I’ll say it again – a word from God is precious. It’s a lamp for our feet, a light for our paths, truth, life, awesome, guidance, preservation, strength, correction, encouragement, and hope – and this is just from Psalm 119.
But how can you know that you’ve heard from God? For that matter, does God even speak to people?
Well, I believe God does speak to people. I believe that he does it in historically demonstrable ways. And I believe that you can know when God has spoken to you.
Where’s the checklist?
Many posts like this would continue on with a checklist of things you could look for – a checklist that you might be able to use to weigh out a word that a prophet has spoken. Or to weigh out a sense of direction or purpose in your life and so on.
I would like to start with a few ground rules but I don’t want that to be the focus of this post or of your interaction with God’s voice.
- A word from God will not contradict the counsel of Scripture
- A word from God will glorify God, not you or somebody (or something) else
- A word from God is true and will come true
But here’s where I want to focus my energy:
The key to being able to understand whether you’ve heard from God is to know the voice and nature of God. In short, to know God. This will take an investment of time in prayer, Bible study, and relationship with other followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
These three elements are interwoven in such a way that they are difficult to dissect. They form a living, dynamic feedback loop that increases your knowledge of God. You become simultaneously more familiar with the Holy while increasing your awe of his nature (if I can momentarily debase him with the word “nature”).
As you grow in study, prayer, and fellowship, you begin to understand what God has said in his written word. You know what he’s already said, the kinds of things he says, how he says them, and how they impact you and others. You see the way Jesus modeled the will of the Father and how others model the will of Jesus. You begin to know the voice of the Holy Spirit through the Bible, through personal revelation, and through the words and lives of others as he reveals Jesus to you and convicts you of sin. You begin to know God.
And as you grow in the knowledge of God – as he becomes simultaneously more familiar and awesome – you begin to know the voice of God. You begin to be able to understand when God is speaking and what he is saying. And you begin to follow more closely.