How to Hear God
When I was a newer Christian, I vividly remember my new Christian friends saying things like, “God spoke to me the other day.” And it was always jarring to me.
“You mean, like, you heard an audible voice?!”
And most would respond, “No! But I was reading my Bible and a verse jumped out at me, like God wanted me to read it.”
But some would take it a step further & say, “It’s not an audible voice but a super strong impression on my conscience: ‘Call this person!’ or, ‘Make this decision.’”
At first, I didn’t know what to think about it. But after reading through the Bible a few times, I finally realized that these experiences are what the Bible talks about when it mentions the prophetic in the New Testament.
Now, don’t misunderstand me: God isn’t speaking to people about adding new books to the Bible. The world is already filled with enough cult-groups. Rather, God wants to give us supernatural advantages in living life. And wouldn’t it be great if God could give us nudges and impressions when it comes to our friends, finances and futures?
Well, the good news is this: He DOES.
But how do I know if these nudges are from the Holy Spirit? What if I just have an overactive imagination? Or, worse, what if the devil is tempting me?
Well, for starters, we need to scrutinize all prophetic impressions according to scripture. And I strongly encourage people to submit their impressions to godly mentors as well (1 Cor. 14; 1 Thess 5:20-22). In some ways, I’ve found that the more I memorize God’s Word and the more mentors I have, the more God speaks to me in prophetic ways. The prophetic is a lot like fire. The more we create safeguards, the more God can fan the Holy Spirit’s fire.
But still? How do you know if it’s God or just a thought in your head?
Well, honestly, I don’t always know. But, here’s one way to know: If God always tells you what you want to hear, that’s probably not God. And keep in mind, the Bible admonishes us to use our prophetic gifts “in accordance to our faith” (Romans 12:5), i.e., The prophetic always requires an element of faith. Sometimes, I simply have to trust that the impression God is putting on my conscience is truly him.
One time, I happened to be with a friend at a night-club/restaurant and the Lord suddenly impressed upon my heart: “Go over to that lady and ask her if you can help her.” At first I thought: “No way! That’s crazy!” So, I resisted the impression even though it felt distinct from my own thoughts. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And sadly, I was too scared to step out and simply obey my conscience. About 20 minutes later, on the other side of the restaurant, someone grabbed me from behind. It was that very same lady. She was weeping and frantic so I asked her, “Are you okay?!” And she wept, “Absolutely not! My ex-boyfriend is here and he’s here to hurt me. Please! Can you help me get out of this place?”
So, after pulling her over to a nearby security guard, we called the police – who quickly came to resolve the domestic dispute. When all was said and done, I suddenly felt like God was showing me: “You won’t always have absolute confidence. But if you step out, I’ll use you to help people in supernatural ways.”
That’s why on Substance I.O.’s new album, I wrote a song called, “Pulse of Your Heart.” In fact, if you missed the music video, click here to see it. But in the lyrics, I wrote a prayer that’s intended to help people who are scared to walk in the prophetic.
“The world listens for truth yet can’t hear. The noisy atmosphere has drowned you out.” And then I lead into the prayer: “I turn down my noise. I’m listening. Let the pulse of your heart pound in me.”
Quite often, we’re afraid to turn down our doubts and simply take a risk. Instead of thinking, “What if it’s just a thought in my head?” ask yourself: “What if it’s God using me to do facilitate something miraculous?” When God nudges me to text someone or do something odd, I usually don’t waste the same amount of time I once did.
Don’t get me wrong: If God asks you to say or do something that could potentially hurt people spiritually or emotionally, then definitely run it by your mentors. The prophetic is for “strengthening, encouragement, and comfort” (1 Cor.14:3) – not for manipulation or confrontation.
But wherever you’re at in your prophetic maturity, start listening for God.
Listening for someone else’s pulse isn’t always easy. It takes time. But the more you do it, the quicker you get.
And it’s the same with God’s pulse. Now, all I need to do is begin worshipping God, and within moments, his prophetic voice starts flowing. It’s almost bizarre how quickly I can tap into it. So, when you sing the song from our new album, add some fresh faith to it:
“Let the pulse of your heart pound in me. Let me feel the spin of earth, and catch the strangeness of reality. Cause, you have put me here. You have planned for me a life worth living.”