Over the last few weeks, I have been writing this series called How to Hear God. I’m not professing to have many answers, but just want to explore what Scripture says about this topic and what my learning has been over the last several years from others and my own experience. Still using Jesus’ words recorded in John 10:27 (“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”), this week, I’m focused on “my voice.”
If you’re like me, you have voices talking in your head all the time. Wait, that sounds weird. You know what I mean. You have your own voice that reminds you to do stuff, or that you’ve forgotten something. Sometimes that voice soothes you (“everything is going to be okay,” “I’m okay,” “I’ll get through this.”) You have the shaming voice that points out stuff you have done wrong or pretends to tell you truth about yourself even though it’s not truth at all (“that person would never like you;” “you’re a failure”). Sometimes that voice is a parent’s voice, or a teacher’s voice.
Then, there is this other voice. God’s voice. I believe there are ways to distinguish God’s voice from the other voices bouncing around inside. Here are a few of the identifiers for me:
God’s voice leads me to glorify only him. Any voice that glorifies me or another person, or deifies a problem I am having, is not God’s voice. (Is 45)
God’s voice is consistent with Scripture. When Scripture speaks to a particular issue and I hear a voice that contradicts what Scripture says, it is not God’s voice. (John 14:26)
God’s voice aligns with his character. God is holy, merciful, loving, present, faithful, great and awesome, mighty, grace-giving, and good. (Psalm 99; Deut. 4-7; John 3:16; 2 Th 2:16; Psalm 100) A voice that is inconsistent with these character traits is not God’s voice.
I cannot generate God’s voice. There are times when I need or want to hear from God and I don’t. I have tried really hard to generate God’s voice so I would be comforted or guided. But, I cannot generate his voice. If I have generated it, it is my voice, not his.
God’s voice does not use words I use. Any of the times I have heard God’s voice in my heart or spirit (not sure where it actually touches in), the words are not my words. If someone else heard them, they would not claim, “That sounds like something you would say.”
God’s voice points me toward love and servanthood. God’s voice has always pointed me to him or others in love and in service. He does not ask me to seek revenge, hold a grudge, turn my back, or judge. (1 John 4:7-21) He corrects me, yes, but he does not shame or condemn me.
Why does knowing God’s voice matter? Because I want to follow him. Knowing his voice is the first step. Next week: how do I follow?
Have you heard God’s voice?
How do you distinguish it from other voices?