By Allen White
He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. (John 8:47)
The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." (John 10:3-5, NIV)
We recognize the voices of those we are close to. When we receive a call from our spouse, our children, our parents, or close friends, they don’t need to identify themselves. We know who it is, even without caller ID.
Jesus says that those who belong to God will recognize His voice. Now, I believe that I belong to God, yet I have never heard God speak in an audible voice. How does God speak to us? We can hear God through thoughts and impressions. We can hear God through ideas and insights. But, how do we know that it’s God speaking and not wishful thinking or indigestion?
Here’s a simple test: When I compare what I think God is saying to God’s Word, the Bible, how does it stand up? God will not lead in a way that contradicts His Word.
When I consult with mature believers, what do they have to say? Does it resonate with them or do they think I’m out to lunch?
How do my circumstances measure up to what I feel is God’s leading? What is my God-given common sense telling me?
Many people are afraid to listen to God. They’re too afraid that they will make a mistake or sound foolish. God does speak to us, but it takes skill and experience to hear His voice. Start listening. Do a lot of checking with the Word and with others. Then, use plenty of common sense.
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