Does God still speak to us?
Yes! Scripture, Christian writings, and personal anecdotes from devout Christians are clear that God has spoken to us throughout history and still speaks. What throws us off sometimes is having preconceived ideas about how God might speak to us and not recognizing it when He speaks in ordinary or quiet ways.
Hannah Whitehall Smith, in her classic The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life, tells us clearly about how God speaks and how to discern the difference between God's voice and others that may be our own desires or temptations. I commend that book to you. It was written over a century ago, but its no-nonsense truths still resonate today. I've put a link to it below.
Scripture says God speaks to us
From the Old Testament:
- For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. Job 33:14
- 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. Isaiah 30:21
- Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
From the New Testament:
- 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
- My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
- When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
- But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28
- But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26
So if God's talking, why can't I hear His voice?
There are several reasons we might not hear God's voice.
- We forget to ask. Have you stopped and just flat out asked God for answers or guidance on a particular subject…and expected an answer?
- We forget to listen. We are all so busy and have so many things to do, things to worry about, things to distract us from just stopping and listening.
- We don't recognize what we hear as God's voice. You read a scripture (or a book or watch a movie or hear a song) that speaks clearly to you about your life, but you don't give God credit for speaking through that instrument. You get comfort or guidance or confirmation from a friend, but you don't realize God was using that person to speak to you. You think certain circumstances were just serendipity without considering they might have been put there to give you a message from God.
6 ways God might be speaking to you
- Through Scripture. The Bible gives a great deal of guidance on the things we encounter in life, so familiarity with its teaching can result in the right verse coming to mind just when you need it. “It is essential,” Hannah Whitehall Smith says, “to remember that the Bible is a book of principles, and not a book of disjointed aphorisms. Isolated texts may often be made to sanction things to which the principles of Scripture are totally opposed.” Wow she got that one right, didn't she?
- Through your intuition. This is a combination of your thoughts and your gut feelings. It takes practice to discern which things that twist our gut are messages to stop and which are just fear of change or new opportunities.
- Through others. Sometimes this is the hardest to recognize, especially when the message delivery person may be someone who gets on our nerves or isn't known for their spiritual wisdom. Don't pre-judge who God might use to deliver a message you need to hear!
- Through books, letters, movies, or music brought to our attention. I find this happens most often when I am intentionally praying about a situation or asking for an answer to a question. Uncannily, I'll get an email, an article link, a video link, or some other resource that speaks very specifically to what I've asked God about.
- Through circumstances in your life. You know the expression, “When one door closes, another opens.” Sometimes the guidance from God comes in the form of a slamming door. At other times it comes in the form of an opportunity. We don't get to choose, so we should be open to both.
- Through a prayer journal. When my mind is jumping all over the place, I often find it helpful to write down my conversation with God and date it. Then I leave space for an answer, and when I get it, I write it in a different color of ink with a date. It is amazing to go back over my journal and see how quickly and how specifically God has answered me.
Expect clarity, but once you get it, act on it
If a message you receive intuitively isn't clear, or if you get conflicting messages, look for other confirmations to clarify it one way or the other. Have the patience to wait until you're clear that what you're hearing is true guidance from God. Once you're clear, don't wait any more! Step out in faith and take action. What you need will be provided as you go.
How do you hear God's voice?
I'd love to hear what means you find most helpful in discerning what God is telling you about your life and your direction. If you'd like more information or elaboration on any of the six methods I mentioned above, let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at my Facebook Page.