Discerning the voice of God takes practice, patience, and persistence to know that you are indeed following His will for your life. It is vital to remember that you have the Holy Spirit as an advocate, counselor, and help along the way.
There is nothing more precious on this earth that we can experience than beholding and experiencing a relationship with our Creator. He is the Maker of all that was, is, and will be, yet He chooses not just to create but to interact with His creation. In life on this side of the veil, it can sometimes be hard to be sure that what we hear is indeed God speaking, but thankfully God walks us through how to know and discern His voice.
One thing this earth is not lacking is opinions, viewpoints, and loud use of vocals. From the voices others use to communicate their opinions to our own thoughts and the intrusive thoughts of the enemy, it can be hard to sort and sift what is true and what is not. God once illustrated that His voice is like that of the sweet birds singing. I was sitting in my hammock on a sunny spring afternoon, enjoying the gentle melodies the birds were singing above me in the trees, when a cackling crow came, completely shifting my attention. The crow represented the enemy's voice; it was loud and obnoxious and filled me with dread. God was highlighting through that metaphor in nature that the birds were still chirping at the same time the crow was cackling, but I had allowed my focus to shift. So, it comes down to this, while your thoughts are running, crows are screeching, and birds are chirping, who will receive your focus?
Knowing Your Voice
There is an ongoing internal dialogue in your head comprised of your thoughts. This can be as simple as recalling a to-do list or sorting through various considerations within your own head. Everyone has it, though some think more in the way of a picture than verbiage. Often, God will introduce a thought that is not your own; it is important in that place to be on alert and use good discernment. Many times, when God has spoken to me, it will be from something I like to call an "aerial drop." This means it came out of nowhere and was not something I would have thought of typically. As soon as something like that occurs, I have a method that I follow to test and discern if that is of God or the Enemy.
Testing the Spirits
Testing the spirits is completely biblical, and we as Christians would be completely remiss if we did not recognize that spiritual things are at play in our world. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us powerfully, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [a]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." With that being the case then we are then to do our due diligence in testing the spirits of what we hear, what we think we hear, and what we see as well. 1 John 4: 1-3 explains, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."
This means that if you feel you have heard a message, then you are to test that spirit or voice by this Scripture. I typically take it even further by asking the spirit to confirm that they seek to do the will of God (Yahweh) alone, proclaim Jesus to be Messiah, and confirm that the Bible is the Holy Word of God in truth. By doing this, I can stand firmly on rock, not shifting sand, that indeed I have heard the Holy Spirit or an Angel of the Lord.
Another beneficial method in knowing you have heard the Lord is if it brings a sense of stillness. This can often feel like a sense of peace that goes beyond all understanding. Philippians 4:6 offers, "Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
I consider how Mary must have felt after the visit from the Angel of the Lord when she was told she would be the one to give birth to the Messiah. It had to have been terrifying, yet she was given a sense of peace in knowing that, indeed, she had witnessed a spirit of the Lord come to deliver a message to her. Our circumstances do not need to look a certain way in order for us to then choose to be at peace; instead, we can be and exist in complete peace because we are standing rooted in God that He will bring to completion that which He intends, and we can trust Him. Knowing God is knowing His peace.
Has God Done This Before?
Finally, we are called in Scripture to remember and ponder that which God has done before. This may be in our own lives and understanding, or it may be through a story in the Bible in which God did something similar. A great place to start is if you have heard God speak a message to you and have tested it fully as instructed in Scripture, then ask Him for a story or verse that connects with your situation. Psalm 105:5 encourages us to "Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced." God is faithful and never changing (Hebrews 13:8 and 1 Samuel 15:22). He cannot lie, and we can rest fully in His capable hands, even if it does not make logical sense to us in the moment. Think about how Moses must have felt after leading the entire Hebrew Nation from Egypt to stand at the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army full of rage about to attack. It made no logical sense that there would be any result but the annihilation of the Hebrew Nation, yet God had a plan. We see where God literally parted the Red Sea, and the people walked through on dry land. We are not called to question what He is asking but are required to step out in obedience to follow Him.
Discerning the voice of God takes practice, patience, and persistence to know that you are indeed following His will for your life. It is vital to remember that you have the Holy Spirit as an advocate, counselor, and help along the way. Ask God to help you know that you have heard correctly, and then move forward in obedience to whatever He is calling you to do. You will never regret obeying God.
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.