“Who said that?”
How can we tell when we are hearing from God, and when the source of what we heard is from elsewhere?
Although He speaks to me, to explain how I knew that it was my Father was not as simple as I thought. I tried several times, but my explanation fell woefully short. In the end, I was less convinced than was my audience!
At long last, I get it!
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
If we’re not careful, we can read this: “and hearing by Scripture alone.” God is without limits – and this includes the ways in which He chooses to speak.
(This first bit is nothing new. The second part, though, is what is new and helpful to me.)
Now, the most common way (to me, anyhow), is through His Word. A verse jumps off the page at me. I may not fully understand what is being communicated at that moment, but I know it has significance. It resonates within my heart.
This was my experience in 2014. Isaiah 43:19 (Behold I am doing a new thing…) came across my radar dozens of times, beginning in January.
What He meant, and what I thought He meant were two very different things…but that’s another story!
The “Verse of the Day” from the You Version Bible on January 1 of this year was – you guessed it! Isaiah 43:19. I get a do-over! Woohoo!
The point is this: He let me know through Scripture that He was on the move in my life. By highlighting that verse over and over, He was being very emphatic. No “Truly, truly I say to you…” for me. Based on the number of times I came across this verse, I think He might have been talking “good and loud” – maybe even shouting – so I would hear Him!
Another way God speaks is through others. This is one of my least favorites, for it takes great discernment. Is what they said in line with what God reveals about Himself in Scripture, and with who He says I am? Is it consistent with the Word?
These should be written down and prayed over, not accepted at face value – no matter how godly the person who gave the “word” seems to be. I’ve gotten myself into messes countless times because I trusted the person, thus their counsel – but did not bother to seek God concerning what was said.
Leaving God out of the loop is never a good idea!
Another common way He communicates to me is through nature. I have a windowsill full of heart-shaped rocks. Hummingbirds come close enough that I could reach out and touch them. These are like little kisses on my cheek and remind me that I am dearly loved.
There are many other ways in which He communicates, as well. You probably know them better than I.
The question becomes,
“How do we know for sure that God is the source?”
In the past, I’ve been unable to state this part – even when I’ve been absolutely positive that it was my Father who spoke.
I finally got a handle on this in a way that I can share.
First, when I think I’ve heard from the Lord I must consider:
Does this increase my faith? After all, faith comes by hearing. If I am less confident in the Lord, then He is not speaking.
Next, does it stir up the Fruit of the Spirit? Do I have more of any of them?
- More love?
- More joy?
- More peace?
- More patience? (This one is a big tip-off for me!)
- More kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness?
- More self-control? (Another cue that helps me)
For instance, God once spoke to me through a movie I was watching. He pointed out the main character and stated that this is what He was going to do in a rather unsavory person whom I knew.
His word to me immediately increased my faith. It changed how I treated this person, and gave me a great deal of patience with them. When their behavior was crazy, I now had the ability to bite my tongue and keep loving them.
That was several years ago, and we are seeing the fruit of God’s work in this person. On my own, I’d never have believed it to be possible. His word gave me faith to believe.
Finally, does the “word” release me? Does it bring freedom?
This isn’t the sort of “release” that says, “Go ahead and leave your marriage, quit your job, or (basically) run away.” It doesn’t instantly end a trial or make life all better.
It is the sort of release that frees me to persevere without the baggage of fear, anxiety, worry. I am released from the belief that it’s all up to me.
When I’ve heard from the Lord, I feel settled in my heart. The chains that previous bound me concerning the matter fall away.
If I think I’ve heard from Abba, but do not have an increase in faith, the fruit of the Spirit, or a sense of freedom, then I know it was not His voice!
That’s my 833 words on the subject!
Do you have other methods by which you determine “Who said that?” Do tell. <3