The heart of Christianity is relationship – relationship with the living God. Relationship means intimacy and communication. God’s plan for us is to know Him intimately and for Him to communicate with us. The deeper our relationship with God, and the more open we are to hear His voice, the more we will hear Him speaking to us. He speaks because He loves us and wants to be in an interactive, intimate relationship with us. The Lord is speaking to us all the time but are we listening to all the ways in which He is speaking?
The Lord gave me a vision and I saw people setting radio stations into their stereos. The people had programmed the stereos to the radio station frequency they enjoyed listening to. Some people only had one radio station set on their stereo and only ever listened to that one station. Other people had multiple stations set and listened to many stations. Still other people had their set stations but were also regularly scanning other radio frequencies to hear new radio stations they had yet to discover.
The Lord spoke to me through this vision and said there are some believers who only look to hear Him speaking in one way so therefore only hear Him speak through one means of communication. There are other believers who hear Him speak through multiple ways but still have only fixed ways of hearing His voice. There are yet other believers who use the regular means of communication they have to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to them but they are also open to Him speaking in new and different ways. They believe the Lord is always speaking to them and they are open to hear His voice in whatever way He chooses to speak. The Lord will speak to us in whatever way we will listen but He may also be using other ways to communicate His message. The Lord may be using many ways to communicate a message to us so as to give us confirmation of the message. We need to nurture our relationship with God so we can hear His voice clearly. God is constantly transmitting His voice to His sheep but we need to ‘tune in’ to hear Him. After hearing His voice, we need to obey the leading of the Spirit. John 10:27 says ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.’ We can’t just hear His voice, we need to also obey it as it is through obedience that we demonstrate our love for God. James 1:22 says ‘Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life.’
God speaks to us in many ways. Some of these include –
His word - 1 Timothy 3:16 says ‘Every scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness.’ God’s Word is to be the foundation on which we test all other ways we hear the Lord speak as other ways will never be contrary to His Word. As you read the Word, you grow in understanding of God’s character which helps you to discern His voice when He speaks. If you read scripture for inspiration by asking God to speak to you through His Word, you will experience the power of the Bible as the words you read will jump off the pages into your heart. Psalm 119:105 says ‘Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of your Word makes my pathway clear.’
A still small voice – 1 Kings 19:12 tells us the Lord revealed himself to Elijah in a still, small voice. Isaiah 30:21 says ‘Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.’ God speaks to us by way of spontaneous words or thoughts that come to us and we can discern when He is speaking. As we still our own thoughts and fix our eyes on Jesus, we are able to hear His voice.
Impressions/promptings – The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit in impressions or promptings. John 14:26 says ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.’ An impression is a strong urge in your spirit and you have a knowing that you need to do something. When we have learned to discern God’s voice by acting on the prompting from the Holy Spirit and seen it validated, we then have more confidence to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the future and are able to obey those promptings more quickly.
Peace - We are to be led by peace. Where God guides us, He gives peace. Colossians 3:15 says ‘Let your heart always be guided by the peace of the Anointed One who called you to peace as part of his one body.’
Dreams and visions – Dreams and visions are ways the Lord speaks to us. 10:10 tells us Peter fell into a trance and John wrote the whole book of revelation based on a supernatural vision. Paul had several visions including one that sent him to preach in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10) and one that encouraged him to keep preaching in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11). We can receive visions (flowing pictures) from the Lord, just as we receive flowing thoughts from Him. There are also many instances in scripture of God speaking to people through dreams. For example in Matthew 1:20 we read that Joseph had a supernatural dream where an angel appeared to him and told him not to hesitate in taking Mary to be his wife.
Our surroundings – the Holy Spirit can speak to us through our surroundings such as through numbers, signs, song lyrics etc. There are endless ways God can speak to us through things in our everyday life. Proverbs 24:30-34 is an example where God spoke to Solomon through his surroundings. The Lord can use our circumstances, and timing of them, to speak to us. We need to learn to view the circumstances of our lives with discernment.
Nature - God can also speak to us through nature. Psalm 19:1 says ‘God’s splendor is a tale that is told; his testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks his story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry-vault of the sky, showing his skill in creation’s craftsmanship.’
Others – God can use others to speak to us. That could be in the way of a prophetic word or a word of knowledge. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 says ‘Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.’ God can also speak to us through Godly counsel or teaching. Proverbs 11:14 says ‘People lose their way without wise leadership, but a nation succeeds and stands in victory when it has many good counselors to guide it.’ God can use others to convey His message of truth to us. The bible records many instances in which God uses one individual to deliver a message to another eg. Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 10:1-33.
An audible voice - Hearing the audible voice of God is rare but it does still happen today. There are examples in scripture where God spoke to people audibly including when He spoke to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:4) and where the Lord spoke to Saul (later called Paul) on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:4-7).
Angels – Angels are God’s messengers and can be used to deliver a message to us. The Word of God gives examples of people who were visited by an angel delivering a message to them from God. For example in Luke 1:11-20 we read that the angel Gabriel informed Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would have a son who they were to call John.
Believe that the Lord wants to speak to you and IS speaking to you and position your heart to listen to Him. Remember that God wants a deep relationship with you. You are His treasure; He adores and delights in you. His desire is to be in an intimate relationship with you where you hear His voice clearly. As we humble ourselves before the Lord and seek His guidance in our lives, the Good Shepherd will be faithful to lead us. As you have pure hearted devotion to God and diligently seek Him, He will speak and guide you. Jeremiah 29:13 says ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ A mature spiritual ear hears the voice of the Lord and follows after the will of the Spirit of God. Many times the Lord will confirm His direction and message to us multiple times or through multiple forms of communication. Regardless of the way God chooses to speak to us, He will never contradict His word so it is important to always check what we hear against scripture.
The Lord is inviting you to go deeper in your relationship with Him. ‘Tune in’ to His voice and be open to hear Him speak to you in a new way.