As a Christian you can hear God’s voice, because that is what God promises in His word: “he who is of God hears God’s words” (John 8:47). But in this day and age it could be difficult to tune in to God’s voice, with noise coming in from everywhere. The noise of other people’s opinion. Noise of social media trying to push you in a certain direction. The noise of culture and tradition. And the noise of your own desires, thoughts, and feelings. Information is literally coming from all sides, hemming you in and causing confusion in your mind. What should you listen to? Where do you go for advice for your daily struggles? If only you could hear God’s voice you would know what to do. But how do you do that? In which ways can you hear God’s voice? What are the manifestations of God’s voice?
How do you experience hearing God’s voice?
How to hear God’s voice
God wants you to hear His voice to enable you to have a deeper relationship with Him, to increase your faith, to provide guidance and direction, and to do His will. By allowing yourself to hear His voice, God can direct you anywhere He wants you to go and in His will. God speaks in several ways; He is not limited to one manifestation of His voice.
Everyone can experience the various manifestations of God’s voice; it is not for a particular kind of person. Once you are His child, have a personal relationship with Him, and listen to Him, He will manifest His voice to you.
Is there something you should do, to hear God’s voice? Yes. You should be available and listen actively. Being too busy or passive does not help you to hear God’s voice. And hearing alone is also not enough. You should pay attention to what He says, believe it, and subsequently act on it. That is putting your faith into action. That is what it takes to live based on hearing God’s voice and in the various manifestations it may come to you.
10 manifestations of God’s voice:
You can hear God’s voice in various ways by:
- A loud audible voice
- A still small voice
- Inner conviction
- His written Word
- His spoken Word
- Other Christians
Let me illustrate each of the ten manifestations of God’s voice with an example:
1) Loud audible voice
Several years back I joined a 30-days of fasting period in our church. I had fasted before, but never so long. I did a Daniel’s fasting: light meals only, no sugar, no meat. After some days we had a compulsory dinner at a restaurant, where someone shared a birthday cake. The cake had a sugary icing (which I love!). I took a bite of the cake and ate it. Then I watched the remaining piece on my plate and saw the sweet looking icing and anticipated its taste. I then remembered that I was fasting, a Daniel’s fasting to be precise, and was not supposed to eat sugar.
I contemplated for some time, and then took the cake and took another bite, including the attractive icing. What happened then still gives me the chills. I literally heard a loud voice behind me saying, “it is a sin”. I heard it! And I knew I was wrong. I was in complete shock and dropped the cake instantly. I then wondered how eating a cake could be a sin. God made me know that it was not the cake itself, but because I had made a covenant with God that I would not eat sugar, and I broke that covenant. I felt so bad.
2) Still small inner voice
You might have heard or experienced this still small voice many times, and even acted on it several times, whether you are aware of it or not. It feels like instinctively knowing what to do or what not to do. You do not hear this voice audibly, but you hear (sense) it in your heart, within your spirit. This still small voice gently leads you.
3) Inner conviction
This is when God’s Spirit bears witness with your spirit (Romans 9:1). This voice convicts you of sin. You feel this every time when you say or do something wrong (or are about to do that). Your inner conviction is sparked by God’s voice; He speaks, you feel. You could also have an inner conviction prompting you to do something or rather not. God leads with His Spirit through your spirit, to give you an inner conviction.
4) His written word (bible)
God speaks through His Word! It is His love letter to you, full of directions and guidance. He speaks to you through His written word. This is His general Word (Logos). Sometimes a certain portion of His Word appears completely new to you and fits exactly in your situation; that particular verse could even seem to light up in the Bible to you. You might have read that verse several times but in your moment of wanting to hear from God, He makes that word (verse) a revealed insight/message to you regarding what you hoped to hear God’s voice on. This is His specific Word (Rhema) for you. God is then speaking directly and specifically to you and your situation, through His written word.
5) His spoken word (preaching)
Another way that God speaks to you is through the spoken word, such as by listening to preaching. A full sermon or a specific portion just clicks in you and seems to be for you only. This is when God speaks directly to you, through a sermon.
I remember a testimony of a man who was struggling to take a decision to get baptized or not. He just did not know what to do and as a result he was not baptized. Then during a church service, the pastor all of a sudden deviated from the topic of his sermon and spoke about getting baptized. Instantly the man was convinced and after service he made the arrangements to get baptized. It then became clear to him that God wanted him to get baptized. He heard God’s voice through the preaching of the word, and he got clarity and direction to finally make the decision to be baptized.
God speaks through dreams. Dreams can be warnings or provide information. God did this, for example to Joseph. And I am sure you have experienced this as well. And many Muslims become born again through dreams. They see Jesus in their dreams. God speaks to them in their dreams when there is no other way for them to hear God’s voice.
