6 Essentials for Hearing God’s Voice (Is it His voice or Mine?)
Recently I was asked, “how do I know it’s Gods voice and not my own I’m hearing?” The simple answer is it takes time and dedication to discern God’s voice from our own. Over 2 decades ago I was determined to work out how I could tell if I was hearing from God, or not. What I came to experience was the difference between when my thoughts were His thoughts, and when my thoughts were my own thoughts. Along the way I made a number of mistakes. From those mistakes I’m now able to help you understand the process of discovering when your thoughts are His thoughts.
Essential Number One
Become okay with being wrong. If you have a predisposition with needing to be right the first time, this will be a slow boat you row. Get comfortable with rowing down this river gently, slowly and at ease. God is never in a hurry and He’s always on time. He knows what you need to know and when you need to know it. Your only aim during this part of the process is to be inquisitive. Was that God’s thought, or was that a thought I had for myself? Whether you’re right or wrong isn’t of life threatening importance just now. The greater priority is to become aware of being comfortable and not anxious. Actually, be excited, it’s a brand new adventure containing new discovery’s.
Essential Number Two
Listen to your thoughts and understand their rhythm. For example if your thoughts are always filled with anxiousness then a thought that comes through that is peaceful and redirects you to peace will be from God. We each have our own unique way of going about our day, about how we process thoughts about our day to day life. This alone is why you need to listen to your thoughts so you can increase your personal awareness. No one will know you like you know you, apart from God.
Essential Number Three
Set your intentions for the day. If you don’t set out with a plan to hear from the Lord you’ll just stay focused on your own thoughts and events for the day. If in the morning you set your aim to hear from God at least once, you’ll remember to listen to your thoughts and track what’s happening. It’s through setting the intention you’ll slow your thoughts down and listen for thoughts that are not your own.
Essential Number Four
At the beginning of teaching myself to listen to God I had a rule of three, then a rule of two. If a thought came 3 times that I knew wasn’t mine I assumed it was God and followed through with the actions the thought produced. Eventually, I disciplined myself to reduce it to if I’m hearing the thought twice then I’m going to take action. This develops a deeper and deeper trust between you and God because you’re stepping out in faith in Him that what you’re hearing is correct. It’s through taking these steps that God will broaden His vision for your life.
Essential Number Five
Hearing from God is the same as having a conversation with a friend. You need to leave room in your thoughts for God to speak. If there’s no room between your thoughts for God to speak then how are you going to hear Him? Teach yourself to slow your thoughts down, leave gaps, and let the peace that surpasses all understanding flood your soul. It was through being willing to have conversations with God that I came to understand how He speaks with me. That He is as close as the air I breathe.
Essential Number Six
When a thought is from God you will know because you couldn’t or wouldn’t have had this thought any other way. It’s a revelation to you, i.e. reveals new information that you’ve previously not been aware of. It’s not a logical consequence of a series of thoughts because you set your intention to hear from God. A set of logical thoughts that reach a logical outcome occur when you set your intent to find a solution. I always found myself saying “Oh, I would never have thought of that!”
The thoughts the Lord shares with you will always be edifying (providing moral, intellectual or spiritual instruction). Gods thoughts will never cause harm to yourself or any other individual. His thoughts will give you personal insight that no one else can if you’re prepared to be completely honest with yourself. They may take you down paths you’ve not thought of, but again, nothing that will ever hurt you or anyone else. One example of this is when the Lord advised me to change my studies to Theology. I spent a term doing Theology so that I could experience I’m not meant to do theology.
This example alone lets you know that the path you take may not always make sense. The experience, however, will bring clarity. Bottom line, we may not always know why God is directing our path a certain direction. It will become clearer throughout the experience.
Have courage, take the one next step, you may be scared out of your wits, but just take the one next step. One next step is all it takes to create a ripple in your life and land you someone different this time next year. I want to encourage you by leaving you with this example. Five years ago I began to listen to an international pastor. I had zero ideas why the Lord was directing my footsteps in this direction, none. I trusted Him that it would all work out. Now, five years down the track I’ve been equipped spiritually in an incredible manner that helps other people. Take the one next step because He will walk with you no matter what the next step is you take.
Blessings and dreams,
P.S. If you are a Christian reading your bible will help you get to know God’s nature more quickly, thereby enabling you to discern His voice more readily.