How do I know when God is speaking to me?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that God is going to provide us with a burning bush to deliver His message. But, God still speaks today. When He does, you may begin to ask questions. Is God speaking or are these just my desires?  Am I hearing God’s voice or just the voices of those around me? How can we know the difference?

We could play superstitious games by asking God to respond in a certain way as confirmation. But, the Bible gives little indication that pulling flower petals off a daisy or even relying on circumstances alone are the best ways to hear from God. God has given us clear instructions and tools to discern His voice and prompting.

If you feel God is speaking to you, check that message against these three things:

1. The Bible

There doesn’t have to be a choice between our desires and God’s. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”While this is true, we can still be swayed by our sinful nature. We must guard against our deceitful desires through God’s Word. God will not reveal to you a next step that contradicts what the Bible says. If you feel like God has spoken to you individually, see if it accords with how God has already spoken universally in the Bible and allow His Word to be a light to your path (Psalm 119:105)

2. Holy Spirit

God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us understand His Word and to help us obey it. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us and will not lead us to disobey Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and be receptive to His internal prompting.

3. Community

God speaks through the community of believers. Hebrews 3:12-13 shows us that Christ followers should help protect one another from the “deceitfulness of sin”. Sometimes others can see things we haven’t seen yet. If you feel God has spoken to you, seek out wise advice and guidance from Christians you trust and admire their integrity. If what you feel you’ve heard is not confirmed by anyone around you, you may need to continue to seek the Lord and test your motives.

In scripture, we see God speak in a number of ways including an audible voice, visions, dreams, and even through a donkey. God can and does speak in miraculous ways but that does not mean He can’t or doesn’t speak through normal means. We can expect Him to amaze us but that doesn’t mean we should not use the tools He has already provided for us to hear His guidance and voice. He will speak and we can trust that His guidance will never contradict what He has already revealed in the Bible.

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