How can I hear God’s voice?

Question:

How do I know what gifts I have through the Holy Spirit, and how do I get a two way conversation with God like so many other Christians have? It is as if I hear myself speaking!

Answer:

I used to ask the same question:  Why doesn’t God speak to me?  Why can’t I hear Him?  And then I used to hear such answers as: “If you obey God you will hear Him speak to you”.  “Perhaps you are not obeying Him”.  “Perhaps He doesn’t want to speak to you”.

This discouraged me, but soon I learnt the truth.  The God who worked out the plan of salvation, sent His Son to come and die for you, is desperately trying to bring you to heaven to be with Him forever, all because He loves you, definitely wants to speak with you.  In fact He wants to have an intimate relationship with you, which is not just you speaking to Him!  And I found He IS speaking to us, every day!  Let’s look at the ways God speaks to us, but remember first that God is not like us humans, He is unique and not on our level.

Romans 11: 33     Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Romans 5: 8     But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Isaiah 55: 8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.   9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

So let us now analyze the ways in which God communicates with us:

1.    His Word:  We all know that God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, but I am talking about something more intimate and special.  I am sure you have often read a verse and thought:  I must have read this passage ten or twenty times before, but suddenly I see something I never saw before, something just for me that speaks to me in my present situation.  Suddenly there is a wealth of new meaning that just jumps out at me.  That is God speaking to you.

2.    Thoughts:  God communicates with us often through thoughts that just “suddenly and randomly” pop into our minds.  Sometimes we say:  Where on earth did that come from, it’s just what I need.  That’s God speaking to you.  A caution here:  remember that the devil can also put thoughts into your head, which mostly are very easy to distinguish, because they so clearly lead our minds in the wrong direction.    But the Bible tells us that the devil is subtle, so he can plant seemingly good thoughts too, but which end up in the wrong place.  So we have to be careful not to be deceived.

3.    Circumstances:  So often we have things happen, like an “almost very bad accident”, but nothing bad happens and you think of what could have been.  And immediately you thank God for caring and protecting, and you realise that He is right there with you, telling you through the circumstances that He loves you and wants to lead you safely home, to Him.  Sometimes it’s a lot more direct, when a small miracle happens just for you, like a car moving out of a parking space right where you need to be in a hurry.  Or it can be a major miracle, impossible to explain, where a family member or friend is miraculously saved from death, and you know that God is speaking His love to you.

4.    Nature:  A brilliant sunset, a night sky alight with billions of pinpricks of stars, lovely flowers, birdsong, and a million other things that just shout out that these things were created by a loving Creator God for your pleasure.  And you marvel at the great love of the God of the universe, that speaks so directly to you.

5.    Hardship:  This seems to be a strange way of communicating, but the Bible tells us in Philippians 4: 4   Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

That means that we even have to rejoice in hardship and realise that God is ultimately in control, even when things look totally out of control.  So God speaks to us, telling us to trust Him, and He will take us through the pain and suffering.  In the process, He grows our faith, and tells us again that He loves us.  If you doubt this, look at Job, or look at the Psalms, and how the psalmist in many of the chapters is crying out to a God who seems not to be there, but in the end he always acknowledges God’s presence and His care, and knows where his help comes from.

There are probably many other ways that God speaks to us, for instance through the good advice of Godly friends, and of course He is quite capable of speaking very loudly and directly to you, if there is a good reason.  But these are the ones I have found to speak to me, and I no longer question why I don’t seem to hear Him audibly.  Besides, the Bible says in

2 Corinthians 5: 7    For we walk by faith, not by sight.

And in Romans 14: 23   …..for whatever is not from faith is sin.

So don’t let anyone tell you that you are missing out on a relationship with God, He is speaking to you every day!

As far as spiritual gifts are concerned, the fact that you already can name some of your spiritual gifts is great.  Now you have to use them, that is why they were given.  By yourself that would be difficult, but as part of a congregation, taking part in whatever God has gifted you to be able to do, it is much easier.  Try different things, and seek feedback, to find out what works and what doesn’t.  And you may still go through the Theology studies, although that would not automatically make you a good minister.  You may already be ready to bring people to Christ (it seems so from your email) without formal studies, remember the Apostles were mostly pretty uneducated, but it is God who gives wisdom and pours the Holy Spirit out on those who need it.

Romans 12: 6   Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:

1 Corinthians 3: 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

I answer many letters, but yours shows a great maturity in Christ.  The closer we come to God, the worse we look in our own eyes, as His light makes our shortcomings stand out clearly.  And so we question God, and mostly doubt our own abilities and worthiness to be used by God.  But God wants to use you, and He has gifted you with exactly what you need, so step out in faith, trust Him to work in you, and you will find your niche in life.  God bless, and here are some final Scripture passages.

Philippians 4: 13   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 2: 13     for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

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