Something has occurred to me over the last couple of weeks regarding hearing the voice of God. That something is the idea that most of the time the reason God is so hard for most people to hear is the fact that they, not Him, are complicating things. So in this article, I want to address the most common mistakes that I see people making when it comes to hearing God’s voice.
When I think about some of the reasons we complicate hearing God’s voice, it all boils downs to erroneous expectations. “Expectation” is something that we often undervalue in Christianity. We love to talk about faith and some even mistakenly use faith and expectation interchangeably. However, the scriptures are clear that faith and expectation are two different but related things. Hebrews 11:1 says, faith is the substance of expectation. What I find is that most people don’t have a faith problem, they have an expectation problem. Likewise, when it comes to hearing the voice of God the problem is not that people don’t believe they can hear God, but it’s what and how they expect to hear that is the problem. Having the wrong expectation can lead to missing the voice of God when He speaks.
Here’s an example of what I am saying. If you have a satellite dish on your house and it is pointed toward the ground instead of towards the sky, the signal get’s distorted or even lost. The problem, however, is not with the signal that the satellite is emitting. The satellite is doing its job just fine. The problem is with the direction of the dish. Sometimes we are like the dish with our expectation of things that are not going to produce. So we oft expectations because we are looking in another direction when God speaks.
So what are some of the wayward expectations that I see most commonly when encountering people who struggle to hear from God? Here are the ones that God is directing me to address.
#1 God’s language is not based on the King James Bible.
When reading the Bible you will see the phrase, “Thus, saith the Lord,” proceed the prophet’s declaration. It is because of this example, that we often think that God must be Brittish. We tend to forget that the King James Bible is a translation based on the era in which King James lived. That included his culture. So other ways of saying “Thus saith the Lord” are simply “God said.”
My point is, don’t complicate things listening for God to speak in the King’s English. I know people are stressing their relationship with God when they say, “God saith, and thee shall be great, and though thou has struggled in the heretofore, it shall not be hereafter!” I just say to myself, “Oh Lord!”
Is it possible that one of the reasons you are struggling in your communication with God has something to do with how you expect Him to sound?
#2 God speaks simple messages.
This must be the most serious offense of the things I list today. There is nothing like sitting at church listening to someone who is trying to explain the 4th dimension of the heavenly counsel. I always know by such titles that I am in for a head trip with a speaker that has no clue that no one understands what he is saying . One of the basic principles of communication is the commonality language. In other words, true communication does not happen when we don’t speak the same language. That means that God, the creator of language understands that communication needs commonality.
This is also reflected in how He speaks. If I ask you to hear from God and you hear something like “the turtle is flying over.” Uh..then you are reaching to hear and your satellite is pointing to the ground. You are expecting a deep and complex message and missing the simple message. I think this is the travesty of the day when we consider the Gospel. Today the Gospel is so complicated to share. There are road maps and theories and classes for just sharing the message. But when you read the scriptures the Gospel is such a simple message. Just read the book of Acts. The Apostles share a simple message.
Now that being said, God does have a visual language that needs to be interpreted sometimes. But the interpretation is a simple message. Just consider when Nathan the Prophet confronted King David about his affair with Bathsheba. Nathan gave him an illustration and then interpreted that illustration and the message, in the end, was this, “You are the man.” See simple!
Don’t complicate things when you are listening to hear God’s voice. That applies to what He says plainly or what is derived from the interpretation of dreams and visions. God’s ultimate goal is communicating an idea that He wants you to have. So making it overly complex is counterproductive. Is your dish pointing so far beyond the stars that it passes the satellite that is sending out the signal? Don’t be deep. Keep it simple!
#3 Not all of God’s visions are spectacular!
Here is a good one! It has been my experience that most people have come to define visions by the grandiose experiences of John in the book of Revelation or the Prophet Ezekiel in his book. While these are certainly phenomenal experiences, they do not define visions. To really understand visions you have to look up the word in the original language each time you see it in a passage. If you do, what you will discover is that there’s are multiple words that we translate into the one word for vision. Each of these words in the original language teaches us that there are different kinds of visions and different ways in which a person might experience them.
One of the most common ways, that is often overlooked, is mental visions. What is strange about this is the fact that many people have dreams and we know that dreams happen in our minds. Though we know this we have somehow still convinced ourselves that all visions are of a spectacular nature. But Daniel says, in Daniel 4:29, “Oh King, as you lay on your bed thoughts entered into your mind, and the Ancient of days has revealed to the King what shall come after this.” So get this. Daniel tells the King that God is communicating with him in a visual way, and He is doing so in the King’s mind by inserting “thoughts.” Thoughts that became visual. Are you seeing it yet?
A dream is a visual thought. And the original language actually calls them night “visions” or something “seen” at night while sleeping. Now here is what I want you to consider, if God could insert His visual thoughts into the King’s mind while sleeping, then wouldn’t it make sense that God could do so with a person who is awake. In fact, Peter has a vision and fall into a trance. The word trance in the original language means to set aside reality. To put it simply, to daydream. Peter has a vision while he was awake.
