My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.—John 10:27
Our worlds and minds are noisy places. In the midst of all the clamor about politics, pandemics, policies and prophecy, it can be hard to discern God’s voice. Is that voice we’re hearing from God, or does it have another source? We can apply several tests to help us discern the difference.
- God’s voice will never contradict His word. This is a key consideration. God will never tell you to worship someone else, give up altogether on church, have relations outside of marriage, abuse substances, harm people around you, or propagate hate. First John 4:1 commands us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Let His word be your plumb line.
- God is the author of order. Satan is the author of confusion. First Corinthians 14:33 tells us, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” If the word you believe you’ve heard leaves you reeling, it’s very possible it’s not from the Lord.
- God’s word brings conviction. Satan brings condemnation. Second Corinthians 7:10 tells us, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” And Romans 8:1 tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Conviction from the Lord comes from a place of love with the intent of restoring us. But condemnation from the enemy of our souls comes from a place of discouragement and hopelessness. Satan wants you to believe you’re beyond redemption. God wants you to know He has paid the price of your redemption and, in return, desires your whole heart. He tells us in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commands.”
- God often confirms His will for our lives through divinely orchestrated circumstances, His word and people around us. Sometimes God hits us upside the head by putting a specific Bible verse before us that confirms what He spoke to our hearts. Sometimes He weaves together a situation that can only come from Him. Sometimes He’ll arrange providential meetings or opportunities, and sometimes He’ll confirm what He has said to our hearts through the mouths of people around us, especially our loved ones. Be watchful and attentive.
It may help to journal about times when you think you’re hearing from God. Record the date of when you believe you heard His voice, and then record and date the ways He has either confirmed or disproved that leading.
Ask Him for clarity. Seek His wisdom. His voice may come like a thunder, or it may come as a whisper. As Aslan encouraged the Pevensie children when they entered their heavenly home, so Jesus encourages us today: “Come further up, come further in!” Listen carefully for His voice, and follow it wherever He leads.