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How do we know it is God speaking?
One of the most popular articles on my website is "Does God still speak to us today?" Each month hundreds of people surf in and read this article. Many of these visits are from people who search Google asking that very question.
This raises another question though. How do we know what we hear is actually God speaking? We can wonder if it is God, if is just yourself or if it is the devil trying to lead you astray. Here is some advice I got from a wiser old Christian many years ago.
1. Is it inline with the Bible?
Does what you are hearing sound like God? Does it resonate with His teaching in the Bible? An example might be a couple who are married. If one is not happy and wants to leave the partner to marry someone else. Then if they think they heard God to tell them to do it, it could be tested against Scripture. that would show that it does not line up with the Bible's teaching on marriage and relationships. From trying to line it up with Scripture you can filter it to see if it is actually God speaking.
2. Walk with God daily
The second thing is to walk closely with God each day. We need to make sure we are taking time out each day to "check in" with God. Take some time to prayerfully read the Bible, have a quite time of prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you in all you do. When we do these things regularly it helps us to get "in tune" with God. The passage in John 10:11-16 says "My sheep know me". "Knowing Me" is first and then it says..."and they know my voice". Just like I know my wife's voice on the phone when she rings without her having to tell me it is her, we can slowly get to know God's voice over time.
3. God wants what is best for you
When God speaks it usually falls into one of these areas - to comfort, to encourage, to guide, to teach or to correct. When we hear something we need to filter it and say is this for our long term good. Does what you have heard line up with other things that you have felt God speaking to you in the past? Does it lead you further into God's will for your life or could it lead you astray? If it does not lead you further into God's will or you are not sure, it would be wise to seek counsel and not move forward straight away.
4. Have good friends around you
This is one way I filter if it is God speaking to me or not. I share the things I am hearing (or think I am hearing) with them. We pray together and we talk about it. I especially used this when I thought I God was asking me to leave my long term job and move to a smaller country town. It was a big move and I wanted to get it right. So I shared it with those around me I trusted and knew who heard from God. We committed it to prayer and felt a peace that it was the right move. This peace took a while to come so I had to be patient.
These four things are some of the things I do to filter what I am hearing to see if it is from God or not. The further I go on my journey with God, the easier it is to hear from God and discern if it is Him or not. However, I never get overconfident because we are not perfect. That is why it is important to have good people around you praying for you and good habits in place to keep in tune with God.
By Dave Quinn
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