Have you ever wondered if what you just heard in your head is the Holy Spirit or it is just your thought?
Most times, you heard people say ’something tells me to do this’ which can turnout to a positive end but what about those times that the ‘something’ tells you to do something and the outcome wasn’t favorable?
There are times you will think God is directing you to do something or in a particularly way but after awhile you will see it’s not God. Of a truth, it can be difficult at times to discern between God’s voice and your voice.
How can you then tell the difference between the voice of God and your thoughts?
First, let reestablished that God do speak and He do speak to His children but one of the reason why we don’t get to discern is that we except Him to speak in a certain way and understanding how the Holy spirit speaks is the key to discernment.
There are numerous ways God have spoken in the scripture and He can choose any to speak to you but for the sake of the subject matter, I will discuss only 3 ways to help you discern if it’s God’s voice or your thoughts.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is rofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
One of the sure way God speaks to His people is through His Word. If you want to hear from God, open your bible. If you are serious about hearing the voice of God, then you need to be serious about reading the word because once you understand the Word, it’s easier to discern the voice of God and your thoughts.
I put it this way that the bible is the written voice of God as its captures the essence, the way and the mind of God. And if you want to hear the audible voice of God, you must first of all know and obey the written voice.
Many of us are waiting to hear God through prophecy and once it’s not forthcoming, we are thrown into confusion. Yet the word of God is the sure word of prophecy.
As simple as you see this, the Word is the most accurate and primary way to hear the Holy Spirit and in-turn guides our day to day activities. The early you begin to study the Word, the early you begin to master the ways of God and know the thoughts of God.
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Why do you want to hear God’s voice? Simply for direction and guidance, now when you are a student of the word, you would have learnt about stories, direct instructions in the bible that bare-open the mind of God concerning issues and this leads to wisdom.
The more you study the word, the more you acquire wisdom to live (knowing the right thing to do and say in every situation in alignment with the mind of God). When you are faced with making decisions, you will easily recall the stories, the verses and they will guide you in making the right decisions and in alignment to the mind of God.
If you have the word, you have God’s inspired wisdom which is helpful in discerning the truth from lies. Unfortunately, most believers suffer in confusion silently, ‘what step should I take?’, ‘Should I relocate?’, ‘Should I marry him?’, seeking and waiting to hear God’s voice when God had actually provided answers in the scripture. Most of the things, we wait on God for to speak on are provided for in the passages of the bible (He has already given you what to do already). The Holy Spirit will always guide you through with what you know in the bible.
So hearing God clearly starts with the Word. When you needed to hear God’s voice concerning a matter, ask yourself what do the bible say on this?
Hebrew 1:1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world…”
The coming of Jesus into this world was very significant because He also came to show us who the Father is (the character of God) apart from the work of salvation.
The more you dedicate your time to study His words and teachings in the bible, you will begin to know the character, ways and mind of God, which is really helpful to discern the truth from lies.
I got a golden advice from a woman long time ago, “wherever Jesus will not go, don’t go. Whatever Jesus will not do, don’t do and whatever Jesus will not say, don’t say.” So I do ask myself, what will Jesus do in this situation? How will Jesus respond to this issue and what character will Jesus put out in this situation.
When what you hear does not conform to the character or God and not in agreement with the Word, it’s a pointer that it’s not from God because God cannot contradict Himself.
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
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The whisper and the audible voice
God is the one that made the mouth and He truly do speak verbally and He can choose to speak to His children in a vocal way through the Holy Spirit. So sometimes as a believer, when we say something tells me’, the something is the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit.
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”.
A gentle whisper is a specific direct instruction dropped into the seat of your heart. While the audible voice is to hear a voice not from within you but as if someone is talking to you. The voice is so audible that it seems its coming from outside. And you will agree with me that this is the main way that most believers expected God to talk to them.
When believers say they are waiting to hear God’s voice concerning an issue, this is what they refer to and this has led to the frustration of many because God may not speak in this way but chose to guide them through the written voice.
The danger of the whisper and audible voice is that your emotions for the day can interfere with it. The desired outcome as you wanted it, may be so strong that it may interfere with it. The outcome you wanted may block out the whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Now notice the way I arranged it; it starts with the Word that leads to wisdom to guide us in every issues, to knowing the character of God through studying the life and teachings of Jesus then to hearing the whisper and the audible voice.
You must fundamentally live by the Word and superficially live by the whisper and audible voice. If you try to reverse it and try to live by whisper and the audible, you will walk in error.
Now that you have understood how God speaks, how will you then know if it was God’s voice and not your thoughts?
- God’s voice will never contradict His word.
- God’s voice will never contradict His Character
- God’s voice will always give assurance of peace even in the midst of trouble.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee”.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”
Anytime, ‘something tells you’, always examine it with the three perimeters: Was what I heard in alignment with God’s word? Is it different from the character of God or is it bringing fear and torment to my soul anytime I remember?
Anytime, you heard or saw (in dream or vision), always examine it with the three perimeters: is it in alignment with God’s word? Is it different from the character of God or is it bringing fear and torment to my soul anytime I remember?
Never forget that the Word is greater than I saw or I heard…
Note that God can chose to speak to His children in any way He deem fit and just because God speaks one way to your friend, doesn’t mean He’s going to speak to you in the same way. What I can tell you for sure is that understanding the Bible by reading and studying it often will help you determine if God truly is speaking to you.
I’m Olayinka Joseph
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