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Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to Hear What God is Saying to You

How to Hear What God is Saying to You

Jesus made us an amazing promise in John 14:15-20.  He promised to give each of us a priceless gift.  His gift for us is his Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, and be our teacher and counselor and comforter and guide– for the rest of our lives.  So we are never left alone to figure things out for ourselves.  The Holy Spirit will speak directly to our hearts.   

We read in Scripture: “The steps of a good man are directed by the Lord and He delights in his way.  Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand and upholds him.”  (Psalm 37:23, 24)  We are not capable of running our own lives, so we need God’s guidance and strength.  If we take time to listen for God, we will be directed to the next step we are to take as we walk through our life.  So how do we do that?  How do we listen for God?  Are there things we can do to listen better?

First we need to want to hear God’s voice, and have faith that He wants to guide us.  Scripture says that God has given each one of us a “measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3) so we need to get the faith we’ve been given out and use it.  We need to take time to listen – get away from the business and stuff in our lives for a little time and wait upon the Lord.  An important part of prayer is being still and listening.  Being patient and waiting.  “Be still and know that I am God.”

And second, we need to keep an attitude of obedience.  Jesus said:  “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”  A hard heart or an unforgiving heart can keep us from hearing God.  If we aren’t willing to follow where God is leading us then we may not listen to what He is trying to tell us.  So in order to hear God we need to be willing to obey.  Pray and obey. 

Third, we need to study the Bible since knowing God’s Word protects us from deception.  God is not going to speak to you and tell you to do something that the Bible – His Word – tells us is wrong.  For example the Bible tells us that it is a sin to commit adultery.  So if you pray and believe that God is telling you that you should start living with a person who is married to someone else, you can know that God didn’t put that thought in your mind.  We may hear what we want to hear, but that doesn’t mean we have heard from God.  Joyce Meyer in her book, “How to Hear from God” p.42 says:  “An idea can feel good to our emotions but fail to give us peace when it isn’t in line with God’s Word.”

If God doesn’t seem to be saying anything about a situation, it may not be that He isn’t leading us.  Perhaps He trusts us to do what we want and make some of our own choices.  One of His gifts is the gift of freedom. We need to act with kindness, love and forgiveness in every choice we make. And we need to use common sense and wisdom in making decisions.  And if we worry that we may not have enough wisdom to make decisions wisely we can ask God for wisdom and He promises to give it to us.  (James 1:5)

God can speak through prophecy. The Word encourages us to welcome divinely inspired prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14: 1-4)  Joyce Meyer in her book “How to Hear From God” says: “A prophecy that is inspired by God will strengthen and encourage and comfort the one who receives it.” page 51`.  “If a prophecy doesn’t bear agreement in your heart, don’t worry about it.  There are a lot of well-meaning people who think they are hearing from God for others, but they’re not… If a word is truly from God, He will make it happen in His own time.  Lay aside the prophecy and just wait to see if God brings it to pass.  He will speak to you in other ways to confirm it, if it is really from Him.”  Pages.51- 53.

God isn’t limited, He can use many different ways to speak to us. He speaks to us through nature and through our natural abilities.  He gives each of us talents and abilities to use in helping and blessing others and glorifying Him.  And God gives us “grace” for the work that He has called us to do.  Scripture also says that He can speak to us through the counsel of other people. (Proverbs 15:22-23)  God speaks to us through correction, and through other people who practice listening for His voice in their lives.  Start listening and watching for God to speak to your heart everywhere you go. It’s exciting to know that He is part of our work and our lives.   

Jesus promises us peace.  “My peace I give you, my peace I leave with you, do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  (John 14:27)  When God speaks to us He gives us a sense of internal peace. God speaks to us through our convictions and our heart’s desires. And He gives us joy to spur us on in doing the work that He gives us to do.  He wants us to enjoy life.   

Scripture says: “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”  (John 4:24)  Because the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, He communicates directly to us often through a still small voice deep within our spirits.  We need to pray and ask Him to give us ears (spiritual ears) to hear what He wants to say to us.  I think that if we obey God it helps our ears to stay open to His Voice.  Proverbs 3:6 says: “In all your ways acknowledge (obey) Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  But does He direct our paths if we continually refuse to acknowledge (obey) Him in all that we do?  I don’t think so!

