Many Christians, including me, struggle with hearing God’s voice. There was a time in my life when I felt abandoned and lonely and did not believe that God would talk to me. However, eventually, I realized that God wants to have a relationship with me and with every relationship, there is two-way communication. The problem was not that God wasn’t talking to me but was the fact that I was not tuned into Him. My desires and the constant static interference of the world drowned out His voice. To hear Him I needed to learn how He speaks and through what channels.
The Different Ways God Talks to Us
Each time you hear God, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a miraculous event such as a burning bush or thunder from the sky. God speaks to His children in many different ways.
God speaks to us through the Bible – If you have been a Christian for any length of time, then you have probably heard a non-believer criticize the faith because men wrote the Bible and therefore is biased and not the actual word of God. Fortunately, this is a wrong assumption, and the Bible is the number one way God speaks to us. The Bible contains a multitude of answers to our questions with guidance, encouragement, and support. It is “God-Breathed,” inspired by God, and this makes The Bible one of the most influential tools in any relationship with the Lord. But the only way you are going to hear God speaking through the Bible is to quiet your mind, read it and meditate on the word; even it is for just a few minutes a day.
Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (New Living Translation)
God Speaks through Teachers
It doesn’t happen every Sunday or every time I listen to a pastor or teacher, but more often than not God speaks to me through what others are saying. Sitting in Sunday service listening to the pastor I can usually relate to the topic, but I don’t always feel like it applies to my current place in life. Then there are those times when suddenly it hits me that God is speaking directly to me and has been for some time. I have been blind to what God has been telling me all along. You know what I am talking about; you’ve probably sat through several sermons, lectures or videos covering the same topic and then one-day “wham” the words pierce your heart like never before and you know God is talking right at you. You don’t have to wait for a special guest speaker or the next Sunday to be taught. Books, internet, and cable TV provide many different options for hearing God’s word through others, and He will speak to you using these tools.
God Speaks through Ideas
We have all heard stories of people saying they got their inspiration or creative idea from God. I hear from people going on missions that when they begin their journey, they aren’t sure how it is going to happen. Somehow everything falls into place, and they realize that God is providing the finances and support they need to follow their inspiration. Note: you should always test your impressions; God isn’t the only one who can plant an idea in our heads. We can receive messages from the outside world and the enemy which can seem like messages from God. Test these messages against what the Bible says, and if they are contrary to the word of God, then they aren’t from Him. One example of this kind of flawed thinking is when a spouse leaves their mate because they have met someone new (the sparks are flying, and something other than the brain is leading) claiming it is the will of God because He wants them to be happy. Adultery is never the will of God, and either is the heartache and damage that stems from divorce.
Job 33:14-18, “For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.
He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.” (New Living Translation)
God will inspire us throughout the day, maybe a small whisper telling us to give a person in need a helping hand or He may speak to us through our dreams when our minds are quiet and free from distractions; inspiration can come in many forms.
God Speaks through Pain and Suffering
I think all of us are very familiar with hearing God speak to us when we are in a great deal of pain. Sometimes it takes going through these painful experiences that make us finally change our ways and listen to God. We can go for months hardening our hearts against others and letting pride drive a wedge between God’s will and our own will. It is also during the most painful times of our lives that we tend to turn towards God and seek His direction, comfort, healing, and protection. Often the pain and suffering we encounter seems unbearable. We feel hopeless and need someone to give us hope to ensure us that there is light at the end of the tunnel. God does just that! He asks us to have faith, gives ourselves to Him and to pursue a more Christ-like existence.
Make it a priority on a daily basis to spend time in prayer, reading the Bible and meditating on the word of God, and this will help you to hear the voice of God. The more you step out and do the things you hear God calling you to do, the better you will get at knowing when it is His voice you are hearing. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.