How to recognise God’s voice when he speaks to us.
Why and when God does speak to us.
Knowing how to react 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”. And it is 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). Yes indeed, I know exactly how ‘far out’ this stuff can look to any of us! And this would especially be the case, if you have not had close family or friends, who you trust, vouch for the fact.
But, here I am stating that it does indeed happen! I certainly rate myself as a ‘thinker’. And I would guess that YOU, the reader, would not be on this web page if you weren’t one as well. 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. 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 accepting that it all could be real …. but boy, after years of exposure, I do think differently now! Please have a look at the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” for my analysis and final evaluation.
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. Yes, this stuff ‘rattled my cage’, when I 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 can give advice when he needs us to do something specific: make a change in our own life, or 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 maybe find life had dealt them a ‘blow’. Then I would do my best to ‘help them out’. The process would often successfully use a ‘prayer of request‘, in the company of that friend.
My wife receives many more of these directives to help others than me, which often check out to be real in the long run. She has a naturally ‘warm heart’, so I guess the Lord puts that to use.
I have also received directives about turning away from behaviour, in my life, that God has not been too happy about. These stories of mine also relate to guidance that I term “God’s tough love” relating to ‘bad life choices’ that any of us can make.
Secondly, God speaks when he wants to lovingly support one of us Christians in our lives. And I believe I have a really great example of this process. And it was given to me by my late mum. I now share it with you. She had strong Christian faith. Unfortunately though, my mum was always an extremely anxious person, and she also struggled with serious depression as well.
The story actually related to me as a ten year old child. My dad had died a year before, and my mum was still grieving badly. On this occasion I had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance with meningococcal disease. This was a serious life threatening infection, and the last thing my mum needed at that point of time.
Now, she always believed the worst, when faced with challenges in life. I write that as a result of my experiences when watching her ‘crumble’ as a result. And on this occasion she overheard a doctor speaking about me. He stated, “I don’t think the lad will make it!” Mum explained to me, decades 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, in that instant. His words were simply, “He WON’T die!”
Yes, she knew the source of those words in her head, based on previous experiences, and believed them. She had absolutely no doubts that it was God! I know ‘full well’ that she would have had that psychological breakdown otherwise.
Without the slightest doubt, I believe that story of hers.
3. RECOGNISING HIS VOICE
Now I personally 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 ‘belief’ building to recognise his voice. That is to actually know that we are being ‘addressed’ personally by our Lord.
From my own experiences 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! There are 8 billion of us alive on this planet.
3.1 What does God’s voice sound like?
So, what does God sound like when he speaks?
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. Look, I feel all these descriptions ‘fit the bill’.
However we 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 individuals, at a church meeting some time ago, who exchanged views on this subject of listening to God, seemed to have a common agreement. That was that any message from God carries a real sense of being both ‘clear’ and ‘important’. 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 any ‘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 guessed to be 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 political examples over past years, eh?
So how can we actually ‘know’ that God is the source of the message, in our minds, that we do think came from 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 clashes with Bible truths; scriptures. Admittedly, this means we should be familiar with the Bible. Yet, a sense of ‘right and wrong’ will go a long way to helping us here.
And we hear of some drastic examples, don’t we? Religious and hatred-driven wars have been with us for centuries. Men and women leave their families to form relationships with new more attractive partners. Etc! These things happen, and the guilty people 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 following his directives and advice, or not following 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 then we will come to 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, please 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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