6 Ways to Discern God’s Voice

We all face situations where we just wish God would tell us exactly what to do.

But how do you know if it’s God speaking to you, just your own thoughts, or worse, the devil speaking to you?

How can you discern God’s voice and get His direction for your life?

Is there a way to know that it is God speaking and not just what you want to hear?

Why is hearing God’s voice so hard?

There are a few reasons it’s hard to hear from God.

  • We haven’t learned to be still and listen to God
  • We don’t believe it’s possible to actually hear from God
  • We don’t believe God could be bothered with our questions
  • We don’t realise how excited God is about speaking to us
  • There’s too much other noise going on, drowning out God’s voice
  • We don’t know God so don’t recognise His voice

The truth is, God does want to speak to you. In fact, He is ever sending messages to you. And it is possible to hear His voice. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and follow me.” The Bible is full of examples of people hearing from God and He hasn’t changed. He still wants to communicate with you today.

RELATED: How to hear from God in chaotic times

6 ways to know God’s voice from your own

It may be hard to recognise God’s voice at first, but there are ways to start learning to hear from Him and know that it is Him speaking to you.

1. Neutralise your will by surrendering it to God.

Have no will of your own in the matter. Are you willing to do whatever God says whether it’s this way, or that way? Surrendering your will allows God to step in and show you what His will is.

“No matter how much we desire God’s guidance in our lives, there is a danger that we will approach God without subdued spirits willing to obey whatever He shows us to do. If we do not neutralize our own wills, then we tend to use our cherished ideas and goals as a standard by which to judge impressions and thoughts. When we have a thought that is in harmony with our preconceived ideas, it is not hard for us to assume that is must be a message from God.”

Jim Hohnberger, Escape to God, 121

Another important reason to surrender to God is so that you do not act or “hear” according to your temperament:

“God’s will for me must not be made subject to my own temperament. When we know a man’s make-up it is often all too easy to guess what ‘guidance’ he will get, because his natural proclivities intrude so subtly upon the leading of God.

Too much so-called guidance among us is little more than personal bias. A timid brother is ‘guided’ to take a back seat. A forward brother is ‘guided’ to take a front seat. Each claims to be led of the Lord. Is he? Or is his temperament ruling him?

The pure will of God demands of me that what I am temperamentally shall be set aside. I should be so Spirit-filled that the man beside me cannot foresee, on grounds of my temperament alone, how God will lead me.”   Watchman Nee, A Table in the Wilderness, May 11

2. Know God’s character.

To recognize what is from God and what is not, you must know Him.

The only way to get to know Him is by spending time with Him in prayer and study of His word. Listening for God’s voice without regular Bible study opens you up to hearing voices that are not from God.

RELATED: How to have consistent quiet time with God

3. Does the impression harmonise with God’s word?

You must be a student of the word if you want to hear from God.

Knowing God’s word will protect you from deception because God will never contradict His word. Compare any impression or prompting to it. Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

4. Is the impression free of driving force and illegitimate guilt?

God’s impressions and promptings always come with light and hope. Learn to distinguish the difference between conviction of sin and the guilt associated with it (legitimate guilt), and a guilt that never leaves you in spite of confession (illegitimate).

A prompting accompanied by force or guilt is not from God.

5. Does the impression bring peace?

One of the surest ways to know that God is speaking is internal peace. When He rebukes and corrects He sends the Holy Spirit to comfort. Satan can never bring peace.

But: Beware of false peace. When you have a strong desire to do something, it can produce a false peace that comes only from excitement. As time passes this false peace disappears, and God’s true will emerges. Never move too quickly. Wait to let feelings and emotions simmer down, and spend time surrendering your will to God.

6. Is the prompting or impression reasonable?

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord.” God appeals to your reason, Satan uses force. Never act on a driven prompting. God may urge you to follow a course of action but it will come together with peace.

Tips on discerning the voice of God:

  • Believe that you can hear from God yourself. Don’t try to hear from Him only through other people. Always asking others what you should do can put you off balance and will hinder your ability to hear from God yourself.
  • This does not mean that you shouldn’t seek counsel. Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Seek counsel. Take what other people say back to God and ask Him to guide you.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with God. Learning to recognise His voice takes trial and error. Sometimes you will make mistakes and think God was speaking to you when He wasn’t, or you’ll think He wasn’t when He was. That’s how you learn.
  • Develop an attitude of listening. Get yourself tuned in to God’s frequency by keeping your heart and life free from any known sin. Be willing to obey when He speaks.

Learning to recognise God’s voice will impact your entire life. It will change your relationship with Him, transform your marriage, and change the way you parent your children.

It is a privilege to hear from God personally.

Bible verses on hearing God’s Voice

  • Psalm 32:8
  • Proverbs 3:6
  • Isaiah 30:21
  • John 8:47
  • John 10:27
  • John 18:37

Challenge: start experimenting with God and learn to recognise His voice to you.

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is a certified SYMBIS facilitator, and is certified in TPM (Transformation Prayer Minsitry). She lives in South Africa, has three grown children, and is married to her best friend – Richard.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Richard Lovemore | 10th Mar 17

    I love your blog, it warms my heart as I see you thriving in the gift of writing that Heaven has given you. I’m so glad you are my queen and that I get to live with you, mmmmh. Love you… Rich.

  2. Preparation for End Times Part 1: Spiritual Preparation - Love More to Live | 20th May 20

    […] Learning to hear and recognise God’s voice takes practice. Hearing God’s voice is essential for the times we are entering into. Like the apostles in the book of Acts (See Acts 8: 26-29; 16:6,7), who recognised God’s promptings and acted on them, we will need to do the same. Don’t know how to hear and recognise God’s voice? Read this post on 6 Ways to Discern God’s Voice […]

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