A friend recently asked me how I know that I am hearing the voice of God. I had recently written in a blog posting that I heard God tell me to do something. Actually, I heard Him give me instructions several times to help this pregnant mom in a difficult situation. He had to tell me more than once because I didn’t listen to Him the first time. So, the question I will answer is…. “How did I know that was the voice of God?”
I know it is God because he has been telling me things for years. Not in a loud booming voice. Not at all. It is actually a small voice that pops into my mind. I want to clarify that I don’t hear actual voices. It is God’s voice speaking into my mind. I know it is Him because I am a follower of Christ. Why does this matter? Because it says in the Bible “My sheep hear my voice.” –John 10:27 (KJV)
Yes, I am a sheep. I am one of the sheep who is following Jesus obediently (or as obediently as I can, I am still a sinner and mess up daily). I have been hearing God’s voice since I was young. I accepted Christ when I was 7 years old. By “accepting Christ”, I mean that I chose to believe from the time that I was a 7 year-old that He is the Son of God, He died on the cross for my sins, and I profess this faith out loud for the world to hear. I also admitted that I was a sinner and asked God to forgive me of my sins. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God’s voice has gotten stronger the longer I have followed Him. The better my relationship with Him, the better I can hear Him. I know that when my life is filled with sin and my relationship with God is more distant, the harder it is for me to hear God.
I am not a theologian. I am a Doctor of psychology. However, I have read the Bible cover to cover twice and have studied every book of the Bible (thanks to the wonderful Bible study called The Amazing Collection by Big Dream Ministries). You can find this Bible study curriculum here: https://www.bigdreamministries.org/preview-materials/the-amazing-collection/ What I have learned from my study of the Bible is that God is not about religion or religious rituals. God is all about relationships. He created us in His image. Since we were created in His image and we were made for relationships, God wants a relationship with us. The way to have a relationship with God is by reading His word, praying often, and listening to hear His voice in my life (which is the Holy Spirit). I also try to abstain from sin, because of my relationship with God. I know I can never be without sin, but God tells us to turn away from our sin and try not to sin.
James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Question: So how do you become a sheep of Jesus Christ, so you can hear the voice of God in your life more clearly?
Answer: John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This means you must be born again (in the spirit, not an actual human re-birth) in order to “see the kingdom of God”. The kingdom of God is heaven and it is where believers go when they die.
Question: How can you be born again?
Answer: John 1:10-13 “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” You must believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, as the son of God who came to earth to save you and me from our sins. If you can profess this aloud and accept it in your heart, you too can be born again. Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Question: What are we being saved from?
Answer: Jesus came to earth to pay the ultimate price for our sins. He died on the cross taking on all of our sins. He died as the ultimate sacrifice. God’s own son, who was perfect and without any sin, died on the cross for you, me, and the world. He died so that we don’t have to pay the price for our sins. We are all sinners, and our good works can’t get us into heaven. It is our belief in Jesus as our savior and our profession of our faith in Him that is our ticket into Heaven. Titus 3:5-7 “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” We can’t work our way into heaven. God has called us to do good works, as His believers and followers, but it isn’t our way into heaven. Instead, God gave us His son, who became the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. When we believe in Christ and what He has done for our us, we must profess it out loud. Have you done that? Can you tell God out loud right now that you believe in Jesus as your savior? Can you tell your friends and family that you have chosen to follow Christ?
You may know about Christ, and may even believe the Bible. However, unless you have professed your faith in Jesus and made a decision in your heart to follow His ways, then you may just be someone who has an understanding of the Bible without having a true relationship with God.
God is one in three. The Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. To break it down, God the Father is our creator. He made both heaven and earth. Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth and died for all of our sins. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God that comes and dwells inside of us once we are believers. 1 John 16:12-15 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
As believers in Christ the voice of God that we are hearing is the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”
God speaks quietly in my life. Not a loud booming voice. I know it is His voice, because I am one of His sheep. I accepted Jesus as my savior, professed it out loud and now the Holy Spirit dwells in me.
Having a relationship with God means reading His word (the Bible) often, so that I know what He expects of me. The Bible has helped me to understand the true character of God. He is a good, just, and perfect God. He loves us all so much. In turn he wants us to love Him and love others. Again, with God it is all about relationships.
God’s greatest commands, as spoken by Jesus comes from the Bible loud and clear from the book of Matthew.
Matthew 22:34-40 English Standard Version
The Great Commandment
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
We are to love God first and foremost in our lives. Secondly, we are to love others as we love ourselves. I want to say that hearing God and loving others becomes easier when God is put first in my own life. We can say we put God first, but our actions speak louder than words. Actually, actions are a reflection of our heart.
How do we put God first? We seek to know Him by reading His word often. Then we seek Him in prayer often. Don’t wait until bedtime or meal time to pray. Is that the only time you speak to your best friend? If God is to come first, then our communication with Him should be abundant. I like to look at my prayers as a running conversation with God from the moment I wake until I go to sleep. We don’t need to pray just for the big things. We can talk to Him about anything and everything.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Prayer is our way of talking to God. We don’t have to be formal in our prayers. We can simply talk to Him. “Pray without ceasing” means to continuously pray throughout our day. We shouldn’t wait until we need something to pray to God. That isn’t putting God first, that is actually putting ourselves first. We should be seeking God in prayer in thankfulness and praise daily too. Again, it isn’t about ourselves. It is about putting God first in our lives, so He can abide in our lives.
Hearing God is easier when we are praying often throughout the day and seeking His counsel for our lives on the big issues and the small issues.