God speaks through visions. An example is Acts 18:9-10, where God speaks to Paul in a vision. God instructs Paul not to be afraid but to boldly speak and assures him that He will protect him. As a result of this vision, Paul continued preaching at that specific place for one and a half years.
8) Through worship
God speaks directly to your heart during worship. Just open your heart and you will hear God’s voice during worship. A specific phrase in a song or the tune itself, could speak to your heart and your mind. For example, when you are afraid to take a step at your workplace, of which you know you have to do it, but fear seem to paralyze you. And then during church service the song “be bold” is ministered. You hear the words, and they just click in your heart: “be bold, be strong, for the Lord Your God is with you”. And instantly you receive the courage to do what you must do.
You can hear God’s voice when you pray. That is, once you attentively listen to Him and are not preoccupied with your prayer requests and thoughts. Prayer is a two-way conversation. You speak, God listens. God speaks, you listen.
Let’s say you need to make a decision in a difficult situation, and you do not know what to do. The decision you make will have consequences for the rest of your life. You then take it to God in prayer and ask Him to help you. While you lay your situation into His hands, you get a strong conviction of what to do. That is what happens when God speaks to your heart and provides confidence of what to do. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, “this is the way, walk in it,”, whenever you turn to the right hand, or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21).
10) Through other Christians
You can hear God’s voice through other Christians, and sometimes even through unbelievers. God is not limited to believers in speaking to you, He can use anyone. An example of hearing God’s voice through others is when someone gives you a word exactly befitting your situation or an encouraging word. People around you can also warn you or provide guidance. In all of this, it is God who speaks through them.
I remember a young lady who my husband and I interviewed for a job vacancy. My husband got a strong impression to talk to the girl and told her to “let go”. He did not know what it was about, but immediately the girl gripped on to what my husband said and told us what she was struggling with. That it was something which was preventing her to progress in life. But with the word/encouragement my husband gave her, she now knew what to do, she would “let go”.
The bottom line is God is not limited to our ways of communication.
The manifestations of God’s voice are not limited to our ways of communication. God may use any means to speak to you, he enables you to hear His voice in many ways. He is not limited to your communication ways. At the same time, if He wishes, He could use your communication channels.
Years back when my husband and I were in ‘rough water’ with our company and we just did not know what to do anymore, we started receiving emails in our corporate email inbox. An unknown sender (bearing a foreign name) started sending us daily encouraging emails. During the more though days we would get more emails in one day. One of those encouragements that I will never forget, was: “God can make greatness out of a great mess”. Well, yes, we found ourselves in a great mess that time. But His word provided us with the strength to go on.
How can you know if it is God’s voice and not another voice?
How can you be sure that it is God speaking and not the enemy or your own flesh? Can you be certain that the manifestations are God’s voice and not other voices? This is a crucial question, because if you listen to the wrong voice, you will make wrong decisions. If you hear the wrong voice, you will end up in a mess.
There are two things you should consider in discerning whether it is God’s voice or not. What you hear should:
- Be biblical.
- Give you inner peace.
When you hear ‘a voice’, you should:
- distinguish the enemy: God will not say anything which is opposite to His word. You must therefore compare what you hear with the Word of God.
‘Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God.”1 John 4:1.
- distinguish your flesh: Your flesh also has a voice. Check what you are hearing and be honest, then you will know the difference between your own desires and flesh, and God’s voice.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12
2) Inner peace
What you hear should give you inner peace. Even if what you hear is contrary to your circumstances, but you have inner peace, which is the confident assurance (unwavering belief) that you feel or have in God and His word about what you have prayed for even though outside circumstances or situations may show the opposite. That is whereas you should be feeling restless in your spirit, you feel rather calm within you. That is Inner peace and that means it is God speaking to you. If what you hear does not give you peace, it is not from God.
“Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”John 14:27
God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thought are not our thoughts. Similarly, God’s voice is not our voice. God manifests His voice in ways He chooses. The most important thing is that He lets us hear His voice. We must make ourselves available, and we will hear Him say:
“this is the way, walk in it,”, whenever you turn to the right hand, or whenever you turn to the left.”Isaiah 30:21b
Let us pray:
I am grateful Lord that I am Your child. You gave me ears to hear and a heart to understand Your voice. Thank You for making various manifestations of Your voice available, You are not limited to my ways. Lord, help me to clearly recognize the manifestations of Your voice and to acknowledge that it is You who is speaking to me. I open my ears and heart Lord, to truly hear You and discern Your voice among the many other voices around me. I make the decision to place Your voice above the voice of others and above my own voice. Thank You for manifesting Yourself in so many ways to me, I am profoundly grateful. Help me Lord, teach me Your ways, and guide me with Your voice. I cannot live without hearing Your voice. Let me understand Your ways Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
©2021; Christel Owoo
When you are interested to read more about this topic, then read my preceding blog, titled: “How to hear God’s voice”.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash