What Does God Sound Like?

17 02 2009

…I used to think I knew. I grew up believing that God speaks to people in an audible voice. I used to hear people say things like "How do you know when God is talking to you?" and I remember thinking to myself "How can you be a Christian and NOT know when God is talking to you?" My verbal response would be to quote the scripture when Jesus says "my sheep know my voice." And then I would talk about how God's voice is a still small voice and that we can hear Him if we're really listening. And how God speaks through his word if we would just listen.

I still think those things are true. I mean, I guess I do. I believe that the Bible does give us wisdom for life's problems. But when it comes to hearing an audible voice of God sometimes I can't help but wonder if we're really hearing God himself or if we're just hearing the desires of our own heart — both good and bad.

I remember a few years back when I had a major crush on a guy that went to my church. I prayed about it, I fasted it about it. And after all that, I felt that I heard God tell me that this man was going to be my husband. Not only that but I believed I heard God tell me that I needed to tell this man how I felt. Well I did and it backfired. He didn't feel the same way about me and it made our friendship quite awkward for awhile. Looking back now, there is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I would marry that guy. But even if I did hear from God and this man was supposed to be my husband, why didn't God ever inform him?

So who was I listening to? I really believed in my heart of hearts that it was God talking. I believed I was following His will. So was He just playing around? Did God change his mind? Had I eaten too many sausage links after my fast? Or was I just making things up in my head because that was what I wanted to happen?

While it's easy to say that it was probably the latter, I can't help but wonder if that's the case in other circumstances as well? Did God really tell me to leave my old church or was it something I wanted to do because I felt like the grass was greener on the other side? Did God tell me to go to film school or was it a desire he had already placed in my heart and the opportunity presented itself? Did God tell me to write that check? And if so, why did it put me further in a financial hole?

I mean, I know that all things work together for good. But it brings me back to the original question of does God speak to his people? And if he does, what does he sound like? How can I tell when it's him talking vs. me talking? And I know all the canned answers to that question–God won't ever tell you to do something that's against his word…etc…etc…It's not against God's word for me to want to have a husband. It's not against God's word to want to go to a church where I feel like I'm getting fed. I could look back on each of those circumstances and talk about the state of my heart and how I was really listening to myself and not God, but how am I supposed to know that when I'm in the situation? If you're hearing God's voice, isn't he supposed to be leading you down the right path?

Anybody have any insight on this? I'd love to hear your thoughts……

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4 responses

17 02 2009
Tara

Over the years, especially since I lost my husband. I’ve made a ton of mistakes, thinking that I was hearing the voice of God. The fact that I’m raising two children makes my mistakes more costly. I’ve been a Christian all of my adult life and I realized that I had never really fully, honestly surrendered my will to God’s will. I always had an agenda. Once I surrendered, I felt some real peace and great clarity. Deep down inside, what I Really want is what God wants for me. I say ask Him to help you to hear him clearly. I believe that he will grant your request. If your asking for a Cadillac or a million dollars – maybe not, but to hear His voice, yes.

18 02 2009
Angela

Have you ever read “How You Can Be Led By The Spirit of God” by Kenneth Hagin? I know he’s a controversial figure, but a lot of what he said makes sense. Not all, but a lot. Particularly that book. I need to pick it up again myself. I have had a lot of similar experiences and I now find myself searching through the mess that is my life and trying to figure out where the line is between “staying in faith” and being self-deluded.

18 02 2009
Avril

I actually have that book somewhere on my bookshelf. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it but it’s stuff like that that gets confusing. I remember reading that book a long time ago and feeling like I was following its principles. And at the time, several of the decisions I made were based on the principles in that book, including telling that guy I believed he was supposed to be my husband…maybe I’ll read it again and see what kind of insight I get now that my outlook/perspectives on God and faith have changed somewhat since then.

18 02 2009
[verb]swish

I wish I heard more people asking this question. It might just be the single most important thing a Christian can ask. The best teaching I’ve heard is from Greg Koukl, it’s called Decision-making and the will of God, and I totally recommend it. Life changing stuff, you can cop the Mp3 here or the book: http://tinyurl.com/d3a6ko
Macarthur also has an article (and book, I think) called Found: God’s will. Which I can’t find the url for, but the book is probably worth a look.
All the best, I hope you find what your looking for.
[v]s

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