Some people ask how they can recognize the voice of God. This is a very important question as there are many voices that we hear and that we must distinguish between. Some people, like Moses in the Old Testament times, are fortunate enough to hear an audible and distinct voice of God preceded by some miraculous sign like a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-3). However, for most people, God’s voice is much more subtle. Even the prophet Elijah heard God speaking in a small voice out of the stillness (1 Kings 19:10-12). Prophets like Daniel spoke to God in dreams (Daniel 1:17 NIV). Some people hear God’s voice in music. The question is not how does God speak — because they possibilities are endless, but rather how do you know when God is speaking?
How to Test the Spirits
Most people that speak to God have learned to know His voice through trial and error. Sometimes we have dreams and in them we perceive one male figure speaking to us and automatically assume it may be Jesus or God. The book of 1 John tells us to test the spirits to find out whether or not they are from God by asking whether or not Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:1-3). Evil spirits will not acknowledge Jesus. They hate Him. If a spirit is not from God, they will not want anything to do with Jesus.
Know the Bible
You can also test whether or not you are hearing God’s voice by searching the scriptures. Is what the voice said consistent with biblical teaching? If it is not against Christ it is for Him. If a spirit is not an evil spirit it is a benign one that may or may not be from God, that is, an angel. Some mystics claim to speak to the dead. God tells us to have nothing to do with them because they are evil and will defile those that seek their advice (Leviticus 19:31).
God Is Light
If God speaks to you in a dream He will tell you that He is God. After all, if it is important enough for Him to speak to you about it, He’s not going to want you to have any obscurity in the matter. God is light and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5, 1 Corinthians 4:5). God does not hide in the shadows. What He says is truth and not muttering lies like demons and the evil one.
God Tells the Truth
Another way to tell if God is speaking is if what is being said is the truth. When Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well He told her about her past five lovers — information that only He could know (John 4:1-26). This is how she knew He was God and another way we can know He is God (John 4:39). Is what the spirit is saying inside information that only God can know? If it is and you are still not sure whether or not it is true, ask the voice, “Who are you?” God cannot tell a lie, whereas the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). His lies can be subtle or half-truths, too. The devil is violent, cruel, and perverse. Anything said that fits into any of those three categories is not from God.
Sometimes God will tell us to do things that don’t make sense to us. If this is the case, ask the spirit who it is. Like I said, before, if the voice is from God, you will know because He will tell you. The biblical book of Revelations tells us that God will pour out His Spirit in the last days and that people will have dreams and visions (Acts 2:17). It is not uncommon for God to speak to believers. Sometimes His speaking is as subtle as a seemingly tailor-made sermon. Other times, God’s voice is direct like in a dream or vision. Jesus said that His sheep will recognize His voice because they know Him (John 10:4-5). If you know Jesus, you can recognize His voice. For some, the question becomes, “How do I get to know Jesus?”
Know Jesus — Recognize His Voice
To know Jesus, you must start out with a humble and earnest heart that desires to know Him. If you confess to Jesus your sins and tell Him that you want Him to cleanse you of your sins so that you will have the power not to sin and to please Him by the Holy Spirit, He will grant your request. Before I came to know Jesus, I was still a church-goer. But I only had a form of godliness and didn’t hold to the saving power of the gospel. My heart was still stuck in sin. Jesus worked with me until I was transformed into His servant. I had to give up a life of sin and not simply give Him lip service. This was done by the transforming and refining power of the Holy Spirit after I was baptized and renewed my commitment to Christ. I also consecrated my life to Him. This means that I gave Him everything that I am or ever will be for His use. In other words, I put Jesus first in my life.
How to Know Jesus
The bible says that if you believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is Lord, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
I hope this posting has given you insight as to how you can know and hear from God. I pray that He will never stop speaking to you and that you will enjoy His fellowship. May He bless you and keep you.