This message is actually not about anything specific God told me, but it is instead a warning. God makes abundantly clear in the Bible that He speaks to the hearts of His people through the Bible, by His Holy Spirit in line with the Bible, in dreams and visions, through His followers, and in any manner He so chooses. And herein lies the warning.
When you believe God has told you something, it is critically important that you do your best to make sure God has in fact spoken to your heart. Why? Because our human flesh also has a voice, the devil has a voice, and the world has a voice. We can be confused, and we can be deceived, we can be mistaken, we can be tempted to believe God has spoken when it is not God, etc. Plain and simple, we can be wrong.
One time a Jesus follower communicated with me that God had told him to do something that appeared to be illegal. He pulled a verse out of the Bible as proof He had heard from God, but the verse was out of context and did not relate to his situation. He did not seem to have sought godly counsel from other Jesus followers strong in their relationship with God and in the Bible, and off he went believing God had spoken and following the voice that did not appear to be God’s voice.
Rest assured he is not alone. Any of us are capable of thinking we have heard from God when we have not. I myself have fallen short in this at times, but over time as God has grown me I have become much better able to discern His will and His voice speaking to my heart. And God has taught me humility whereby I know when to ask for help recognizing His voice.
Example. I used to go places and do things convinced God had told me to do such. But I did not carefully measure what I heard against the Bible, I did not typically ask people to pray for me as I sought the Lord, and I did not often seek godly counsel from others to help me recognize His voice. Big problems followed!
On the other hand, over the 5 plus years I was on the road full-time for the Lord and ministry, people occasionally asked me how I knew where God wanted to send me as my next location. The answer? God. I prayed my heart out for sometimes months at a time, I asked others to pray for me on this, I steadily studied God’s Word day by day, I researched possible locations as I continued to cry out to God, and I sought counsel form Jesus followers to help make sure I was on track hearing God. Oh, what a difference this made! Over and again, God confirmed when I arrived in new locations that He had absolutely sent me!
The number one way to know God has spoken is to measure what you have heard with the Bible. God always speaks in line with the Bible never against it. Number two is to spend much time in the presence of God on a regular basis praising and worshiping Him, crying out to God in prayer, seeking Him, reading the Bible, learning from Him and about Him, growing closer to Him, and learning to discern His voice. In addition, seeking counsel from followers of Jesus who love the Lord with all their hearts and are strongly grounded in the Bible can be very helpful and important.
A few more examples. If you believe God has told you to marry someone who does not believe in Him, this does not line up with the Bible. If you believe God has told you to leave your spouse because you feel you have fallen in love with someone else, God has not spoken as this is not biblical. If you believe God has told you to allow your children to rule over you and to do whatever they desire without any consequences even when they are doing something ungodly, this is not God’s voice because this is not how He teaches parents in the Bible to raise their children.
Please, friend, be careful. God desires for us to hear, obey, and follow Him, and we need to strive hard to recognize His voice, to humble ourselves before Him, and to lovingly and faithfully follow Him!
Cry out to God to help you learn to recognize His voice, to hear His voice, and for all you need to follow His voice and His will for you this day and forevermore, AMEN!
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27 NKJV