Even though we listen for God’s voice and obey, there will still be times when we may not hear from God as clearly as we would like. When we don’t know exactly what to do in a situation we can trust God to work things out.  Isaiah 42:16 says:  “I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known.  I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain.  These things I have determined to do and I will not leave them forsaken.”  We need to keep trusting God when we can’t see our own way, because God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8)  

Scripture says that God leads us like a good Shepherd leads his sheep.  One way that God speaks to us is by opening or closing a door to something we are considering doing.  We can pray that God will only open the doors through which He wants us to pass.  Scripture says that Paul and Silas tried to go into Asia to preach the gospel there but the “Spirit of Jesus prevented them.” (Acts 16:6-7)  The Bible doesn’t say how Jesus “prevented them”.  We can pray and ask God to close doors for us when He doesn’t want us to do something.  It’s nice to know that God can keep us from going places that are not in His plan for us.

A friend of mine has an adult daughter who hasn’t spoken to him for many years.  At first the rejection broke my friend’s heart and he begged his daughter not to shut him out of her life.  He tried sending her gifts and leaving messages but his best efforts were all in vain.   Finally he gave his painful problem to God.  He says that when he tries to figure out why his daughter has rejected him he only becomes more confused and depressed.  But when he leaves his problem with God he is left with hope and peace.  He can picture a time when he and his daughter will be reunited even if he has to wait until he is in heaven. He has prayed and asked God to heal the rift with his daughter and he believes that God has heard his prayer and that gives him a measure of peace. 

People who enjoy the good life are people who overcome problems by listening to the Holy Spirit speak to their hearts.  In her book “How to Hear From God” p. 257  Joyce Meyer writes: “The next time you have a decision to make, don’t try to figure it out with your head.  Go somewhere to get still and let your spirit search diligently for God’s voice.”  I agree with her.  That’s the only way to go.

Many of the ideas in this blog were taken from Joyce Meyer’s book, “How to Hear From God”





  1. My experience with Baptist/evangelical theology can best be described as a wild Roller Coaster ride: a lot of great psychological, emotional, and spiritual highs and a lot of deep psychological, emotional, and spiritual lows. Why?

    In Baptist theology, your Justification and your Sanctification---your essence as a follower of Christ...if you boil it all really dependent on you and your feelings.

    Do I feel saved? Do I feel I really repented in my born again experience? Do I feel that I truly had faith when I made a decision for Christ; when I prayed a version of the Sinner's Prayer? If I am really saved, why do I feel at times that my faith is so weak? Maybe I need to do the born again experience again; maybe I need to pray the Sinner's Prayer again, just to be 100% sure that I am saved. I want to know without any doubt that I am saved, and if I do not feel saved, I begin to doubt my salvation.

    Baptist/evangelical theology tells me that I will always feel Christ's presence and strength inside me, if I am a true believer. But what if I don't feel him there sometimes? If it is true that I should always be able to hear God speak to me, in an inner voice or feel his inner presence move me/lead me to do his will, what is going on when I don't hear anything or feel anything? Have I committed some unknown sin and he is refusing to hear me? Or is the reason that I don't hear or feel him present within me... is because I'm not really saved!

    I was so incredibly happy to find orthodox (confessional) Lutheranism and find out that my feelings have nothing to do with my Justification, my salvation, nor with my Sanctification, my walk with my Savior and Lord! My salvation was accomplished 100% by God.

    1. I had those feelings too and worried about my salvation. So glad you found peace when you went to the Lutheran Church. God is in the business of forgiving our sins and He can forgive us when we have those doubts too. Like you said, salvation was accomplished 100% by God!

  2. Yes, our salvation was accomplished 100% by God. But we have to accept it! What about all of those people who don't have salvation? Our God loves the whole world and wants all of us to come to Him. So why didn't they? Could it be that God left something for us to do? Accept Him? We are not robots! God gave us free-will. So we have to do that last thing - accept God's great salvation! Or reject it! Or for those who never had the chance, God in His mercy will have another place for them?? This subject is obviously way bigger than we are!

  3. TO Gary: I disagree. One sect or another doesn't matter I am baptist). Our feelings don't matter or mean anything. All that matters in this world and the next is God's Word. Same today, yesterday and tomorrow. My feelings mean nothing only my faith. I know of no evangelical who feels he or she is on a roller coaster. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (or feelings) and he will direct your path." Feelings have nothing to do with it. Only Faith.

  4. i think we all have been in times in our lives, when we went down a path that God was not leading us into. It happened to me early this year when i began to think God was leading me to move out of India to Canada to work and settle there! I m in my mid 50s! No country's immigration rules ever encourage people over 45(max 48yrs) to apply. But i just blindly went ahead anyway & found all the doors closed to me. I have now started praying to the Lord to help me to hear Him more clearly

    elizabeth india

    1. When the doors close that may be God's reply. Perhaps another country is where you belong. Or to stay in India. I will pray with you for God's will in your life. Thanks for commenting!