Be honest with yourself for a moment. Have you ever felt like some force was pushing you in a particular direction? Perhaps even swear that you heard a soft whisper? We are not talking about schizophrenia; we are speaking about spiritual forces at work in your life. You might have even stopped and wondered if it is your own desires leading you to something. Or if you are Christian, you probably wondered if God was leading you down a path or debated if the forces of evil were at work to push you astray. How can you know for sure who is behind the voice and what their intention is for your life? Ask yourself, is God speaking to me? How do we learn to listen to God?
The Father at Work- Is God Speaking to Me?
Against popular belief, God plays an extremely active role in our individual lives. We worship a God who is always working, and His will is perfectly planned. We can take comfort in knowing that He leads us to that plan with beautiful percussion. But it is also important to note that He sees each of us as His very own. He wants to provide for you, see you happy, and help you find enjoyment and peace in your life. To that point, He never wants to see you go through hardships, suffering and turmoil. However, He also grants us freewill, and these things come with our freedom as a package deal.
There are times He knows that the suffering you are experiencing will inevitably lead you to His will. He does not cause the suffering, but He does see the good on the other side of it. To use a simple example we can understand, it is kind of like taking your child to the doctor. You never want to hear that a child needs to get a vaccine shot or have to undergo surgery. But you also know that the short period of pain is a small price to pay compared to the alternative.
Now you are saying, “great, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” It is about understanding the character of God. If we understand who God is, what His values are, and how He speaks we can better know if it is He who is speaking in our lives.
A Side of Manipulation
The reverse is the more difficult to know because of his tactics of manipulation and deceit. Satan wants to tell you anything you need to hear to lead you away from God. Why? Think of God as pure, bright, white light. Totally flawless and too bright to look at directly. When God is around, His presence is so bright that shadows cannot exist. His light is all powerful and all encompassing. Satan is the opposite; he is complete darkness and contains no light.
Satan is a walking, talking, lying shadow who prefers to stay away from the presence of God. But as humans, we all have a small amount of darkness in us and that is what keeps us slightly distanced from God. It also gives Satan a foothold to tear us away from our Creator. The bigger that darkness grows, the further we are removed from God’s presence. Why? The only way darkness can live in you is if you remove light. God gives you the ability to choose for yourself.
For starters, if you have a weakness that you know can pull you away from God, do not be surprised if that is an avenue the devil will take to push you astray. He will start small and grow that darkness in you; after all, he does have a few thousand years of experience manipulating humanity. So, if you struggle with alcoholism and a voice is telling you one cannot hurt; you know that is not God. If you struggle with lust and a voice tells you nothing is wrong with just looking; think of whose character with which that aligns. It is not always as easy as all that though, right?
Satan is a manipulator and very determined. He attacks you with the ferocity equal to his hatred for God. And that would be scary unless you choose to have the Creator of all things in your corner.
Recognizing the Voices- How to know if it is God speaking to me
Imagine a room full of people you do not know, all talking to each other in different conversations. You might hear bits and pieces but overall, it’s just noise and confusion, right? Now add someone you know very intimately like a child, parent or spouse into that same room. Knowing someone on an intimate level makes their voice standout over a thousand other voices. God and Satan are no different. You spend your time in the company of the enemy and you will know his voice really well. On the other hand, you spend your time in God’s word, in church, and in prayer and you will discover that you are much more in tune to God’s voice.
Going deeper into what we discussed early on, is understanding God’s will and character. Knowing God will never contradict Himself; you can decipher messages based on the context. God will be consistent, warm, loving, comforting, peaceful, calm, and encouraging. The other side of that, Satan will rush you, push, scare, worry, and discourage you. If you are worried that the voice may not be either of these but perhaps your own voice, consider the motive. Is the benefit for yourself or to further God’s kingdom? Does it help others or only help yourself? By nature, humans are pretty selfish creatures. But God did not place you on Earth to indulge yourself in manmade riches. Who you are and what you have perfectly place you where God needs you to be to accomplish His will for your life.
Keep in mind that God doesn’t only “speak” to us through an audible voice. God is very patient and consistent with His messages. You may feel his presence when you turn toward the path, He wants you to be on. God may use someone close to you to reinforce something He is trying to tell you. God may spell out His message in the clouds and stars even! We try to limit Him by expecting this booming voice from the Heavens, but He doesn’t always have to be so intense. Sometimes consistency, patience, and subtle reminders will accomplish more.
That’s a wrap
We want things to be simple and direct, having our faith confirmed without rolling up our sleeves. But that isn’t how Christianity works. Our God is the hardest worker in the universe, He expects us to choose to put in the effort to know Him. You put in 1% effort to know God and He will bless you with 110% of Himself in return. Knowing God’s voice requires a choice to know Him. We read the Bible, we talk to others about Him, pray to Him, and begin to place Him in the forefront of our thoughts and actions.
As we grow closer, we will recognize His voice like a close loving friend. And being in His presence is like cuddling up in a warm blanket right out of the dryer. That is something Satan can’t mimic, because that is a feeling of comfort and love. If you cannot decipher between the voices in your head, pray. Pray to God and talk to Him like the loving Father He is. Open your Bible and read the words of Jesus. Read David’s words in the Psalms and find God in between each word.
God is waiting to talk to you. He will never refuse you or turn you away. God is just waiting on you and for you to come to Him. He does not reside in a place of darkness. So, fill your heart with bright sunshine and watch how God’s spirit will grow in your life. I promise you, it is all He wants in the entire world; you. Amen!
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10: 27-28