The voice of God can be a difficult thing to decipher. A good reason you aren’t hearing his voice can stem from doubt. Deep inside you might be fostering a belief that God won’t speak to you. However, when you aren’t hearing God’s voice, it doesn’t have to be a chore or a repetitive action. Instead, try to view it as connecting with someone, that will transform your life.
In the book of John Jesus says:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
How can we listen to his voice, and how do you know it’s really him? I used to be confused, and there have been times I’ve thought I heard something, and it was way off. If you’re just starting out, in the pages below I’ll have some tips that I’ve learned, and they help me a lot when hearing God’s voice.
I highly doubt you’ll hear an audible voice speaking to you. I’m not saying it isn’t going to happen, but that’s highly unlikely. While God does speak to people audibly, more often than not he’ll speak in hunches, feelings, through other people, and most importantly the Bible. (Since I Wrote This I’ve Met A Few People I Trust Where It’s Happened, While I May Doubt, Make Sure You Listen)
I’ll go into greater depth below, but hearing God’s voice, is trying to explain what the color blue tastes like. It’s almost like a sense died with our spirit when we sinned, and the other senses are trying to make up for it.
While I have no spiritual or physical evidence to prove my theory. At this moment in time, it makes sense to me. When someone loses their ability to see, more often than not their ears try to pick up the slack. However good they do, ears can never replace seeing, and 20/20 vision cannot replace good hearing. They only help fill in the gap. This is the same issue we face when hearing God’s voice.
I believe the same thing happened with all of us. When we sinned against God, we died spiritually, and we lost our connection to God. Now that Jesus had died and risen again. We have communion with him, and our ears are opened to hearing God’s voice again.
Keep in mind, I believe he’s always talking we don’t seem to be listening. Knowing Jesus makes things easier, it smooths things out because you can recognize his voice. And Jesus said his sheep will know his voice.
What Is Hearing God’s Voice?
The Audible Voice Of God has a simple definition: It means he’s speaking as humans do in natural conversation. In western society whenever God speaks in movies or books, we’ll see the sky parted and a loud deep voice calls down from heaven. Kinda like when Jesus gets baptized in Matthew 3:16. It’s seen as an epic experience that transforms and changes everything, and hearing God’s voice is just that.
However, in the Bible God speaks to Elijah in a still small voice.
In my experience, a lot of the issues that arise from hearing God’s voice, don’t come from him. Instead, they come from our own hearing and focus.
In other words, we tend to hear what we want to, and we apply it to our own biases.
Your Focus Determines Your Ability to Hearing God’s Voice
You need to be actively expecting him to show up and speak. You’ll need to be familiar with him, and be focused and ready to hear.
God’s always speaking, I honestly believe that it’s us who aren’t listening. If he loves us as his word says, I can’t see why he wouldn’t be speaking.
What Stops Us From Hearing God’s Voice
The Bible is a great tool to utilize when you’re learning about hearing God’s voice. You can compare what you’re hearing to what is written. A good rule of thumb is the following:
Take What God’s Voice Is Saying To the Bible, If The voice contradicts the Bible, then it’s probably not God.
For example, your neighbor purchased a new car. It’s your dream car, and it sickens you to look out the window every day, seeing him driving it.
You want the car, and you dream about the car. Finally, God confirms it all, you should go and take that car. Well, it’s totally okay because God told you to do it…
Wrong, the bible specifically says “You shall not covet thy neighbor’s stuff.” Exodus 20:17 (My own Paraphrase that I find funny)
You’re NOT Hearing God’s Voice If the Bible Forbids It.
If you’re hearing something the bible explicitly forbids, you’re not hearing God’s voice. In fact, I’d even say your flesh is trying to sound like God, so it can have some fun. Yes, the devil and his demons are involved in this too, but if you didn’t have the desire, go down the rabbit trail. It wouldn’t be exploitable in the first place.
Another example of this I keep seeing and hearing about in the Church (the church in general) involves husbands and wives. I’ve heard of many churchgoers, pastors, and church staff that steal husbands or wives in the congregation.
As an attendee, this is a horrible violation of trust, family, and the kingdom of God. However, if you’re a Pastor who’s done this, it’s worse. In James 3:1 it’s written that you will be judged more strictly because you’re a leader.
God has never told anyone, that another man’s wife is actually yours. It goes against everything the Bible says.
Stop breaking up families, you’re selfish and need to repent. Don’t choose hell, because you’re headed there if you continue in sin.
