There have been times in my life when I think I may hear from, but how do I know it is from God and not my desires? It is important to be rooted in God’s word so we can then take the proper steps to discerning God’s voice. These are some steps that help me as I discern God’s voice in my life.
How can you discern the voice of God? Five practical ways to evaluate what we hear from God is by are comparing what you hear to God’s word, talking to godly counsel, the peace or turmoil that comes with what you hear, how it will affect others, and how it fits into God’s characteristics.
Listening and hearing what God has to say in our lives is important. We do not want to hear God and then toss it aside as one of our thoughts. It is important to take the proper steps to know if what you hear is from God, or not.
Here are five ways to examine if what you heard if from the Lord or not.
1. Looking at Scripture
As Christians, we want to be rooted in God’s word. This will play an important role when discerning God’s voice. If what you heard lines up with the Bible, it is from God. If it goes against Scripture we know it is not from God.
God does not contradict Himself. He is consistent. He would not speak to you something that does not aline with His Word.
Sometimes it is not that easy to find out if scripture agrees or disagrees with what we hear. You may have to really dig into God’s Word.
Study the Bible for yourself to find out if you are hearing from God.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16,17
God’s word is presented in a way to help us to learn and grow so we will be ready to know what is right.
2. Godly Counsel
Life is complex and the choices we make are not always black and white, this is why it is beneficial to hear from others who are grounded in God’s word to help us understand what is biblically correct.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.Proverbs 11:14
Scripture warns us of our need for counselors to help us. Those with more experience, wisdom, and understanding can help better guide us through our life. They will be able to put healthy input into knowing if what we hear is from God or man.
Godly counsel could be anyone who is rooted in God’s word themselves. This could be a parent, or a grandparent, a pastor, or a teacher. Especially with bigger decisions, we want counsel from others to help us understand what is true.
3. Peace or Turmoil?
When we listen to hear from God, and we wonder if the thoughts we have are God’s or our own it is important to identify what we feel in the situation. Is there peace or turmoil in the decision you will make?
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phillippians 4:7
If we have peace we know that comes from God, there is a peace that “surpasses all understanding,” which means that even though the situation may not be peaceful, our response and our heart is a peaceful one because of God.
If we believe we heard from the Lord and it is not something Biblical based, it is not from Him. If you feel the word you heard will lead to chaos or desturction is it not from Him.
Please note, if God is asking you to repent of sins or give up an old way of living, you may feel some turmoil. This is why it is vital to back up what you are hearing with Scripture.
4. Impact on Others
How will what God is speaking to you impact others?
We need to have a long term vision in mind when we are discerning what we hear, and not just for ourselves but others also. If the result of something you think is from God does not show love to your neighbor, it’s not from the Lord, but your sinful nature.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:36-39
God will not be telling us to do something that will harm others and is against his commands to us.
We need insight from God to know if what we are doing is beneficial or harmful.
A simply question you can ask yourself is, “Is this decision Christ-like?” God would not call us to something that is not Christ-like.
5. God’s Characteristics
God’s characteristics give us a good look at what God would and would not say to us. Discerning what God has spoken to us depends a lot on what we know of God and his characteristics.
God is loving, so doing something that is unloving would not be something that is from God. God is a just God, so we can look at what we hear and see if it lines up with God’s justice and be able to decide if it is our thoughts or that of God.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We see in 1 Corinthians 13 a list of the characteristics of love, since God is love, this list gives us as Christians a good idea of what God desires for us. Does what we hear line up with the list?
Knowing God, His word, and His characteristics give us a good picture of what God does and does not want us to do.
Next time when you hear something that may or may not be from God – go to God’s word to discern what is true, but make sure to consider godly counsel around you, the peace or turmoil that you may feel, how it will affect others, and how what you hear does or does not line up with who God is.
Knowing how to hear and discern God’s voice is very important, sometimes it can be hard to know if God is even talking to you.
You can keep learning in a more in-depth way on how to hear the voice of God by taking a free online enrichment course, How To Hear the Voice of God. In this course, you can learn more about the will of God, guidance, and direction, preparing yourself to hear, petitioning to God, and discerning his voice.