How to Recognize when God Speaks

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Sometimes, one of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to distinguish the voice of God from your own. Newer Christians would often have trouble with this question, but separating the voice of the soul and Spirit can be difficult for even the most veteran Christ follower. I’m not certain who said it first, but the best rule of thumb I’ve ever heard is, if you want to hear God speak, read the bible; if you want to hear God speak out loud, read the bible out loud. With that being said, and being the realist that I am, I know most Christians sadly don’t read God’s Word as often as they should (free advice: you should start). So, how do we recognize God’s voice without reading his Word? We would all love to physically hear God’s voice, but Christians don’t audibly need to hear the voice of God, since we’re imparted with the Holy Spirit. The bible describes God sometimes speaking with a still, small voice or a whisper. This whisper, when given by means of the Holy Spirit inside us, comes in loud and clear if you know when and where to listen. In my daily walk with Christ, I’ve found there are 7 main ways God speaks to his children. I’m certain, if one practices awareness of these points, he or she will easily distinguish the voice of God versus their own.

Silence:

Generally, we forget communication between two parties can be verbal or nonverbal. In this technique, God uses nonverbal cues to tell us something. Spoiler alert: this way is typically not a good sign. Here’s why. Have you ever received or have given someone the silent treatment? Husbands and wives can attest, when one’s getting this type of treatment, something is seriously wrong between both parties. Without saying a word, the significant other knows there’s an issue that needs to be fixed. It’s the same message in God’s reasoning. God’s lack of communication is telling us something is wrong and that we need to fix the issue. The vast majority of the time, the problem between us and God is usually a sin we’ve let get out of control, leading us astray. With this silence, God is saying to get rid of the sin, repent, and turn back to him. Contrarily, if there’s no spiritual conviction or sins one’s battling, the silence could mean you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and God’s giving you some room to work with; like a boss giving space to a trusted worker. If that’s the case, keep doing what you’re doing and Christ will give you new direction in time.

Random Urges of Good:

Have you ever been going about your day and suddenly a random thought to do something nice for someone strikes? If so, this was most likely the Holy Spirit leading you to do so. Pay careful attention to these thoughts; they’re very brief, and if not acted upon quickly, we change our minds. Don’t let this happen or you’ll lose your chance to bless someone. For example, not long ago my son and a friend’s son had a play date. After it was over, I dropped the boy back off to his parents. Once the boy was inside, I began to return to my vehicle but had a sudden urge to leave money with the mother. I settled on an amount but didn’t want to give the money to her directly, because I felt she would refuse. So I decided to leave the twenty-dollar bill in a shoe on her porch. When I returned home, I text her and told her about the money. A few minutes later I got a phone call and she was in tears while detailing how she didn’t have enough gas to make it to work the next morning and was stressing out. By obedience to my random urge of good, the Lord blessed this woman through me, and it was a good feeling. Acts 20:35 says, it’s more of a blessing to give than to receive. I believe it’s true. I personally love this form of communication from my Heavenly Father, because I become a blessing to others while knowing I’m still in tune with him. It’s a win/win scenario. Just be aware, these random urges of good are not always monetary. They can be anything from giving a person a ride, opening the door for someone, mowing a persons lawn, to something big like paying a strangers bill. If it’s a good thought, it’s from God.

Aftermath:

We could also called this language of God After-effects, but I understand the word Aftermath is typically associated with negative connotations, which better fits this example. In this type of nonverbal communication, God speaks out in a seemingly negative event, like a hardship, but finishes it as a blessing. For example, I have a friend that was in a financially difficult part of his life. He and his wife were struggling at their wit’s end trying to keep current their monthly bills. Just when they believed life couldn’t get any harder, he was fired from his job, and they were fighting not to give up. When all seemed lost, out of nowhere he received a phone call for a job offer he applied to nearly a year before. This new position came with higher wages and better benefits for him and his family. In this form of language, God is telling his children “I’ve got this.” Romans 8:28 says, all things work together for good to them that love God. At first it seemed like God wasn’t there during the storm, but only after did God show he was moving him and his family to something greater. If you find yourself in a trial, tribulation or storm, and at the end you realize it was for the better, it’s probably God showing you he’s in control.  We don’t know the future, but thankfully or Lord and Savior does. When our life spins into chaos, and it seems like all hope is lost, when the dust settles, pay attention to the Aftermath and I’m sure you’ll find God speaking to you through it all. Christ is telling us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).”