Everything Needs A Confirmation
Confirmation is a silly word for me to write about, and if God is telling you to talk with a certain person, don’t bother. Just do it. However for big decisions like marriage, jobs, schooling, etc. It’s a good idea to seek out confirmation.
My example for this is kinda painful, but in Christian society, this really happens. When I was in ministry school a friend told me a story about an incident he had in college with a girl he was friends with. One day she outright told him they were meant to be. It was their destiny to be married.
Hearing God’s Voice From Others Through Confirmation
My first reaction did he lead her on, or give her some emotional connection he shouldn’t have? (Usually, in those circumstances someone misreads a comment or doesn’t pick up on social cues)
He responded by telling me that she was just a friend, they’d never gone out, and he never spent time alone with her. However, she continued to insist that God had told her.
He was legitimately freaked out. So he went home and prayed about it for a couple of days. He continued to ask God if she was the one. Since there was never an audible voice and he didn’t have feelings for her, it didn’t make sense to move forward.
It was one of the toughest conversations he’d ever had, and when he told her that it wasn’t going to happen. She stormed away, and it ruined their friendship.
If God is going to speak something like that to you, don’t you think he’d say the same thing to the other person? There are a lot of factors when the will of God involves one person. But when it involves two, the waters get murky. That’s why getting confirmation is the best way to go.
Devils Advocate; God’s Voice
The next few paragraphs are all what-ifs from the above situation. They do not contain anything God has spoken to me, I just like running hypotheticals. I’m writing them here because I only heard 1 side of the story, and didn’t hear hers. There might be a lot left out, and even my friend didn’t know it.
That’s why hearing God’s voice clearly and concisely is so important. Without hearing him, how are you going to be transformed?
Did she Actually Hear God’s voice? Yes/No She was a Christian studying for pastoral ministry. It’s possible.
Could God have told her but not him, and she spoke too soon, damaging the timing and that forced the whole thing off. (random hypothetical)
Maybe he was distracted, and God did speak to him.
His heart was rebellious and he disobeyed God.
I don’t really agree with any of my above sentences, mainly because God’s Will is very fluid.
It’s why the Holy Spirit convicts us. If their hearts were following God, and they made a mistake. I’d like to believe the Holy Spirit would get to work transforming and speaking the will of God to them.
However, if the voice of God was speaking and it was ignored, then there’s a need for repentance.
Our Logic Stops Us From Hearing God’s Voice
I’ve always had a problem with Vulcan logic from Star Trek. If you’re unfamiliar with Star Trek or Vulcans, you’ll know that they have stifled their emotions so they can focus on the logic.
This is a majorly flawed concept. There are many times in life when we need our emotions and need to make emotional decisions without logic.
Keep in mind I’m not saying emotions are better than logic, or vice versa. I think we need balance, and when we lose balance, we won’t be hearing God’s Voice as well. If at all.
Our voices can scream so loud, that they crowd out his still small voice.
Whenever I go to pray, I remove all distractions and do some breathing exercises. I’ll start out with some praise and worship music (to get my heart in the right mindset) and move into what I’m praying for.
However, I always try to end with a time of silence. This is where I shut up, quiet my heart, and try to hear what he’s speaking to me.
It’s a lot easier said than done. Sitting in a quiet room, not asking questions, but expecting answers. Seems illogical to me, but it works.
Emotions Distract Us From Hearing God’s Voice
Have you noticed it’s really hard hearing God’s voice when feeling intense emotions? I know that I have, in fact, I’ll take matters into my own hands during this process. In my younger years, I had issues with this, however now I see the warnings, and know that I have to focus. So I take a deep breath, close my eyes for a second, and calm down.
In life, you’ll find yourself experiencing every emotion possible. There are many times that I find myself enamored and lost. This is where logic comes in. I’ll sit myself down, and look at the issue. Oftentimes I’ll ask myself if it makes sense. On the flip side, if I’m looking at a ton of details, and plans. I’ll take a step back, look into my heart, and see what I feel about it.
This is how you keep balance because intense emotions can stop you from hearing God’s voice, and logic will stifle it as well.
How Can I Quiet My Mind?
I’ve cried a lot in prayer, and I’ve yelled at God in prayer too. I’m usually hearing God’s voice the loudest, and the clearest when I’m quiet and focused on him.
Our emotions don’t stop God’s voice, but they do drown it out. If you’re involved in an intense or emotional situation, cry out to God. He will hear you, and you will get an answer. Just not in your timing.
When Elijah the prophet fled from the prophets of Baal. He went to Mt. Horeb for protection. He also went to the place he knew that God would be speaking. In the verses of the story, there is a storm, but it says God was not in the storm. Instead, it says God spoke after the storm, in a still and small voice.
