Recognising God’s voice when he speaks to us.
Why and when God does speak to us.
Knowing how to react to God’s directions.

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1.    INTRODUCTION

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 tries to put 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. Those messages normally relate to important advice that the Lord knows we need.

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 Holy 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. You certainly know what those words mean for you, when you are on the receiving end of a ‘genuine’ message. No kidding … YOU KNOW!

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, one-on-one, to us though?

2.1    A clear directive

Firstly, God can give advice when he needs us to do something specific: make a big change in our own life, or even when we are making important decisions. Or it could be a direction to help someone in particular. Etc.

I would ‘title’ these kind of messages “directives”. That is, DO IT! Or on the other hand, maybe, DO NOT DO IT! And once we get to a position in our faith journeys, where we can actually ‘recognise that voice of his’ … well … we should know to react favourably to it.

I have received a few of these personally during my own journey of faith, and they are mentioned here and there in articles within this website. Some certainly 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.

2.2    Supportive advice

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 a very 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 any challenges in life. I write that as a result of my experiences of 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! He simply gave her clear advice that ‘all would be well’. She just needed to relax! 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 ‘each and 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? When he offers advice to us?

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 in my mind.

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, probably 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 any message received directly 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 of guidance 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 during 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 always come from our own thoughts, but they certainly don’t come from God either.

4.    CONCLUSION

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 may 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.

But, please also continue to the next article, “God’s tough love” in this subsection.