How to recognise God’s voice when he speaks to us.
Why and when God does speak to us.
Knowing how to react appropriately to God’s directions.
You can read the introductory article to this section of the website, “God’s presence in our lives” before going on, if you have not already. It explains the various methods, available to us, that we can use to engage with God in our lives. And how our lives can be positively transformed as a result! It also puts those available methods, and our overall relationship with God, in perspective.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
With regard to this article though, it refers to God’s potential one-on-one personal messages to each one of us human beings. This particular article does follow on from the subsection, “God’s guiding hand”, and the article, “God’s helping hand”. It is somewhat related to them.
Now, I am not so naïve as to not know that this all may seem suspect to you (that is, God speaks). And this would especially be the case, if you have not even had exposure to close family or friends, having credibility with you, who can vouch for the fact.
But, here I am stating that it certainly happens! I certainly rate myself as a ‘thinker’. And I would guess that you, the reader, would not be on this web page if you were not one yourself. So, when I write that God speaks, I mean that I have proven it for myself beyond reasonable doubt. (Again, to read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
2. WHY HE SPEAKS TO US
To begin with, God commonly speaks to ‘gifted’ individuals, within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement in the Church, so they can pass on his messages to other specific people. Again, you might have to trust me a bit at that point. If you wish to have a brief look at that kind of stuff, please begin with the article “Experiencing the Holy Spirit”. And let me say I had trouble with even contemplating that could also be real. Anyway, in those cases, God speaks the words that he wants passed on, into the mind of the gifted person. Then they repeat that message to the person they have been told by God to speak to. See the articles, “Messages of knowledge” and “Prophecies” that specifically relate. This stuff ‘rattled my cage’, when I first experienced it, I can tell you.
But for all that, I am not talking about what goes on in the ‘movement’ here. Rather, I am discussing how God really can speak directly to any one of us, at any time, under any circumstances. That is, if he wishes to do so.
Why does he speak to us though?
Firstly, God gives directives when he needs us to do something specific: make a change in our life, help someone in particular etc. I would title that kind of message a “directive”. That is, do it!
I have received a few of these personally, and they are mentioned here and there in articles within this website. Most were related to helping people, sometimes not even known by me. Some were like, “Check on your friend X”. As you would guess, I’d call them by phone and find life had dealt them a ‘blow’. Then I would do my best to help them out.
My wife receives many more of these types of directives, which later check out to be real. She has a naturally ‘warm heart’, so I guess God puts that to use.
Secondly, God speaks when he wants to support one of us.
An example of mine
I have heard him, for example, when I have been in difficult circumstances. I can remember his words in one such example, “Trust me!” The thing that struck me most, after that statement from him, was an injection of peaceful acceptance in my mind. And of course the dilemma slowly but surely passed.
In similar difficult circumstances recently, I heard him say, “Talk to me.” I immediately realised that meant I had forgotten to ask for his help through prayer, despite being stressed over that life issue. I had simply ‘left him out of the loop’. It wasn’t all that critical in hindsight, but why hadn’t I thought of engaging with him anyway.
I well remember too an instance given to me by my late mother, that I can share with you. That is of God speaking to her. She had strong Christian faith. My mum was always an extremely anxious person though, and she also struggled with serious depression as well.
The story actually related to me as a nine year old child. My dad had died a year before, and she was still grieving. I had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance with meningococcal disease. This was a serious infection, and the last thing my mum needed at that point of time.
She overheard a doctor speaking about me. He stated, “I don’t think the lad will make it!” Mum explained to me, many years later, how she felt her mental health going into ‘free fall’ after hearing that. And what stopped her psychological breakdown? She told me that God spoke to her so clearly. His words were simply, “He will not die!”
Yes, she knew the source of those words in her head, and believed them. She was obviously so sure of the authenticity of the advice, and had no doubts as to its truth. I don’t doubt either that she would have had that breakdown otherwise, due to her usual negative, fearful nature.
Without the slightest doubt, I believe that story.
3. RECOGNISING HIS VOICE
Now I do not believe that it is a common experience, even as a Christian, to receive messages in this way from God. So when it does happen, it is extremely faith building to recognise his voice. That is to actually know that we are being addressed by him personally.
From my own experience again, God’s voice is not normally heard through our ears under these circumstances. He is usually heard within our minds. God’s words, as I have explained, are one-on-one and personal. I accept through faith that he is intimately involved with every human life, and is capable of listening and talking to every one of us at any given moment. Consider the logistics of that!
3.1 What does he sound like?
So, what does God sound like?
Well, I can firstly answer from my own experiences. To me, God’s voice is somehow clearer, or crisper, than the ‘sound’ of my own thoughts or ideas.
Personally, I have noticed his ‘voice’ becomes quite loud when he is really serious about something. In effect it sounds like a crystal clear thought in my head. I have found that it is not a good idea to ignore the ‘loud ones’.
What does God sound like to others? Some other Christians, who I have asked, think of the experience as more a strong sense of ‘intuiting’ a message. His voice is explained as an ‘impression’, a very real and strong one, to still other folks.
However one might explain the sensation, it is true to say that recognition of his voice grows through our personal experience, possibly built up over many years.
But all of us, who exchanged views on the subject, seemed to have a common agreement that any message from God conveys a genuine sense of ‘importance and clarity’. Yes, it kind of stands out from regular day-to-day brain functions.
3.2 Knowing when it is not his voice
I suppose the obvious question for the doubter is, “How can we know it is God speaking and not just our own thoughts?” In fact, there is no doubt that many personal thoughts of Christians are attributed to messages from God. It can be very handy to think that we have God on side, to justify our own agendas. There have been some high powered examples over past years, eh?
So how can we know that God is the source of the message in our minds that we attribute to him? There are potentially two other sources – our own brain functions and Satan. As far as Christians are concerned, one sure fired way of knowing that it isn’t God speaking is if the words are telling us to do something that conflicts with Bible truths; scriptures. Admittedly, this requires us to be familiar with the Bible. Yet, a sense of common morality or ‘right and wrong’ will go a long way to helping us here. And we hear of some drastic examples, don’t we? Religious wars and hatred have been with us for centuries. Men and women leave their families to form relationships with new more attractive partners.
These things happen, and the perpetrators often tell us they have done it at God’s direction. I say, “Get a grip!”
Those sorts of messages may not come from their own thoughts, but they certainly don’t come from God either.
As a practising Christian, it is through our acting on his directives, or not acting upon them, that the proof of the message’s source actually occurs.
They are definitely standouts!
We’ll firstly sense that the directive seems an important thing to act upon. And we will subsequently see the obvious results of our actions.
And when we do follow his directions, we should also come to recognise “God’s helping hand”, also termed “providence”, at work making our efforts all the more effective. If you have the time, read that article too.
Now, most of the articles, so far in this website section, have discussed how God deliberately engages with us in our lives. The website articles following this one, begin to discuss how we can deliberately engage with God.
So, continue to the next article, “Prayers of request”. That article explains about, and leads, the other supporting articles in the subsection of the same name. You can see the heading in the Menu Bar above if you wish.
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