Have you ever felt something in your heart, and wondered if it is God or not? You may have buried the thought away, or you might have even asked a trusted friend what they thought. It can sometimes be difficult to know whether a voice is from God, you, or even bad pizza. So how can you tell the difference?
The Different Types of Voices
One of the most important things you can do when trying to identify the voice of God in your life is to also consider the other possibilities. Here is a few for you to consider. The first is God Himself. The Holy Spirit will speak to you and guide you. The most common ways in my life are through prayer, the Bible, and through the teaching of the Word.
Another source is the enemy. He will use your fears, doubts, and the world to communicate his message. Not that we live in fear of his message, but we make every effort to guard our hearts. That is why the media you select, and the people you choose to spend your time with are important.
The voice you hear the most though, is your own. One of the ways you can shape this voice in a godly way is to include reading the Bible in your routine. That way, the Word of God will become the fuel of your thought life, instead of the media and other things you consume with your eyes and our ears.
With your voice, also comes the voice of your flesh. Jesus said that the “flesh is weak,” so you can expect your flesh to speak to your weaknesses. It is also called your sinful nature. This self gratifying voice will always lead you away from God’s best for your future, and usually satisfies you with something immediate. We have to be careful to follow our convictions, and not jut our comforts.
Can You Follow Your Heart?
Another thing to consider is that we are not made of only weak flesh, but we also have a willing part of us as well. Jesus said that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is week.” One of my favorite versus about the difference between our flesh and sprit is from the Old Testament,
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
The good news of this verse, is that after receiving Christ, we no longer have to wonder if our heart is wicked and deceitful, but rather can know that it is tender and responsive to God. In other words, we can follow our heart. In fact, I think that if you do not follow your heart, you are not only betraying yourself, but those around you as well. To be true to yourself is to be false to not other.
But who is the person who ultimately knows whether you have heard from God or not? Believe it or not, it is you. You are the person most qualified to determine whether you have heard from God. That is why on Judgment Day, you do not stand before God with a committee of church friends or leaders with you. On that day you will be alone with God. That is why God has given you His Holy Spirit, the Bible, and a conscience. He gave you a new heart, so that you can trust His leading.
3 Types of Unwise Counsel
There is safety in wise counsel, and that is always something that you should have in your life, but you should consider the type of counsel you are getting. Here are three types of counsel you should avoid: Are you trying to get a consensus from people your own age? Are you comparing your situation to others or competing for recognition? Are the people you going to more inclined to tell you what to do and give you ultimatums, or give you options instead? In these cases, you may be getting counsel, but not wise counsel.
3 Types of Wise Counsel
Here are a few things to consider when you are looking for counsel. Does the person have gray hair? In other words, have they lived some life and have a few more years of experience than you do? Is the person considerate, merciful, kind, and full of grace? People who have yet to learn from their mistakes are often brash, bold, and proud. Look for humility. Does the person point you back to God and His word. The wisest counsel has an eternal godly perspective that outlasts whatever it is you are currently involved in (whether it is a good thing or not).
One of the best ways to hear from God, is by simply making yourself available. Go ahead and ask Him right now, “Lord, what would you like to say to me today?”
What do you think? Did I get this right or wrong? How do you know whether God has really spoken to someone or not? Share your thoughts!