My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NIV)
As Christians, we all want to hear God's voice. There also are times when we don't want to hear God or others.
We are His sheep, and we long to know which way our Shepherd is leading us, so we listen the best we know how, with open ears and an open heart.
But, so many of us feel as if we are in life all alone. Shepherd-less sheep, wandering aimlessly without any direction at all.
Though that is what Satan would like for us all to believe, thankfully it is just not so!
God has given us a very special gift - The Holy Spirit.
God Says: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."
(John 16:7 (NIV)
That means that God wants you to be able to hear His voice today just like Adam and Eve heard Him in the garden of Eden. These words here may help you begin to hear God's voice so you can follow where His Holy Spirit is leading you.
God Speaks To Us In Different Ways
Many times we miss out on hearing God's voice because we don't know how He speaks. Here are just a few ways that God can speak to you.
Through His Word. I find that many Christians want God to speak to them, but they have not even taken the time to find out what He has already said! God has already spoken to you, and His words are written down in the Bible.
When you go to God in prayer before you begin reading your Bible, He can make the words on the pages seem more alive than ever before. He can speak to you about the unique situation that you are facing today through something He said thousands of years ago. He is just that good!
Through other Christians. Now, this is a tricky one. God can speak to us through other believers, but that does not mean that everything another Christian says to you is a word from God.
God confirms His Word by repetition. If you have only heard a message once, that does not mean it is a special word to you from the Lord. But, if you are receiving the same message over and over from various sources, then that may be the voice of God speaking to you through one of His chosen vessels.
You can always pray and ask God to confirm it again to ensure you are on the right path.
Through His soft voice. In 1 Kings 19, we read about Elijah hearing the voice of God.
1 Kings 19:11-16
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord,
for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the
mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not
in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after
the fire came a gentle whisper.
13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood
at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here,
14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites
have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to
death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill
15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of
Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.
16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat
from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
I love the way this scripture starts off with these loud booming sounds. That is often what we expect when we are waiting to hear from God. But those loud sounds were not where God's voice was heard.
God does not yell when He speaks with us. And you usually will not hear it in your natural ear. When you really hear God's voice, it will be like a whisper deep within yourself. It will not force you to obey, and is all too easy to ignore.
God is a gentleman. If you are waiting for a loud clap of thunder, you may very well miss Him. Through a gently tug. Sometimes you actually hear God's voice, but other times you may just sense a little tug inside of you senses that a particular decision is the right way to go.
It's not necessarily logical, or what you would normally decide. But, for some reason, you sense a certain peace about it. This peace comes from the Holy Spirit. When you follow this peace, you can never go wrong!
But, you must be sure that it is really the peace of God, and not just your emotions. Just because you are happy about something does not mean it is God's will for your life. Pray and ask God to confirm that what you are sensing is really His will for you, and not just your own.
Three Reasons Christian's Can't Hear God's Voice
I once heard a wise Christian man say, God is always broadcasting. It is just that, sometimes, we aren't tuned in to the right channel.
Here are 3 reasons why Christians don't hear God's voice, even though He is trying to speak. The final reason is definitely the biggest!
#3. They think that prayer is a one sided conversation. Many Christians talk to God, but they never stop to hear God's voice after they are done. They simply say what is on their mind, and then go on with the rest of their day without ever stopping to listen for a reply.
Whenever you pray, stop, close your eyes, and be silent for a few moments afterwards. Allow time for God to join in on your conversation.
#2. Their lives are too loud. Often times the reason that we can not hear God's voice is because we have allowed our lives to become too hectic. We have picked up too many responsibilities that God has not called us to pick up, and we have crowded Him out.
We have to remember Martha and Mary. Martha was busy in the kitchen trying to prepare a nice meal for the Lord, doing what she thought was the right thing to do. But, Mary had decided to slow down and take a seat at the Lord's feet.
Jesus said that while Martha was "worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it".
Luke 10:38-42 (NIV).
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman
named Martha opened her home to him.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that
my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not
be taken away from her."
TIP 1: Take more time out to be like Mary. Designate a particular time each day as your time with the Lord.
It does not have to be long. Even 5 or 10 minutes of your lunch time spent praying in your car can quiet your life down enough to hear God's voice.
TIP 2: Begin praying over all of your obligations - Even the ones that feel "mandatory." Find out which ones God has no desire for you to do, and begin trading in a busy life for a productive life that allows time for the Lord.
After all, Jesus said your private life with Him is the only thing worth being concerned about anyway.
#1. They doubt that what they are hearing is really the Lord, so they ignore it. This is something that most Christians are guilty of, and they don't even realize it!
Just a few days ago, I had lost my driver's license. I prayed for God to show me where it was. He told me, but the place He said seemed so odd that I figured I had made it up myself!
Eventually, after looking in a few other places, I did a half-hearted scan where He told me to look, and missed it. When He told me to look again, I still thought it was just me making it up. But, there it was, folded up inside of a piece of paper, buried somewhere I would have never looked!
I had to laugh at myself. But, we all do these kinds of things everyday. Then we say things like "Something told me to look there!" or "I felt like I was supposed to fill in the blank, but I didn't."
Of course we all have more serious decisions to make than where to look for a driver's license. And, sometimes stepping out and following the soft voice of God can be frightening.
No one wants to make a mistake, especially when there is a lot at stake. But, having faith is never easy. And that is exactly what it takes to follow the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit.
Something that helped me to step out on faith and follow the voice of God happened when I finally caught hold of an important fact.
He [God] Himself has said,
I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.
[I will] not, [I will] not,
[I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you!) [Assuredly not!]
We take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly accept the following verses:
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,
because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)
I finally realized that, since I was trying to be obedient, God was not going to loose His hold on me. No matter how big of a mistake that I made, if I do it because I am trying to follow Him, it is never too big for Him to fix.
God is looking at your heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 says:
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
If it is turned towards Him, He will always protect you - Even from your mistakes.
Now, another issue that many Christians struggle with is being able to tell God's leading from their own personal desires and emotions. This is something that is very important, because our goal is to be Spirit lead. So, we want to be sure we are not allowing our own feelings about a matter to color the Word from God that we are receiving.