Prophet: 10 Essential Guardrails for Hearing God’s Voice

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James W. Goll

In the journey of hearing God’s voice today effectively and accurately, you need the practical and personal work of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus clearly told his followers that those who hear His words and put them into practice are wise!

“Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded a rock” (Matt. 7:24–25).

To avoid error in the day in which we live, it is vital to grow in the submission to the Holy Spirit and learn to depend on Him. As you do so, you will find yourself walking squarely and safely in the center of the path He has for you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

Here are 10 essential and practical guardrails that will keep you on track as you learn to master the art of hearing and following God’s voice:

1. Don’t Make It Complicated! It is not hard to hear God. We tend to overcomplicate the whole matter.

The following three simple steps will help you in hearing God’s voice:

Step 1: Submit to His Lordship. Let’s ask Him to help silence our own thoughts, desires and opinions. We want to hear only the thoughts of the Lord. Take the advice given in Proverbs 3:6–7: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”

George Müller was an Englishman, one of the great evangelical champions of the faith. He lived this first principle. By faith alone, he supported vast orphanages. He would pray daily for the provisions to feed these hundreds of children who were under his care. One of the secrets in George Müller’s walk with God was so simple, yet it is rarely taught today: He told his followers that if they wanted to hear from God and pray in faith, then they first would have to cleanse themselves of their own opinions. Another word for this is “submission.”

We can’t hear God if we have a preformed opinion on an issue. We must submit to His lordship. We need to consciously submit our thoughts, our opinions, our preconceived attitudes and notions, and even our traditions, to the Lord.

Step 2: Resist the Enemy. We can use the authority Jesus Christ has given us as His disciples to silence the voice of the enemy. We can stand firm in our position as God’s own children. We need to learn what it means to apply the blood of Jesus over our lives. We can resist the enemy, who comes to our mind with all sorts of fears and plausible doubts. God’s Spirit in us will make us able to do what we can never do solo, and Jesus’ powerful name will convince Satan to leave. The apostle James wrote, “Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil ,and he will flee from you” (4:7). Submit first; then resist.

Step 3: Ask a question and expect God’s answer.

We should ask the very question that is in our heart, bringing it before the throne of Almighty God. Then we need to wait for Him to answer.

We should not expect to get an answer to pop right up (“You’ve got mail!”); rather, we should wait expectantly, believing that as we have submitted to God and resisted the enemy, we will be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9b).

At times, an immediate reply may come. The vital third step after submitting and resisting is to expect God to act.

2. Allow God to Speak However He Chooses. We should not try to dictate to God the guidance methods we prefer; rather, we must listen with a yielded heart. There is a direct link between yielding and hearing.

He may choose to speak to us in a method that we are not accustomed to. He can speak through His written Word, through a person, through dreams or visions, or through a quiet inner voice.

Having submitted to Him, resisted the enemy and asked for an answer, we should not dictate the way we want Him to respond to our request. Let’s receive grace from His storehouse, the grace of expectant yielding.

We need to always allow God to speak in the way He chooses.

3. Confess Any Known Sins. A clean heart is a prerequisite to hearing God.

We read in Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

If the Lord doesn’t even hear us, then we’re not going to receive the answer that we’re hoping for—because He hasn’t even heard the question yet.

The third tool for hearing God’s voice is foundational to the ABCs of Christianity—the confession of sins.

We need to confess our sins to our Father in Jesus’ great name. He is waiting to forgive us.

4. Obey the Last Thing God Said. Why would God give us new orders if we haven’t obeyed His last ones?

He’s waiting for us to do what He’s already told us to do. This alone could be a primary roadblock.

If He has already spoken, and we already know what is required of us, then we should go do it—for Jesus’ sake! It’s an issue of obedience.

5. Get Your Own Leading. God will use others to confirm our guidance, but we must learn to hear the voice of the Lord for ourselves.

God is a jealous God. That means He wants to talk with us personally. We need to become secure in our own identity in Christ. We must realize that we are sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe and that He wants to relate to us in our own right.

We should not be wrongly codependent on others. At the same time, we should not jump the tracks by cultivating an independent and rebellious spirit.

We need to hear God for ourselves. {eoa}

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