Growing up, we played a game called “Hide and Seek.”
Sometimes, we played this game indoors. It was always fun, especially when the person seeking out everyone would walk right past you!
It was tough trying not to laugh or make a noise because if you did, it would give away your location. One key to being successful was listening.
Jesus said something interesting in one verse:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Jesus makes it clear that his sheep hear his voice.
If you take time to look at the seven churches of Revelation, you will notice a phrase that is spoken to each church: “Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
If you look at the Bible from the Old to the New Testament, you will see God speaking to individuals.
I believe it’s God’s desire for each one of his people to hear him individually.
I also believe we have all heard from God in one way or another. The problem is we struggle to discern if what we are hearing is God or us.
In our Christian walk, one key to being successful is learning to be a listener to God’s voice.
He is always trying to speak to and guide us, but most of the time, we are not listening and miss out on the things He’s trying to reveal to us.
Those could even be things He’s trying to protect us from!
I’m going to give you three simple ways that God speaks to us. This list is not exhaustive, but I do think it’s the most common.
You will be encouraged to know that you have likely heard from God through at least one of these means.
The three ways God speaks to us…
1. The Preaching of the Word
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
This is probably the first way we have heard from God. Someone preached or witnessed to us.
The disciples went out and preached to everyone because it was God’s command. When the Word of God is being preached from a pulpit or some other location---God is speaking.
There may be times during preaching when a phrase, word, or even a story will connect with you, and it could be the answer you need.
This has happened to me many times. I’ve sat in services as the preacher is speaking, and he does not realize that he’s helping me with something only God knows about.
It’s in those moments that God is using someone through the preaching of his word to give us direction as we listen. God uses people!
2. The Written Word
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
“All scripture is breathed out by God.” In other words, every scripture has the DNA of God on it.
It’s true the Bible was written by people, but these people wrote as God moved upon them (see 2 Peter 1:20–21).
So, when we open the Bible, we are hearing God speak. A closed Bible is a closed ear!
When we don’t make time to read God’s word, we are not making time to hear from God.
Paul tells Timothy of several reasons why all scripture is important. If these are true, then it should encourage us to open the Bible to see what God wants to say to us.
It could be a word of correction or a word of training in righteousness, as Paul told
The Bible is filled with many nuggets of truth, and the more you open it and spend time in study, the more you will discover.
It can also help us gain encouragement as we read through the stories that are within its pages (see Romans 15:4).
It’s important to read God’s word because many times, people trust more in dreams and “feelings.” They might believe these are from God, but they could be contrary to his word.
If God’s word is truth, then it is the most reliable word we have.
If there is something we are feeling or hearing from someone else, we should always filter it through what God has spoken through His written word and let His word be true.
3. Directly from God
1 Samuel 3:10
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
This third way takes maturity because I believe it’s grounded in the other two.
Yes, God can speak to us directly through dreams, visions, and impressions upon our hearts.
It’s also possible to hear the audible voice of God. I know a few people who have encountered His audible voice.
You may feel a strong desire to call somebody or to go pray for someone, and you’re not sure where it’s coming from… it’s God!
If God spoke to Samuel, how much more can he speak to us since we are under the New Covenant, and we have his indwelling spirit living within us?
This third way is grounded in the previous two because if you are unsure that what you are hearing is of God, you can always go back to the preached word or the Scriptures to bring confirmation.
Our relationship with God is real and personal, and because of this, He wants to speak to us and teach us His ways.
As you fine-tune your ear through these three methods, I believe you will learn to discern His voice and enhance your relationship with Him.
You will have full confidence, knowing that the direction you are going in life is ordered by the Lord!