Answered Prayers:

This type of communication is the most obvious, yet it’s the most taken for granted. Too many times Christians treat God like a magical genie that grants wishes, and then shove him back into the lamp until we need him again. This is not the type of relationship Christ wants for his children. From an earthy standpoint, would you want your child to only speak to you when they want something? No. Soon you would grow tired of their one-sidedness and eventually restrict your relationship with them. It’s the same with God. There’s little more frustrating than an ungrateful child. Acknowledge and remember when God answers your prayers. Not only is he speaking to you through the “yes” answer, he’s telling you he’s with you and you’re loved. Thankfulness goes a long way with people and with God, and with thanks, God will continue to speak. Everyone loves a person that’s truly appreciative of their help. The bible says to give thanks always to God. When you do, you’re speaking back to him, and he loves that.

Whispers:

This form of communication from God comes straight from the Holy Spirit inside you directly to your conscious mind. It’s the rarest, but most powerful method used by God today. We hear testimonies of this, and they usually go like “something told me to…” or “something said to…” do this or do that. This something was a whisper from the Holy Spirit. These whispers usually come when God needs to you act immediately, and doesn’t need to teach you a lesson from it. They are sudden instructions that can be anything from taking a new route, to giving you an ominous feeling to leave. For example, one night, my sister was escorted home by a sheriff and was frantic over a frightening experience. Her and a few friends were camping overnight at a lake. They decided to go for a quick supply run, and when they began to drive down the dark winding streets around the lake, they noticed they were being followed. Naturally, they took a few turns here and there to confirm their suspicion, but by the time they realized they were indeed being followed, my sister and her girlfriends were already lost down pitch dark back roads. Quickly, they became panic-stricken as non of their cell phones had signal in that area and the vehicle behind them began to drive more aggressively to get them to stop. Just when the situation seemed most dire, my sister said “something told me to turn right, NOW!” So, going well above safe turning speed, she whipped her car immediately right, and almost ran into a sheriff parked with his lights off in the middle of nowhere. They jumped out the car and ran to the sheriff just as the follower turned around and sped away. God knew where this sheriff was parked and whispered to my sister to turn in the exact moment she needed, otherwise, she would have driven right by and continued in danger. This is a perfect example of when Christ speaks in whispers. They are sudden urges of the Holy Spirit within you to act, to speak, or for you to stay away. This is an important reason why Christians must stay in tune with God and build a solid relationship, because, the closer we are to Christ, the easier for us to hear his whisper.

Spiritual Anxiety:

Every Christian experienced this form of communication when they first received Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was felt when God called you to the altar or called you to repent. At first, you were scared to walk down the aisle or raise your hand, but the anxiety of not making the decision to follow Christ outweighed your fear of what others might think. Remember that feeling, because God will continue to use it to speak throughout our walk with him. Anxiety has triggers, which means, when we feel this spiritual anxiety, it usually precedes an important decision. The decision being the trigger. For example, one evening I was on my way home from work when I saw a man walking. Immediately, I felt a Random Urge of Good nudge within my spirit. Note: Sometimes God will combine forms of communication. Once, I felt it, I ignored it and kept driving. The moment I passed him, I felt this overwhelming anxiety within my spirit to turn around. So I did, but again I talked myself out of it and drove past him. This went on three times before I finally listened to God and stopped. I can definitively say that this Spiritual Anxiety is what kept turning me around, because I couldn’t bear the weight each time I drove past. This type of communication is usually associated with a decision of “to do, or not to do,” and as I said before, it can often be in conjunction with an act of good. Or, it could be a huge life-changing decision and God gives us this anxiety to tell us to consult him first before we decide. One of the best things about this type of communication from God is that, no matter what decisions you make, good or bad, you still know God spoke. Here’s how. This example was before I began to truly recognize when God speaks, so once I finally listened and stopped to give the man a ride, he was gone. I drove around for at least 30 minutes looking but never found him. The regret I felt for missing an assignment from God ate at me for days. I felt like I failed a test, which I did. Here’s the good news. Even in this failure, I received comfort in my spirit to cheer up and be happy I at least experienced the weight of the Holy Spirit. I made a point to remember that feeling in order to make sure I recognized the next time God spoke to me. Take my advice; it’s always better to listen the first time, or the anxiety will turn into regret.

