especially important. Deliberately seeking Him brings you in touch with that lovely inner knowing that He is speaking just to you, just this day. King David never faced a challenge before he listened for God's Word to him. The Lord encourages His beloved, (thatís you, by the way), who seek His way for their lives. (Best deal youíll ever get!)
God speaks out loud and clear about the consequences of our sin and its effect on others.
Your actions really are important because, believe it or not, you do affect others. No one is so benign that he doesnít influence someone. (Even if it is that intolerable younger sibling.) So, we have a responsibility to do what is right for God and for those we love. Donít try to rationalize that your sin is private and it doesnít affect anyone else because it actually hurts the entire body of Christ.
What we listen to contributes to, or deters from, our spiritual growth.
Want a good book to read? Try your Bible. (If you havenít got one, Iíll send you one for free. Just e-mail me.) Thereís great help and comfort in studying God's Word. Youíre gonna love growing spiritually and seeing God working in your life. Find a small group in your area that is struggling through God's Word together, ask to join them and youíll find some good friends too. The apostle Paul writes, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). You can find good bible studies all over the Net.
Now for the less popular news: What you watch on TV and in movies, and what you listen to at concerts and on CDís, should reflect who you are in Christ. Your purity is to be protected through many routes. Hereís a great guideline: If it praises God, thatís good. If it promotes, drugs, sex and "whatever", thatís bad. (No brainer Ė right?)
"How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ." Ephesians 1:3
Talk to you next time.
Send your questions and e-mails to Toni at email@example.com. She loves to hear from you!
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