How To Know if What You’re Hearing is From God
I received a question from a friend who wanted to know how she could know for certain if what she was seeing or hearing was from God. Here’s my answer to this question:
No one should allow themselves to be tricked into thinking they’re hearing from God when they aren’t. We need to know that we aren’t just imagining things. While I think it’s impossible to know with 100% certainty that you’re hearing from God and not yourself, I think we can achieve a high level of certainty. Let me explain how we can arrive at a high degree of certainty.
Part of what we deal with when we doubt that we’re hearing from God is a bias in our mind that has been placed there by our educational system. Unless you attended a Christian school system, it’s likely that your default way of thinking has been biased toward a philosophy of naturalism. That is to say – we’ve been taught to think that God (if He even exists) rarely involves Himself in the affairs of men. He rarely speaks to us – and if He does it’s with a loud, booming voice that is so obvious it can’t be mistaken for anything else. This is the way I was taught to think about God. This philosophy creates doubt in our mind that we can actually hear from God.
The truth of the matter is quite different from this. From the very beginning of time, when God first spoke into the emptiness and the creation came forth – the voice of God has never stopped speaking. Although some people find it hard to recognize God’s voice, He is always, eternally speaking to His creation. The problem isn’t that God isn’t saying anything. The problem is that our minds have been trained to misinterpret His voice as our own thoughts.
God communicates in a variety of ways. Among other modes of communication, He speaks to us through visions, dreams, and faint thought impressions that carry messages. These things are at first, difficult to discern. It’s easy to attribute them to our own mind. But here’s the thing that I noticed about God’s visions and thoughts that allow me to distinguish them from my own.
I’ve been traveling around the sun for half a century. In that time, I’ve come to know my own way of I thinking pretty well. When someone quotes me on Facebook and I see it — I recognize where the thought came from. If someone copied and pasted one of my articles on their Facebook page and I read it — I would immediately recognize it as mine. If someone posted one of my pencil drawings on their page, I would spot it and know it was mine. I recognize my own thoughts when I hear them. I recognize the creative visual material of my own mind when I see it.
When I hear a thought that is unfamiliar, I also recognize it as being “not from me.”
When I see a visual image that is foreign to my own creativity – I recognize it as being “not mine.”
God’s thoughts are much more sublime than my own thoughts. They’re full of love, life, wisdom, compassion, and mercy. My own thoughts don’t have those qualities. When I have a thought that oozes those qualities, I know it didn’t come from me. I know that every good and perfect thing comes down from the Father of lights (Jas. 1:17) so I know its source immediately. The same is true for visual images. God’s images are full of beautiful inexpressible colors, textures, patterns, and light. They are often very unearthly in appearance. Not always – but most of the time. My mind doesn’t conjure up such images, so again – when I see these images, I know the source can’t be me, so it must be God.
Half the battle of knowing that what you’re seeing or hearing is from God is simply a matter of knowing that it isn’t from you. The other part of the equation is faith. While it would be great to know with absolute certainty that what we’re seeing or hearing is from God, His kingdom doesn’t work that way. Everything we do in the kingdom is done by faith.
We prophesy by faith. We heal by faith. We raise the dead by faith.
Faith is trusting that the revelation we’re receiving is from God. Not knowing for sure that it’s from Him—trusting that it’s from Him. The more you prophesy, the more your faith for prophecy grows. The more you heal, the more your faith for healing grows. The more you walk on water, the more your faith for walking on water grows.
The confirmation that you’re hearing God accurately is seen when you examine the fruit of it. If you get an impression that a stranger has back pain (through a word of knowledge) and you ask them about it and they confirm that they have back pain, the revelation is confirmed. You’re hearing from God.
You might get an impression that you should enter a store and speak to the person working behind the counter about a death in their family. If you go in and talk with them and learn that their mother just passed away and you’re able to comfort them – the revelation is confirmed. You’re hearing from God.
As we obey the revelation we receive, and it produces fruit, we grow in confidence that we’re hearing accurately from God.
If you’d like to learn more about hearing God’s voice, you might check out my book Hearing God’s Voice Made Simple.