What I want you to take from this is the simplicity of the truth presented. God can speak to you in a vision and it may or may not be spectacular. In fact, it may simply come as a mental image. I have had many. Sometimes I have seen words, movies, still pictures, and even spiritual beings. Now there is a link between Peter and every visionary experience that allows them to see visions. I won’t deal with that in this article, that is an issue best addressed separately. But ask yourself the question, has God spoken to me in a simple mental image? Have I missed the vision looking for something grandiose?
#4 God’s ability to speak to you is not limited by “the way” you believe He speaks.
In this era of the church, people have come to value labels. So there are people who actually call themselves by “the way” that they hear from God. They call themselves feelers, or hearers, or seers. Are these biblical? Yes! The only one most would question is the feeler, but by large, they are all biblical. What you will not find, however, is people who hear from God in a limited way. If nothing else is clear, the Bible is clear in saying that the prophets heard from God in “various ways” and at various times (see KK 1:00). This means that they had to learn to be open to God’s “various” ways and not get stuck in “a way” of hearing.
Hebrews 5:14 has become a popular scripture lately. Is says that mature food belongs to those who by reason of use have had their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Now what most people today use this passage to validate is the reality that we have spiritual senses. That is absolutely true. We have five spiritual senses that mirror our natural senses, but three are of importance to God.They are your sense of sight, hearing, and feeling. So most teachings today stress this reality. Then they do something that I find confusing. They teach people that they have a way or a sense through which God communicates. Wait a minute! I thought Hebrews 5:14 said our maturity is based on our ability to discern both good and evil with our “senses” not our “sense.”
My point in this section of the article is to help you see that one of the reasons I see people struggling to hear from God consistently is the fact that when God speaks to their spiritual ears they a trying to hear with their spiritual eyes. Or when He speak using their sense of feeling or perception, they are trying to hear with their ears. Again, the problem is not with the transmitter, it’s with the receiver. Do you have a fixed position on your satellite that prevents you from receiving God’s signal in other ways? Are you limiting your communication with God because you are a “seer” and not a “hearer”? Or a “feeler” and not a “seer”? Maybe we should take the advice of Hebrews 5:14 and develop “all” of our spiritual senses!
#5 God does not only talk about the future!
Of all the things listed here, this has to be one of the ways in which we miss God all the time. We have a wonderful thing happening today—people are learning about prophecy. While it is wonderful, it is also sometimes confused as the voice of God. Prophecy is only one way in which God may choose to manifest His voice. There are other ways listed that we have wrongly labeled. They are the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.
Most people have no idea when these gifts are operating. One of the reasons they don’t recognize this manifestation is because they have a limited understanding of what they do. Most people spend a great deal of time trying to get words of knowledge from God. In their understanding, the word of knowledge is information from God about people, places, and events past or present. The problem with this definition is that it is limited. The basic definitions of “word of knowledge” is intuitive knowledge not gained through natural means. It can take the form of revelation knowledge to a person about various things and even subjects. Or it can take the form of revelation through a person of various subjects.
The same is true in relation to words of wisdom. Words of wisdom can manifest as words of insight and instruction to a person or through a person. What this means is that prophecy, which is the foretelling or predictive voice of God, is not the only vocal manifestation of God. God may communicate to you a word that informs you, instructs you, or provides you with insight into the future.
Here is an example of word of wisdom and knowledge operating in my life. Last year as I sat at my desk, God said to me, “Don’t use the term make money. Money is not made. It is moved.” Then He proceeded to give me a clear mental vision of a pot of money and taught me all about money and how to make it flow in my direction. That knowledge was not new, but it was to me. So when I shared that knowledge it was confirmed as wise financial advice. Now I did not learn that through natural means. That was supernaturally imparted knowledge and wisdom about money.
So most people miss God because when they want a word they already have their satellite dishes turned towards hearing for the future. But sometimes, God’s wants to give you intuitive wisdom and knowledge about how to live right now. This is especially true with those who want to learn how to prophesy. They often miss God because they assume that everything God has to say to a person must speak of the future. But if you open yourselves up to hear whatever God has to say to a person, you will find that He may say something wise or provide them with knowledge. Then they will say to you what I hear all the time, “That’s so weird! I was just thinking about that today and I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do.” Just consider that Moses, before instituting his father-in-law’s advice about structuring a form of government, spent all day listening to the people’s problems, seeking God for advice, and speaking that advice into the lives of the people. He was prophesying words of wisdom and knowledge into their lives. Not just foretelling the future.
So let me close with this. Where is your satellite pointed? Are you being so dogmatic in your approach to hearing from God that you are missing Him when He speaks? If so, that is the source of your frustration. If you want to learn more about the voice of God I invite you to purchase your copy of God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil? or You can hear the voice of God Clearly. Both are available now on Amazon. Just follow the link below.