How to Hear the Voice of God

Everyone struggles, at some point in life, with their confidence in hearing the voice of God and discerning His direction for their lives.  

  • “Is that God really talking to me?”
  • “Do I take that job or this job?”
  • “Is he/she the one for me?”
  • “Do I stay or do I go?”
  • “Do I buy this house or that house?”

Over the years, I have observed that there are, broadly speaking, two distinct schools of thinking among believers with regard to divine guidance and the discovery of God’s will for our lives.

School #1 - By far the largest, is summed up by the mentality that says: “I don’t move without God’s guidance.”

School #2 - The complete opposite, says: “I don’t expect God’s guidance until I move.”

I wonder which school you belong to? Do you believe that God’s guidance is the cause of your movement, or an affect your movement causes?

School #1 believes that divine guidance is like a map showing them where to go and what to do.

School #2 believes that God doesn’t do maps; just compasses. A compass is the built-in guidance system God has placed within every Believer, consisting of their gifts, passions, leanings and deepest concerns. These are inner guides and are indicators of the direction towards their personal ‘true north’.

School #2 believes that if they follow their heart they will end up in the perfect will of God for their lives without trying to plot a precise course towards it.

Abraham was a member of School #2.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 (NIV)

Notice what Abraham did... he obeyed and went, but he did not know where he was going. In other words, Abraham wasn’t given a map, just a command to leave where he was and go in the general direction of Canaan.

We know that God directed his life, at times very specifically, but that was only after he created the initial movement and momentum by his original obedience.

Although Abraham didn’t know where he was going, but he did know where to leave. God told him to leave his country, his people, and his family.

If all you know is that you can’t stay where you are, then that’s enough to create movement in the right direction.  

We don’t need to know where to go or what to do next before we move.  

Knowing that you can’t stay where you are is your inner compass drawing you towards the future; listen to it and follow it.

God will be many things to your life – Savior, Father, Provider, Healer, and Restorer - but one thing God will not be is your chauffeur. God doesn’t want to be your driver in life. God wants you to drive and He will give directions when necessary - like driving with the GPS on. We are to live our lives with our Holy Spirit GPS on.

I was not always a member of school #2. I remember vividly what caused me to leave school #1. It was the end of August and I had just turned 2I. I was about to start my senior year of college and in 9 months I would be graduating. Two weeks after I graduated Verna and I would be getting married and I had no clue what I would be doing next. It’s one thing not knowing what you are doing next but it’s a whole other ball game when you have another person to be responsible for while you don’t know what you are going to do!

I remember having dinner with my dad, and telling him, "I don't know what to do Dad. How do I find the will of God for my life?" My Dad responded, "Jonathan, the will of God is not lost, it is lived out every day."

The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Psalms 37:23 (Amp)

This verse, and many others, all indicate that God directs steps and movement, not stationary things. God is drawn to people in motion, not those stuck in park.

I remember once reading that the space shuttle’s guidance system wasn’t actually engaged or used until it was miles from the ground. Only when it was in full motion, heading in the general direction of space - which, by the way, is up - did its guidance system kick in.

Many of God’s people are stuck on the launch pad waiting for guidance to kick in when they already know the general direction is up. Just head up; just get moving in the general non-specific, non-detailed direction of where you know your up is. Put your hand to what you know to do.

Step out; attempt something; take a risk; live a little.

For the last 4 decades I have been a fully paid up member of the second school of guidance! I firmly believe that the Bible contains far more evidence to support the idea that God is drawn to people in motion than He is to people who are in park praying about His will.

Maybe you’re a firm believer in the #1 School of guidance, but I invite you to try the second school. I can’t promise that you will prefer it, but I can promise you an adventure of a lifetime! I can also promise that there’s plenty of room in that school for millions of new students!