I have become pretty comfortable using language that I “heard from God” or “The Spirit said to me…” But they are not words I take lightly. I know many people struggle with discerning when The Spirit is speaking to them. Some wonder if it’s even possible.
And if God is to be my Shepherd, my Coach, how do I know what He sounds like?
First, let us be assured that we CAN know His voice. That He desires that we do, and that He will keep pulling us closer until we know that we know that we know it is Him.
For a shepherd comes through the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice and come to him; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He walks ahead of them; and they follow him, for they recognize his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run from him, for they don’t recognize his voice. (John 10: 3-5)
I have learned, over time, that hearing from God, for me, often involves goose bumps, tears, or other emotional reactions. When my HEART is pierced by a message, it’s usually The Spirit.
It also has a hush to it. Even if it comes through loud and clear, His voice silences the others. Everything else vanishes. It’s almost slow-motion.
One of my friends told me she sometimes hears a game-show style “ding, ding, ding” when she’s supposed to pay attention. I love that.
Because God is so very personal, you will hear Him in your own way, so I asked some other friends to share their insights. Perhaps you’ll find yourself in one of these.
* The voice is always a good thought, idea, or word. It usually comes from left field. Something that comes in (even interrupts) your thought process. He speaks in dreams, through others, and situations, and, of course, His Word!
* God always sends me a song when I’m going through hard times. The song might be sung at church, the radio, my music channel, or I might wake up singing it. I’ve learned to pay attention to a song that I wake up with…it will usually speak to a certain situation during the day.
* God speaks to us in ways very specific to us and in terms we understand. It isn’t the voice of James Earl Jones, but it sounds like me (my voice) yet smarter and wiser. It is a direction, revelation, encouragement, hope, conviction (not condemnation). It is courage, boldness, or abandonment. It is the opposite of a flesh that would otherwise give council to guard, protect, attack, quit, defend, judge… The voice of God in me is not selfish or self-centered. The voice of God always benefits someone other than me. Yes, it’s through dreams, visions, other people, but also it is in me, in my inner most being — my gut if you will. I know the character of God therefore I know the voice of God. And He is way nicer than I am!
So how does this work when it comes to approaching God with each decision? Even each food decision.
For me, God has set some basic rules. Eat only when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. He sets other standards that aren’t moment-by-moment negotiable — like staying Sugar Sober for these 31 Days.
But most everything else is situational and individualized.
It may sound absurd, but I do, in fact, look for his signals on very specific food choices.
A Diet Coke today may not be suitable tomorrow. Which is the better breakfast choice — oatmeal or chicken biscuit? It depends. Where should I go for lunch? Should I have a second helping?
I ask, and He is faithful to answer.
Then the decision is not about nutrition or diet plans or the knowledge of men — it becomes only about one thing.
Will I obey?
Please don’t get me wrong. God is not a Magic 8 ball to which I can ask a question and shake for an answer. He’s FAR TOO INTIMATE for that.
But He DOES speak. About Every.Single.Little.Thing.
When we listen.
How do you discern God’s voice? Please share in the comments, reply on Facebook, or send me an email.
In response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.
PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.