Do you long for God’s instructions for your life? Do you hear His voice? Hearing God is a gift that’s not just available to a select few. It’s God’s will that everyone hear His still, small voice. In order to hear, however, we must know what we’re listening for.
1. A still, small, voice. I’ve been “hearing” the inaudible voice of God in my spirit for over 25 years now, and let me tell you, hearing and understanding the voice of the Lord in your spirit takes time, patience, and it takes the willingness to listen. Only twice in all of the years of hearing the voice of the Lord has the inaudible voice been “loud”. Both of these times were in serious situations when the Lord desperately needed to get my attention.
Every other time I hear the voice of the Lord, it requires that I be quiet and still, and that I be listening. Choose today to increase the amount of time you spend in prayer listening instead of talking so that you may hear what God has to say to you.
2. Know the Word. Can’t overemphasize this one enough. I’ve seen countless situations where people believed and acted on “a Word from God” that was in direct contradiction to the Bible. This kind of mistake can devastate people and families. If you think you are receiving instructions from the Lord via His word in your spirit, you’d do yourself a favor by taking some time before obeying that word and making sure it really is from God and not from the Enemy.
Remember that the Devil is a pro at taking the Word of God and twisting it for destructive purposes. Jesus himself had to deal with this when He had finished His 40-day fast in the desert.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter (Satan) came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “
Then the Devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ “
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.‘ ” (Matt. 4:1-7)
Do you see how the Devil took the Word of God in this passage in an attempt to persuade Jesus to sin? If Satan had the guts to attempt to do this to Jesus, he certainly will try to deceive us in the same way.
How do we avoid this trap of the Great Deceiver? Know the Word, and know it well. The Bible, the “Sword of the Spirit” as it is called in Ephesians, is most certainly your greatest tool in avoiding the traps of the Enemy.
Remember that when you feel like you’ve gotten a word from the Lord to check it thoroughly with the whole of the Bible, not just a verse or two.
3. Consult with others. Think you’ve gotten a Word from the Lord? Check with trusted Christian friends to be sure. Ask them to pray with you for wisdom and discernment and for God to close your ears to the lies of the Enemy. Look to people who have a pattern of hearing the voice of the Lord successfully for guidance and advice. Most importantly, seek the Lord in prayer for clarification and wisdom.
4. Look for peace. I’ve noticed in my own life that whenever I’m searching for the source of a supposed “word from God”, there is a distinct peace that I get when it’s truly from Him, and a distinct uneasiness I get when it’s not from God.
This technique I use for discerning these “words” has been instrumental in my life and works almost every time. However, it has taken many hours of prayer for wisdom, discernment and knowledge, and many hours of listening prayer in order to hone in on the subtle difference between the peace of God and the deception of the Enemy.
Subsequently, until I am certain that the “word” I am receiving in my spirit is from God and not a deception of the Enemy, I don’t act on that word.
The next time you feel you’re receiving a word from the Lord, commit to challenging the word and exploring the possibility that it is from the Devil. Then commit to staying in prayer until you’re extremely certain that the word is from God before acting on it.
Jesus tells us in the book of John “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10: 2-5)
Jesus’ will is most certainly that we hear His voice when He instructs us on how to navigate through the trouble in this world (remember, His will is not that God takes you out of this world, but that He protects you from the Evil One. See John 17:15)
Make a commitment to more time in the Word and more time in prayer and in listening, so that you will have His amazing Wisdom to guide your way.