I think we should take that to heart, silence our hearts, and start hearing God’s voice.
How You Can Start Hearing God’s
There are many different ways that God will speak to us, I’m pretty sure he’s always speaking. We won’t shut up and listen.
I’ve made a little list, of hearing God’s voice, but I know others might hear him differently. Comment below, if you agree, disagree, or have something to add.
There are a lot of ways God speaks, so this list is by no means exhausted. I might even add some ways he speaks to me.
First and foremost, God will speak to his people through the words in the Bible. Hearing God’s voice is only a few pages away. Whenever I can’t hear his voice another way. I retreat to this book because he’s always speaking there.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been struggling, and I’ve opened the Bible, only to see exactly what I needed in a verse I’ve read 100 times before.
Impressions And Heart Direction
This one is hard to explain, but sometimes I’ll get an idea, that I know didn’t come from me. Or I’ll have an impression that just sticks, and it is proven right in the long run. It’s sort of a bland way of describing it, but I know it’s God.
You know when God is speaking to you, because it’s a thought that didn’t originate with you, and there’s something spiritually inside you, speaking the truth.
If you’ve never felt this, ask yourself why? Have you let yourself be opened to God’s voice? Have you asked God to speak to you? Do you spend time in prayer?
(editor note weigh everything you hear from God with the Bible Make sure things line up)
Highlighting – (A Sterling Term)
I started calling this term highlighting a decade ago. I’ve met a few others who’ve had the same experience where God will do this to them too.
I’ll walk into a room full of people, and one person somewhere is all of a sudden highlighted. It’s the only way I can describe it, but they are singled out, and I know I have to speak with them.
It’s like a giant column of light extends down from heaven, engulfing them.
Through highlighting, I’ve met one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had. Another time, I helped encourage a kid who was depressed and teased mercilessly. I’ve seen this happen no more than 10 times in my life, but every time it’s changed my life, and other persons.
How You Can Start Hearing God’s Voice Everyday
When you’re not hearing God’s voice, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, focus on him. If you keep losing focus. Open the Bible and read about Jesus. Below are a couple of tips I use, when I’m trying to hear God’s voice.
Always Put my phone, computer, and any other electronics into DnD or Airplane mode (Do Not Disturb)
I usually try and start out with bible reading. I do this to help clear my heart/mind and get focused. There have been many times I’ve read a few verses and then God spoke to me then or later on about those particular verses.
I play music, it can be praise and worship, but I also use electronica without words. Don’t let the music be a hindrance, there are some things I won’t play. Mainly Fun Songs I get lost singing too. Let the music help and guide you.
I spend time focusing, and praying before I try to listen. It helps empty my heart and prepare it for hearing.
Have something to write on. I use my phone and write what God is speaking to me, but if that’s a distraction notepad work just as well.
Compare what God speaks to your heart with the Bible, and with what you’ve heard him say in the past. Common sense can help you a lot here.
Hearing God’s Voice Is Difficult
It’s difficult because we aren’t used to it. My theory (and it’s a theory) stems from us being born again. Man (generalized mankind term) is a 3-part being. We are spirit, soul, and body.
When man sinned our spirit died, and we lived with a soul and a body. Then Jesus died on the cross, and we were able to be born again. Restoring our spirit, and becoming. the beings we were created to be.
Now we’re learning how about hearing God’s voice. It’s like a sense that we’ve never used before. How do babies learn to use their feet or hands? Do they understand taste, smell, sight, or hearing? No, they don’t, but in time, they learn about these senses. I believe the same thing happens spiritually with us. It’s a skill we need to develop and train, but it grows as we learn and mature in Christ.
That doesn’t mean non-Christians aren’t hearing God’s voice. I’m not sure how it all works together, but I know they can. How else could God draw them in?
Keep in mind the above is a theory, Jesus is my lord, the way and he died and rose again for you and me. Ultimately that’s what matters. My theory above could be completely wrong, even if it makes sense to me now.
Sterling grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid he loved skateboarding but mostly did street riding. He injured his ankle badly when he dropped into his first half pipe. His skateboarding slowed down after that, but he still loved the sport. While in his 20's he needed to make a change, so he did some world traveling with a motivational speaking group. Through it all, he visited 46 states and 3 continents and eventually lived in Mississippi. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the state. He jumped into the fray, helping mobilize support for the evacuees of New Orleans & The Gulf Coast. During the aftermath he helped run a shelter and drove food & medical supplies to affected areas by truck. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, runs his snowboard shop, and shreds Vail Whenever he can.