How To Know You're Hearing God's Voice

How To Know You’re Hearing God’s Voice

I get this question a lot.

How do I know if I’m hearing God’s voice?

I’m sure you’ve maybe thought about this as well.

There are three sources of the thoughts that pop into our heads.

      1) Us
      2) God
      3) Satan

The Obvious

Satan is usually easy enough to spot.

We all fall for his lies once in a while. However, for the most part if we stop and test what we are hearing it’s going to be pretty obvious it’s not God.

The Less Obvious

The issue most of us have is between option 1 and 2.

I mean sure we have our moments where our thoughts are pretty obviously garbage.

But we also have our good moments. One of the side-effects of renewing our minds and walking in our righteousness is that our thoughts become more like God’s thoughts.

Now don’t get me wrong this is awesome!

But it can cause us to blur the lines between the voice of God and the voice of our sanctified minds.

So how do we know if it’s God or not?

3 Simple Questions

I want to share with you a very simple strategy that has helped me in recognizing if God is speaking to me or if I’m just off in daydream land.

Firstly, we ask ourselves a simple question.

How does this line up with what I know to be true of the nature of God and His will according to scripture?

This whittles out a lot of stuff straight away.

Although we should be aware that our interpretation of scripture is far from perfect. I’d hate to ignore God because I’ve interpreted scripture incorrectly.

The next thing I do is ask 2 more simple questions.

You see the simplest way to recognise the voice of God is to look for the fruit of God.

Consider the fruit of the Spirit:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Now consider these two questions:

Does what you are hearing carry this fruit?

Does what you are hearing create this fruit in you?

If you can answer no to either of those questions there is a very high chance you aren’t hearing from God.

These questions have helped me a lot.

I’m not saying I’m incapable of coming up with thoughts that are scriptural and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

But let’s face it – on the off chance I do – they sound like ideas God might really like anyway!

What about you?

How do you evaluate if you’ve heard the voice of God? I’d love to hear from you about this as it’s something I’m sure we’d all love to grow in.

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12 Comments

  1. Hi Phil,

    I recognize your diagnostic questions as a rational sanity check for God’s leading. But there is a (fun) experiential aspect where we recognize the voice of our Shepherd because we belong to Him. Also, I think because we have heard (and obeyed) His voice before and perhaps grown to know Him experientially.

    The cool thing is that He knows us to the ultimate depth, so His manner of speaking is customized to each of us, His sheep. If we listen and look for Him personally, as opposed to trying to imitate someone else’s experience, perhaps we can learn to recognize Him more quickly just based on our past relationship.

    Mark Wendel

    • Absolutely Mark – I couldn’t agree more.

      This is the joy of being in relationship with God… it’s just not a formula no matter how much we try to make it one.

      I love the journey of learning to hear His voice and recognise it. Just like with any other friend!

      Thanks for sharing this – it’s a very important key! More so that what I’ve shared in the blog in fact :)

  2. Mainly I look for peace. And lately I decide first to look at a situation through Grace,when I do this God’s voice is very clear,upbringing peace in its wake, even when there is no definitive answer.”my Grace is sufficient Lisa” seems to be the going answer as of late,which is fine by me. Makes for a better nights sleep anyway. God bless Phil.

  3. Thanks Phil. I’ve had a pretty hard time distinguishing between my voice and that of God. I’ve got a lot of friends who use the phrase “God told me…” pretty easily and frequently and in my mind I’m like “how can you be so sure??!!”And it almost gets pretty intimidating because I haven’t heard God voice before or if I have, i don’t recognize it. but thanks for these, it has clarified a lot and I’ll be sure to put it int practice. And for those who feel God cannot speak to them, not only can He, He really wants to. What’s the use having a father or a son as the case may be,if you two don’t communicate?
    This is my very first post, by the way. I love the new look!

    • Thanks Allen – I hope it’s not your last post – I really appreciate your thoughts and you taking the time to share them.

      I’m planning on doing a series on hearing the voice of God with some practical ways we can learn to recognise the voice of God and practice having 2 way conversations with Him… keep your eyes peeled!

  4. I often ask myself “What possible harm could it do?” I have had situations where I felt led to do something that couldn’t really be measured against scripture (like “turn left”). I figure it couldn’t possibly cause any harm, so I listen. Other times, such as if I feel led to speak to someone, I just reason that it couldn’t cause harm, and it wasn’t likely from me, because it is not something I want to do! Just my quick thoughts on a Saturday evening. Love ya, Phil!!

    • Yup 9/10 the issue is not that we don’t think we are hearing God… it’s that we don’t want to be hearing God! Typically the only harm is to our ego ;)

  5. Thank you so much! This was sent to me from a friend at church. I just recently started hearing God’s Voice when I started working through something very traumatic. I’m new to Christianity all together so I’ve been grappling with whether I’m hearing from God and his crew or I’m just insane. I’m fairly positive I’m not crazy and this really helped to clarify some things. I still need to brush up on my scripture though. I don’t know too much about that so I have nothing to compare it to. I’ve been really going by the feeling I get while writing it and while reading it. If I’m nervous or uneasy then it’s not God. If I feel better after reading it (and I can see the fruit of the Spirit in it) I feel it’s safe to run with God on that. This is just from a newbie’s perspective.

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