What does it look like to hear the voice of God? As believers, we know that we should. However, I think many of us struggle with doubt and often wonder…“God, is that really you? Could you speak up a little bit louder?” I️ mean, seriously, is it truly possible for us to hear directly from God?
I️ am a girl who grew up going to church. Reading my Bible. And saying my goodnight prayers. For the longest time, that’s what I️ thought it meant to be a Christ-follower. I️ thought if I️ could spout out a few memory verses and show up consistently at Bible study and be good enough to be considered a “good girl” then, well…that’s all there was. That was that.
However, as I’ve grown in my faith, I️ now realize that there is more. Much more. It is possible for us to have a deep, intimate personal relationship with God. He is alive and active. He does still speak to us today. But that being said, I️ know that discerning the voice of God can often be a mystery.
A Wrong Assumption
For beginners, let’s debunk one of our biggest wrong assumptions, which is “If I️ hear God’s voice and obey, my life will be easy.”
We tend to read our Bibles and gravitate to the mushy-gushy verses that spark our heart-strings. God is love. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. All things work together for good. We falsely assume that because God is love, our lives will be all rosy. We take Scripture out of context. We believe that God will give us a happy life. If I’m a good girl and do the right things, God will bless me with comfort and wealth.
When things start to derail in our lives, we assume that somehow we’ve gotten off track. We wonder why we feel distant from God, and try to pinpoint what needs to be fixed. Maybe I️ need to read my Bible more…or get more involved in my church. If I️ clean up this area of my life, then I️ will receive God’s blessing. We try to reconcile why life has taken a sour turn, and question what we’ve done to deserve it. Feelings of abandonment and rejection flood in when instead, it is possible for God’s voice to lead us to a place of sanctification.
A Right Assumption
Sanctification is a churchy word that means God is making us holy. In other words, God can use your surrounding circumstances or people to expose the areas of your life that need some refining. I️ like to think of it like a pot of boiling hot water. God sometimes allows us to be placed in a boiling hot situation so that our sin bubbles come to the surface and we can see the sin that needs confessing in our lives.
Following God isn’t always the easy route. Nor is it always comfortable. As believers, God will do whatever it takes to make us look more like Him. He is more concerned about making us holy than happy. Take a deeper dive into Psalm 23, noticing my annotations:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. God is taking the lead, not me. He is my Provision, not the things of this world.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He has to make me lie down…because I️ don’t want to.
He leads me beside still waters. God’s way is better than my way.
He restores my soul. Something happened that my soul needed restoring.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. God is after His glory, not mine. He helps keep me on the right path.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I️ will have some near-death experiences (aka. things that I do not like!), but God is my Peace.
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. I️ need to speak God-sized truth into my present circumstances because naturally, I️ will want to fear. I️ will doubt that God is with me. I️ will be afraid. It will take trusting God’s boundaries because there is evil all around. God is my Protector.
You prepare a table before me I️ need to keep walking until I️ reach the dinner table. Don’t give in to Satan’s lies and tricks.
in the presence of my enemies; I️ will have enemies. Not everyone wants to do the will of God. But God’s way provides peace. Obedience is the better choice.
you anoint my head with oil; There will be good that comes from the ugly. God will reward by strengthening my faith, drawing me closer, and help me recognize His faithfulness.
my cup overflows. There is nothing more satisfying than obeying God.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. I️ am living for an eternal reward. This life is temporary. I️ need to keep my eyes focused upward.
To combat the lies that we constantly hear in our heads, we have to speak God’s truth to ourselves. God’s ways are better than our ways. God is always faithful. He is our Shepherd and we need to stay close to hear His voice and follow His lead. But the honest truth is, sheep DO live in dangerous territory. God will do whatever it takes to make us holy. His voice can lead us through the dark valley of the shadow of death because ultimately, He wants us to be sanctified and point others to Him. Simply put, this life is not about us…it’s all about Him. This life will not be easy and in order to survive, we need to stick close to our Shepherd.
Listen to God’s voice.
Stick close to what He says.
Dear friends, I️ am praying for you today. I️ know it is tough to discern the voice of God. I️ know that we tend to doubt. Continue to dive into God’s Word and pursue Him with all of your heart!