Discerning The Voice Of God
1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
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And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
One of the most earnest desires of believers is to hear and discern the voice of God. As followers of Christ, we seek for guidance, wisdom, and long for a deeper connection with our Creator. Fortunately, God desires to communicate with us, and He speaks to us in various ways. However, discerning His voice amidst the noise and distractions of the world can be challenging. In this article, we will explore practical ways to discern the voice of God, drawing insights from the Bible and offering guidance to help believers develop a more intimate relationship with Him.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO DISCERN THE VOICE OF GOD
Cultivate a Personal Relationship with God:
The first step to discerning the voice of God begins with establishing a personal relationship with Him. Spend time in prayer, read and meditate on His Word, and seek His presence through worship. The more intimately we know God, the easier it becomes to recognize His voice amidst the clamor of other voices.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you…” James 4:8 (NIV)
Study and Understand Scripture:
The Bible is God’s written Word, and it serves as a reliable source of His voice. By immersing ourselves in Scripture, we become familiar with His character, principles, and promises. God’s voice will never contradict His Word, so a solid understanding of Scripture is essential for discernment.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Seek Wisdom through Prayer:
Prayer is a powerful means of communication with God. In our prayers, we should not only present our requests but also listen attentively for His response. Create space for silence, allowing God to speak to your heart. Pray for wisdom, guidance, and a discerning spirit to recognize His voice.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)
Test Everything against Scripture
God’s voice will always align with His Word. When you sense that you have heard from God, test it against Scripture to ensure its authenticity. If it contradicts the Bible, it is not from God. The Word of God serves as an anchor for our discernment, guarding us against deception.
The Bible in 1 John 4:1 warns, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Listen to the Holy Spirit
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. He serves as our guide and teacher, enabling us to discern the voice of God. Pay attention to the promptings, nudges, and convictions that the Holy Spirit impresses upon your heart. He will lead you in the right direction.
John 16:13 (NIV) – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Seek Godly Counsel
Seeking counsel from wise and mature believers can provide additional perspectives and insights when discerning God’s voice. Surround yourself with individuals who have a deep understanding of Scripture and a strong connection with God. Their wisdom and discernment can help confirm or challenge your understanding. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.”
Observe God’s Work in Your Life
God often speaks through His providence and the circumstances of our lives. Pay attention to the doors He opens or closes, the opportunities He presents, and the ways He guides and protects you. Reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past can provide assurance and clarity for the present.
Psalm 119:105 establishes this truth, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Remain in a Posture of Surrender
Discerning the voice of God requires humility and surrender. Submit your desires, plans, and ambitions to Him, and be open to His leading. Surrendering control allows God to speak more clearly and direct your steps according to His perfect will.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Exercise Patience and Practice
Discerning God’s voice is a journey that requires patience and practice. Be patient with yourself as you learn to distinguish His voice from others. Regularly engage in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture study, and meditation, allowing these practices to sharpen your ability to hear from God.
Hebrews 5:14 – “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to discern good from evil.”
Testimony and Confirmation
God often confirms His voice through multiple means. Seek confirmation through the testimonies of other believers, the counsel of trusted mentors, and the peace that surpasses understanding. As you discern God’s voice, be open to the confirmation He provides, bringing you reassurance and confidence in your discernment.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV) – “But test them all; hold on to what is good.”
Discerning the voice of God is a lifelong journey that requires a deepening relationship with Him, an understanding of His Word, and a sensitive heart to the leading of the Holy Spirit. By cultivating intimacy with God through prayer, Scripture study, and a posture of surrender, believers can develop the ability to discern His voice amidst the noise of the world. Remember, God desires to communicate with His children, and He faithfully guides and directs those who seek Him with a genuine heart. May we continually pursue His voice and align our lives with His divine will.