How can you hear God? How does God speak?
How can you get guidance from God?
Maybe you are hoping that God will speak to you directly about something he has already answered. Sometimes we don’t like the answer he has already given and so we hope his answer to us, in our specific situation, might be different!
The Bible tells us answers to many questions. It tells us how we should live, what is important in life, what our aims, attitudes and priorities should be. These things answer a lot of questions we might have. Often what we discover is the aims we have are not good and the thing we think is important, God says isn’t that important!
If you want to know what God is saying, if you want his guidance – then read the Bible and listen to what God has already said to us.
God can speak to us directly in many different ways, but he doesn’t normally do it with a physical voice we hear with our ears and he doesn’t normally speak through dreams either. The most common ways God speaks directly are…
– through the wisdom of other Christians: When we talk to other mature and experienced Christians about the issue, we often find that they have some insight and helpful guidance for us.
– through an inner thought or conviction: Something inside us that is more than just a feeling, it’s more of a feeling of being compelled or prompted inside.
– through preaching and teaching: When someone is preaching from the Bible, God sometimes prompts them to say something or use an illustration or a phrase that has a bigger significance to a particular listener than the preacher is aware of.
Sometimes when we ask God to show us something it really seems that He is not helping us to know what to do. When this happens it might be because he wants us to delay the decision or he might want us to use our human thoughts and wisdom to make a decision.
The Bible tells us to walk in the spirit – this is talking about being guided by the Holy Spirit who lives inside everyone that is a follower of Jesus. If you are not sure you are a follower of Jesus please chat with us to find out more about what it means to follow Jesus.
Some people seem to think that God speaks to them about everything, what to wear, what to say, what to do. They think that He is constantly speak to them – not just sometimes, but all of the time… This may sounds very spiritual but it is not what we see in the lives of Christians in the Bible, and it is not what Paul, who wrote many of the letter in the Bible, taught.
Some people think that God never speaks directly to anyone any more and that if you hear God today you are actually just making it up! This also isn’t what the Bible teaches and it is not what we see in the lives of the first followers of Jesus.
The truth is in the middle – God does speak but not all the time and not about everything!
The best place to start is to admit that you will get it wrong sometimes and ask God to help you to get it right more often.
The next question to ask yourself is if the Bible has already answered the question? or if the Bible talks about an attitude or aim you should have that makes the answer to this question obvious?
Another great step is to ask someone who is spiritually mature what they think – maybe they will know somewhere in the Bible that will affect what you decide, or if not at least they can pray with you that you will do what God wants.
A great principle to use is this… the more crazy, the more weird, the less sensible, the less normal the thing is that you think God might be asking you to do, then the clearer God needs to make it to you.
If God hasn’t made it really clear to you and you are unsure if he wants you to do something crazy and really unusual, then it is best to say to Him – “I am willing to do anything for you but I want to be wise and so please make it much clearer than this”… and if God doesn’t make it really clear, just don’t do it!