It is God the Father’s desire to walk and communicate with us His children. He wants to talk to us and He wants us to listen and talk to Him, too. In Genesis 3:8 (ESV) we read 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
We were created to have a two-way communication with God. We are reminded that humility and dedication are essential in experiencing this in our lives. The Scriptures remind us of this truth in Jeremiah 29:12-13 (ESV) it says 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. In Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) we also read, 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. God is there, waiting, listening, active and providing guidance.
That is why Jesus tells us in John 10:27 (ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Jesus wants us to know that He knows everything about us and that he wants us to Him in the same way back. Why would this be so important to know? Well John 10:4-5 (ESV) explains it like this; 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” We don’t listen or follow a stranger, we listen and follow our friend, saviour and life guide.
So God promises He will speak, and that you can hear His voice, but you must be careful, because there are three voices that we can hear. The voice of God, the voice of our own fleshly desires and the voice of the Devil. Our own flesh can shout very loudly, especially when we are under pressure, or we want something very badly. And the Devil is the father of lies, he is the great deceiver. So how can we know whether we’re hearing the voice of God?
The Bible gives us seven keys through which every possible leading should be discerned. We are to carefully examine the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Examine closely the words of people who may have influence on us by their words and actions as well.
- Scripture: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man and woman of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
- The Holy Spirit: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:10-11 (ESV)
- The Prophetic: Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (ESV)
- Godly Counsel: Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
- Confirmation: But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:16 (ESV)
- The Peace of God: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (ESV)
- Circumstances: Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. Numbers 22:31 (ESV)
The Lord will confirm His direction to us through these key elements, especially when we are in the process of making an important, life-changing decision. That is why Isaiah 30:21 (ESV) says, 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. How encouraging to know that You can hear God’s voice. Listen. God is speaking to you right now and guiding you every step of the way.