Christianity is all about our “personal” relationship with Christ. If that is the case, then we require the ability to hear from Him. It is vital as Christians to not only to hear from God but also to speak to Him.
Within a single day in our lives, we are surrounded by a variety of voices impacting our lives. Above all, being a disciple of Jesus means that we must hear from God to grow and mature in our relationship with Him. This type of connection is even more important than food is to our body. Jesus says in Matthew 4:4 “… “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Often people want to hear from God and to do so they spend a considerable amount of time trying to figure out how to do so using various methods and means. We may even assume that it is only certain people who can hear from God? Does God choose to speak to only some people, or does He speak to all of His children?
Amid the myriad of voices around you, the only way to recognise the voice of God is by immersing yourself in the word of God and spending time in prayer with Him. If you want to hear from God, then you need to begin by recognising His voice. To recognise His voice, you need to know Him. To know Him, you need to read the word of God and spend time in prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to move in your life.
If you do not do this, then how will you know who it is that is speaking to you. Is it your spirit, other voices around you, or is it God?
Let us examine some ways to hear from God and recognise that He is speaking to you.
Firstly hear God through His word.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
This passage tells us that in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ. So, if we want to hear Jesus speak to us, it means that we need to encounter Him. If you want to meet the real Jesus, then you must encounter Him through the word of God. Jesus is the complete revelation of God and scriptures reveal Christ in His fullness. Amen!
Scripture is the primary way that God speaks to us. Whenever you want to hear God speak, the first place you need to look at is the written word of God. This is why it is so important to immerse yourself in the word of God.
The word of God is given to us as protection to remain in the truth of the gospel. As I mentioned earlier, there are countless voices out there. In its midst, the devil will try and bring about deception and lead you to a false Christ and false God. If you solely rely on feelings, and subjective thoughts, and a leading of some kind without being grounded on scripture; then you are standing on shaky ground. It is very easy to create a Jesus that you like and want Him to speak to you in a manner that fits in your agenda. This is not the Jesus of the Bible!
Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Scriptures are a lamp to your feet and a light for your path. Scriptures speak to you and guides you along the paths of righteousness. Again in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Friends, scriptures in all its fulness is God speaking through His Holy Spirit so that you may be complete and equipped for every good work. Praise God!
If you do not have scripture, then how can you validate the myriad of voices around you and in you. Does it align with what God has spoken, and is it in alignment with those things that honour God?
This is the reason why you need to test everything you hear. The test must be based on the word of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 says “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
Secondly, God can communicate to us outside the Bible.
God is not limited to speak to us through scripture alone, but He also communicates to us through a variety of different ways. When we read the book of Acts, we see great examples of God speaking through visions, dreams, prophecies, through Angels, through various circumstances, and being led by the Holy Spirit.
This being said, I refer back to my previous point about the importance of scriptures and why anything we hear or see or do, “must” be aligned with the Bible. If today’s churches and our lives are to reflect the happenings in the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, then we need checks and balances to stop people from straying from the truth. Straying into myths and whatever else people may want to do according to their own desires and not the will of God.
That is why it is “scripture alone” that keeps us in alignment with God’s revelation and instructions to us and we must not go beyond it. 1 Corinthians 4:6 says “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
So, let us examine some of the ways that we can experience God’s voice.
God speaks through the Holy Spirit leading.
As Christians, we are to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit so we can cultivate a relationship with God and to hear from Him. 2 Corinthians 13:4 says “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” When you have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, then it allows you to hear from God. It will open the door for supernatural wisdom to come into your life.
1 Corinthians 2:13-16 says “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
An example of this is in Acts 8:29 “And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” In this passage, the Holy Spirit is a “person” speaking to Philip either through an articulative voice or by an unmistakable voice within him, to lead him to the Ethiopian eunuch.
God speaks by reminding you words of scripture.
Acts 11:15-16 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Again, when we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, He brings to remembrance everything, especially the words of Christ, and all that He has spoken to you through scripture when you need it most. Amen!
God speaks through visions and dreams.
An example of God speaking through visions can be found in Acts 16:9-10 “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
An example of God speaking through dreams in Matthew 1:20 “But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Even today, it is possible for God to speak to you through visions and dreams, but as mentioned earlier, each must be validated against the written word of God. We hear many testimonies of conversion as God speaks to people through visions and dreams.
At the same time, it is crucial to note that many can go the opposite way and pursue only after dreams and visions instead of first seeking foundation on the word of God. It is vital so that you do not swerve from what has already been revealed in scripture.
God speaks through circumstances.
Acts 16:6-7 “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”
Circumstances are sometimes one of the best ways God speaks to us, but often we do not realise it. This is because we misinterpret the situation because of a skewed understanding of Christian living. What I mean by this is that, if your view of Christianity is only about blessings from the Lord and only anything good in your life can be attributed to God, then you may not have a deep understanding of the relationship with Christ. This is a sort of prosperity teaching and nothing to do with a deep understanding of the things of God.
Because of that, we can often jump to conclusions that anything negative in life is attributed to the devil. Instead, I encourage you to assess every circumstance, good or bad and determine what the Lord is trying to say to you through them. It could be a test from the Lord (James 1:3-4,12), it could be the discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12:5-11), or He is trying to achieve something through your situation. It is essential to understand the outcome of any of these is ultimately for good and the glory of God. Listen to Him when He speaks through your circumstance and trust Him.
In conclusion, first and foremost to hear God speak in your life, you must first begin by drawing to Him through Scripture. This is the primary way to understand Christ and God’s ways. And as you do that the Holy Spirit will begin to speak to you and lead you as He works mightily in your life. Get a deep-rooted understanding in scripture along with spending time in prayer and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Once you begin to do this, then you can be assured that as He begins to speak to you in a variety of ways you will know that it is God speaking in your situation and not any other voices.