Hearing God’s Voice
A Lakesider recently wrote to me and shared that she was listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit in her life. She wondered how she could know it was the Holy Spirit’s voice. People who are on the journey from discovering to fully following Jesus are people who are growing in their ability to hear and respond to God’s voice, so I thought I would address this question.
When you place your faith in Jesus, we believe that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life. One Bible author describes this as “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” I love that language because it speaks to me of a present reality, and a future even greater reality. Jesus told his followers that the Holy Spirit would be with them and in them, and would teach, remind, and guide them. The Bible’s book of John chapters 14, 15, 16 will share much more about this if you wish to learn more.
As a follower of Jesus, you can have confidence that the Holy Spirit is guiding you. However, there will be another voice, a competing voice that you will hear trying to be louder and more persuasive than the voice of the Holy Spirit. That is the voice of the enemy, and we should learn to detect and reject this voice.
1. Lies. The enemy is a liar. When a voice rings in your mind that you are not smart enough, or worthy enough, or holy enough, or that you are a failure, those are lies.
2. Temptation. The enemy is a tempter whose voice says, “you need it” or “you deserve it” or “it isn’t a big deal” or “no one will know.” Temptation can be dressed up so much that it is extremely difficult to resist, but you CAN resist it.
Join the resistance movement and completely reject the voice of the enemy in your life. Do not give any place for lies and temptation in your life, but rather, listen to God’s voice.
3. The voice of life. Jesus promised life – even life beyond this life – to his followers. Do you hear a voice that speaks of joy, openness, transparency, hope, truth, and more of God in your life? Learn to hear this voice!
4. The voice of love. Love God. Love others. These four words summarize the Christian life. Listen for the voice that speaks to us of others-centred love.
And finally, remember this as you seek to discern God’s voice.
5. Test. Test the voice you are hearing against how God is revealed in the Bible. Are there any clear contradictions? Test the voice with a trusted Christian friend. Do they confirm this as from God, or not? Do you have an inner peace about this direction? God is not the author of confusion in your life. When you are still not sure, be patient. Let yourself be in God’s waiting room as you sort through His direction for your life
Executive Pastor, Lakeside Church