My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me,~John 10:27.
Today I wanted to talk about something I think is vital to our identity in Christ, hearing from God. There are people all over the world who claim to be messengers for God. Do you take what they say and compare it to who you know God to be? Do you take what they say and compare it to God’s word? Or is every person who claims to be hearing from God deemed to be true? Do you take your own thoughts and measure them against God’s word and character? We can get into plenty of trouble by listening to the voices inside our own heads and listening to people without comparing it to the Gospel.
It starts with a thought….
Every thought you have is not your own. Yes, I said it. Just as the Holy Spirit can deposit a thought into your mind, the enemy can as well. He often disguises himself by speaking to people in first person. For example, a person who has been struggling with depression may have a thought, “I just want to die. I should kill myself.” Or a person who struggles with insecurity may have a thought, “No one likes me. Everyone hates me. Everyone is out to get me.” If those thoughts are not captured and measured against God’s word, the enemy plants a seed, that seed grows, and where the mind goes the body will eventually follow.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, ~2 Corinthians 10:5.
Every thought you have is not from God. We do have our own thoughts. Our thoughts can be good or bad. A thought is not necessarily sin. Our thoughts become sin when we meditate on what’s wrong and allow bad seeds to take root. Here’s an example. I have someone I have to deal with who is often difficult. I have had thoughts like, “I would like to duct tape your lips closed or I wish I had a remote to mute you.” Now those thoughts are not loving. In those moments I can fester on my negative thoughts or I can ask God to give me compassion for the person and help me to rely on the Holy Spirit to love them and be patient with them.
We can project our desires onto people or ourselves and say it’s God. Here’s an example. People will swear they heard God say they were going to marry a particular person. It can happen. Normally when that happens, God tells both people and both parties have an interest for one another. It would not make sense for God to tell one person and the other person has no desire for them at all. It’s contrary to His character. God is not the author of confusion, nor is He a control freak or out to control every detail of our lives. He provides input, and He still allows us to choose. For love involves freedom. Any thoughts that control us or cause us to obsess are not, I repeat not from God.
What are you hearing….
I’ve heard people say God yells at them or talks down to them. This is contrary to the character of God. He is perfect in patience. God will not call you a loser, call you names, or seek to condemn you. I am not perfect. I am far from it. When I do something that is not in line with God’s character, He says something like this, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on in your heart?” He gently pulls my heart closer to His. Or I get this feeling that I said or did the wrong thing and need to say to someone, “I apologize.” I’ve been a Christian since I was a little kid and I have never, ever in my 20+ years of knowing God had him treat me poorly or talk to me in a harsh, critical, cold, or unloving way. Even when I was clearly wrong, wrong, wrong…He draws me right back with love. Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?~Romans 2:4. God is kind. In the instances in the Bible where we see God rebuking people, killing them (old testament), etc…we have to understand He sees the heart of a person. We don’t know our own hearts and if we trust His nature as infinite in patience and wisdom, we realize He gives people many chances to repent before turning them over to their evil desires.
Hearing God through others…
Sometimes I am blissfully ignorant of something I have done wrong, hence the need for people around us who can speak the truth in love. Now, let me say there are some people who believe they are speaking the truth in love and they are destroying people with their criticism, hatred, pride, and arrogance. Not every person who claims to be speaking for God is hearing from God. The bible tells us this about speaking truth into other people’s lives…
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,~Matthew 7:3-5.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things,~Romans 2:1.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself,~Galatians 6:1.
God tells us to gently and humbly correct people. Most of the passages in the Bible speak about believers correcting believers. Someone will have to send me verses for those that tell us to go out and attack the world for their sins. God will judge the world. We are told to preach the Gospel and love people. Beating people up with the word is not loving them. Jesus modeled for us how to deal with sinners. He told them the truth that always led to a way of redemption. He would say, “Go and sin no more,” or “Come follow Me.”
God still speaks through people to bless us. He still speaks to us to bless us. He speaks things about what’s to come. I will do a separate post on the prophetic, but the goal of it is not to condemn people. The goal is to highlight what God is doing and will do in a person’s life. It is meant to be an encouragement or warning. There are people who love to give negative words. If the word is to prevent a disaster, awesome. If it’s to scare, embarrass, condemn, or hurt people, question the source or the messenger. I have had negative words from God, for example God has normally warned me when a betrayal was coming, when a loved one will pass, etc…those words are not encouraging. However, my heart is allowed to pray and grieve ahead of time. I would not go to a person and tell them, “God said your mom is going to die.” Why? Because this would create fear, panic, worry, etc…I can however pray. Pray the person lives longer. Pray for healing. Pray for their families. Everything we hear does not mean we are to share. I’ve learned some valuable lessons with this one. Just because it’s from God, does not mean He wants you to share it. God speaks to develop a relationship with us. I don’t share people’s secrets, confidences, or everything they tell me. Not everything from God is meant to be shared.
This is a recommendation not a do as I say. I recommend getting a small journal and writing down things you believe are from God. Date them. Compare them to the word of God and character of God. I have journals dating back to 1999. Some things I could scratch out since they were not from God. Some things came to pass and were certainly from God not my imagination. God told me I would be a worship leader before I ever had a desire for it or even played guitar. God is always speaking….He is longing to dive deeper into relationship with His children. God bless you.
Papa I ask that those who don’t feel they hear from You would be able to tune into Your frequency. I ask that any unbelief would be uprooted in our lives. May we know clearly Your voice and not follow the voice of a stranger. In Jesus name, Amen.