I think many people are searching for this answer whether they follow Jesus or not. If there’s a chance we can hear from God Himself on a question we have or something we are going through, don’t you think we would want to hear from Him? Or at least, know how to?
I struggled with this thought for awhile before following Jesus and after I started to follow Him because I heard many different claims of people “hearing” from God and I had no idea what that meant because I thought I never heard from Him. Something must have been wrong with me, right?
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to hearing from God and I think that is part of the problem. With so many stories and experiences out there through books, videos, posts, etc. it’s hard to know if there is a way to really know if we are hearing from God.
Here’s the good news.
God is not a God of confusion. He is not a God who would want to confuse people by having them constantly question if they can hear Him or not. The simple fact that He sent His one and only Son to die for us proves the point that He is not a cruel God…and in fact, a loving God. Not only that, He has made it very clear on how we can hear from Him. It’s our choice whether or not we will believe Him with how He says He speaks.
We Hear God by His Word
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
There’s a strong emphasis at the beginning of these verses with the word “All.” Every little bit of Scripture is breathed out by God…as in…God talking to us. God Himself tells us that His Word is breathed out by Him, and is profitable for everything, so that His Children may be made complete and equipped for every good work.
Let’s not miss the point that God tells us Himself how He speaks to us…through His Word. And the fact that we, as followers of Jesus, need His Word to make us complete. That means we are lacking without it and won’t be equipped if we don’t listen to God as He speaks to us from the Bible.
The Bible is living and active and if you want to hear from God and know what He is saying for sure, open up the book and read it. The very words you’ll read are the very words of God and you can confidently know that you are hearing from God as you read it.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
We Hear God by Following Jesus
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27
The other primary way we hear from God is through Jesus Christ. As followers of Him, we’ll know His voice when He is speaking to us. One of the best ways we’ll know this is because we can look to the Bible to see who Jesus is and how He lived.
For example, Jesus was perfect and without sin. He died for us and rose from the dead defeating death and sin in victory. When He died for us on the cross, He took all of our past, present, and future sins upon Himself and paid the price to God that we now do not have to pay. The price we would have had to pay was death because God is perfect, we are sinful, and there’s no way for us (who are not perfect) to have a relationship with God (who is perfect).
So, Jesus paying the penalty for us is not only a big deal, it’s everything.
If we believe in Jesus Christ and choose to follow Him for the rest of our lives, we are forgiven, forever. And then as followers of Jesus with a new identity we now…you can probably guess it…follow Him. That means we do what He did. Live the way He did. Love others the way He did. Pray and know the Bible just like He did.
Read the Bible and study Jesus, who He is and how He lived, and then whatever you think you are hearing, you can know if it’s God talking because it should make you more like Christ. It what you are hearing doesn’t make you more like Jesus, then it’s not from God.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
How Can I Know For Sure Then?
God reserves the right to tell us how He speaks to us, and we should listen.
So, what that means is whatever you are going through, line it up with what the Bible says and who Jesus is.
Considering a new job? Trying to hear if you should break up with someone? Searching for the meaning of life? Not sure if you are hearing from God or if it’s just yourself?
What does the Bible have to say about your situation? Whatever you are hearing, does the Bible affirm it or go against it? With whatever decision you make, will it make you more like Jesus or is it just something for yourself?
You can trust and know that you are hearing from God when whatever you hear lines up with the Bible and leads you to live more like Jesus. We (as sinful people) would never naturally think to ourselves something that would make us more like Christ and affirm the Bible…but the Holy Spirit (God) within us (as followers of Christ) would speak that way.
Praise God for making it clear to us how He speaks. Trust that you can know that God is talking to you and listen to what He has to say.
Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.