I think perhaps this is the most common question folks have. The short answer is YES! His Word is the place to begin, but He speaks individually as well. You will find other pieces on this blog–and many other places–to help you explore the topic. This is a recent compilation of tips on hearing from God. How does He speak to you? Share your experiences in the comments!
Hearing from God is the interpreting of life in the context of God. It requires the Holy Spirit, so looking at the arrival of the Spirit is useful. In Acts 2, the Spirit filled the ‘house.’ When God is all around, hearts are set on fire. When your heart is on fire, your life speaks that God is real.
You hear from God and you speak in a way that helps people understand GOD IS REAL. BUT not all people will understand. Some of the people at Pentecost thought the disciples were crazy or drunk. The timing may not be right for another, but that does not negate what you hear.
- Hearing from God is receiving a Personal Word. If you hear someone speak of a ‘rhema’ word, this is what they mean. Christ is the ‘logos’ come to life. God never speaks in a way that contradicts the written Word, the logos, the life of Christ. He brings the WORD to bear on your unique circumstances.
- Hearing from God requires humility…a willingness to fail, a willingness to be judged by others. Humanity is prone to error. It is possible to misunderstand and/or be misunderstood when you listen and speak of God’s word to you.
- Hearing from God requires courage. God doesn’t speak just so you can sail through life without struggle. Paul got on a boat that went down; was bit by a viper; blocked from some ministries; imprisoned; beaten and ultimately killed. Danger is part of the package: faith is fearless.
- Hearing from God requires confidence in God. If you get it wrong, if the results are not what you wanted…it is okay. It is not about us anyway…it is all about God. He is greater than the mistakes you (or another) will make.
- Hearing from God requires living in freedom…living in the presence of God.
- Hearing from God requires the grace of God…for yourself and others.
- Hearing from God requires faith in God. Getting it wrong or getting into situations you never intended opens the door for seeing His power and provision.
- Hearing from God is Holy Ground. Don’t take Him for granted. Don’t ignore what He tells you. Sin separates us from God. It can block our hearing Him…and His listening to us.
BEWARE: “God told me to tell you.”
God is all about relationship. He prefers to speak directly to us, but sometimes God will ask one person to deliver a message to another. Be cautious as the speaker or the hearer when you hear, “God told me…” Remember, humanity is prone to error. “God told me” can border on a manipulative tactic.
The advice I like best about the idea that God is telling you to speak to someone: if you want to do it, it probably is not God nudging you. If it is a message you don’t want to deliver—that’s probably God. (Think Samuel or Moses).
If someone is telling you “God said…”, go talk to God. What is the reaction of your spirit—your gut response? Do you know it is right but you don’t want to do it? That’s God. However, when in doubt, don’t. If their message doesn’t resonate in you–follow your peace. Don’t let someone put their burden on you. Listen to God.
Don’t automatically negate another’s word for you…God has been known to speak through donkeys. At the same time, refuse to negate their burden. God, indeed, may have given it to them. Just because it is not yours does not mean it is not valid.
Know that the devil does not want you to hear. God’s goal of speaking is always relationship & unity. He calls us closer to Him so we will know Him more. “How shall they know unless they hear?” There are any number of things that can interfere with hearing from God: stuff of life, busyness, worries, fear, resentments, unforgiveness, sin… The very things that block our hearing are the things God stands ready to use to transform us.
The things you struggle with are the places God is speaking to you. Don’t run away. Don’t throw out accusations at others (or God). Don’t fall into despair. Seek His face in the darkness; He is there.
God speaks all the time. He is the great I AM who is always present. He is LIFE itself. The pure in heart see God…and when you see Him, you will speak LIFE and others will hear. You will know He is present as you share in worshipping Him with others.