“Coincidences”:

This section is in quotations for a reason. I make the statement often that there’s no such thing as coincidences. It’s a word used by the world to take credit away from God and his perfect plans. The bible says, from the beginning, before we were born, God knew us and made a plan for our lives. Therefore, nothing happens in our lives by chance. Once we realize this, God’s voice, and his purpose for our lives becomes all too clear. I personally have noticed that this is the most chosen form of communication God uses to speak in my life, and once you practice acknowledging these, it may become yours as well. To give an idea, my wife and I have gone through our fair share of financial troubles. On multiple occasions, after our tithe was in, our bills paid, and our vehicles filled, we’d scrape together what money we had left over (including our change) to buy what we needed in groceries. We’d go to the store with random numbers like $88.72 or $92.84, and after we chose everything we needed to get until next payday, our total receipt would come out to close numbers like $88.71 or $92.82. Just a cent or two off each time. Now, I can see how someone would look at this and say “it’s just a coincidence,” but this happened week after week. These “coincidences” were God telling us he’s there in our financial storm, taking care of us, and giving us everything we need, and nothing we don’t. When God’s plans fall into place but we blow them off as coincidences, we miss the voice of God. Nothing happens by chance. Pay attention, and you’ll start to recognize each time Christ speaks this way.

As Christians, we need to stop believing there’s only one way to hear the voice of God. We are limiting our unlimited God. While the bible is by far the most effective and beneficial tool to use, knowing and recognizing these 7 ways God also speaks will elevate your communication and connection with Christ to a whole new intimate level. I encourage you to not only memorize these, but look out for them every moment in your daily walk with Christ. You will be happy you did.

Thanks for reading.

Feel free to let me know if these help you out!

13 thoughts on “How to Recognize when God Speaks

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  1. Clicking in after seeing Pastor Matt reblog your post. This is excellent. I don’t normally take the time to read 2000 words, but I read each of yours. Thank you for confirmation in the 7 ways. Thank you!

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  2. Thank you. This is a well written and easily understood post. Personal experience particularly when you are in circumstances where your own abilities cannot ‘solve’ the problem is when I personally have known the Voice I heard not in my ear but clearly in my heart left me no doubt it was not of my ‘thinking’ . In a lifetime many experiences of learning and being led have occurred. The one that will be with me forever was when I was washing up and I clearly heard the Spirit speak……’Go to town. Go to town now!. My reaction ‘I have no reason to travel 30 minutes to town. Nothing to buy no reason. Why should I go to town?’ No answer. But for the next 1/2 hour I wandered aimlessly around until I finally not very graciously got in the car and drove to town. The journey is a blur but what I will remember forever is the sight of my dearest friend in the car-park when I moved towards the big complex entrance. She ran into my open arms. ‘I have been praying’ she said. ‘I asked God to bring you.’ ‘The cancer has returned and I KNOW I am soon to go home to HIM.’ “Bring Faye’ was all I could say. We shared a cuppa and talked. It was a rich time of friendship and laughter. She was only 49 when she left us ALL. Her legacy of faith lives on. Oh wonderful is the faith we share as believers when He alone can speak to the RELUCTANT and ‘least likely’ to fulfill His Perfect Love for one of His Children.

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