Four Ways God Speaks to You

“God does speak — sometimes one way and sometimes another — even though people may not understand it” (Job 33:14 NCV).
A lot of us think we’re too busy to listen for God’s response. But we have to take the time to tune in and listen, because God is speaking. Job 33:14 says, “God does speak — sometimes one way and sometimes another — even though people may not understand it” (NCV).
The question is, “How do I understand it? How do I tune in so that I can hear God’s voice?”
Here are four of the channels that God uses:
God speaks to us through the Bible. It’s your guidebook for life. It shows you the right step to take. That is why you need to read God’s Word every day. If you’re not having a daily quiet time and reading the Bible, God is getting a busy signal when he wants to speak to you. You have to keep a constant connection, because God’s will is found in God’s Word.
God speaks to us through teachers. Have you ever been in a church service and felt like what the teacher was saying was a direct message from God to you? There’s no way I or any other teacher could figure out exactly what to say to meet every need. But God knows. So before every service I pray, “God, you know the people and the needs out there. Give me the right things to say.” Somehow, in the way only he can, God uses my teaching and the teaching of other pastors to meet the needs of people who are listening.
God speaks to us through impressions. There are two extremes to this. One extreme is the rationalist who believes no impression can be from God; it all has to be logical. At the other extreme is the mystical belief that every impression is from God. You need to get in the middle and realize that every impression has to match God’s Word.
God speaks to us through our circumstances. If we’re going to live a life of significance, God’s got to make constant course corrections, and one of the things he uses to do that is the circumstances that come into our lives. When you start to listen to God through circumstances, impressions, teachers, or the Bible, sometimes he’s going to lead you in ways that you don’t understand. Hang in there! Following God is not always easy, but it will reap more blessing in your life than you can imagine.

Talk It Over
When was a time that God used one of these channels to speak to you about his will for your life?
How do you think God wants you to test an impression to see if it is from God?
How do you need to change your perspective on your circumstances so that God can use them to speak to you?

How Do You Find God’s Will?

God … invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, even Christ our Lord”(1 Corinthians 1:9 TLB).

God’s not playing games with you. He wants you to understand his will, his purpose, and his plan for your life.

You may say, “I want God to guide me, but I still get confused. I don’t know what to do.” Often the problem is we’re looking for the wrong thing. You need to know what you’re looking for before you can find it.

So, what is God’s will?

God’s will is not a feeling.

Some of you are looking for a feeling or a supernatural sign. You want God to pull your heartstring so you’ll know exactly what to do.

The problem is that feelings are unreliable; they will often guide you the wrong way. Feelings can come from fatigue, hormones, or an event you’ve just experienced. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful” (NIV). Even your heart plays tricks on you. Even the devil can create a feeling. If I had listened to my feelings, I would never have married my wife, Kay. The day before the wedding, my feelings said, “Run!” But that wasn’t God’s will. It was fear!

Don’t wait for a feeling when you’re trying to figure out God’s plan for your life.

God’s will is not a formula.

In our culture, we want everything to be easy. We want things to follow a simple formula so it will instantly change our lives. We want a step-by-step guide.

But there’s a problem with this approach: There’s no room for mistakes. If God’s will is a recipe, what happens if you leave out one ingredient? If you leave baking soda out of a recipe, you’ve got the difference between a birthday cake and a pancake. What if you have “52 Steps to Knowing God’s Will,” and you leave out number 37?

God’s will is not a closed system. It is dynamic! It is not always an issue of choosing A or B. In fact, many times you can choose from A to Z, and any of them will be OK. It’s your choice. Why would God give you a brain and not expect you to use it? He lets you make choices, and he gives you second chances.

If God’s will is not a feeling or a formula, then what is it?

God’s will is a relationship.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God … invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, even Christ our Lord” (TLB).

There is very little in the Bible about the technique of knowing God’s will. But there are thousands of verses that talk about developing a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Why? Because God’s will is a relationship.

The better you get to know him, the less confusion you’re going to have about what his will is. Get to know God, and everything else becomes secondary.

Talk It Over

  • What does God want you to do if you get a feeling that you believe is telling you something about God’s will?
  • Why do you think God allows us to make choices and even mistakes when we are searching for his will?
  • How can you get to know God better?

Your Pain Often Reveals God’s Purpose

[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others . . . When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4a, 6 NLT, second edition).

Your pain often reveals God’s purpose for you. God never wastes a hurt! If you’ve gone through a hurt, he wants you to help other people going through a similar hurt. He wants you to share it. God can use the problems in your life to give you a ministry to others. In fact, the very thing you’re most ashamed of in your life and resent the most, could become your greatest ministry in helping other people.

Who can better help somebody going through a bankruptcy than somebody who went through a bankruptcy? Who can better help somebody struggling with an addiction than somebody who’s struggled with an addiction? Who can better help parents of a special needs child than parents who raised a special needs child? Who can better help somebody who’s lost a child than somebody who lost a child?

The very thing you hate the most in your life is what God wants to use for good in your life.

The Bible says, “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others . . . When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4a, 6 NLT, second edition).

This is called redemptive suffering. Redemptive suffering is when you go through a problem or a pain for the benefit of others.

This is what Jesus did. When Jesus died on the cross, he didn’t deserve to die. He went through that pain for your benefit so that you can be saved and go to Heaven.

There are many different causes for the problems, pains, and suffering in your life. Sometimes the stuff that happens you bring on yourself. When you make stupid decisions, then it causes pain in your life. If you go out and overspend and buy things you can’t afford and presume on the future, and then you go deeply in debt and lose your house, you can’t say, “God, why did you let me lose my house?” You can’t blame God for your bad choices.

But in some of your problems, you’re innocent. You’ve been hurt by the pain, stupidity, and sins of other people. And some of the pain in your life is for redemptive suffering. God often allows us to go through a problem so that we can then help others.

Talk It Over

  • What are some of the problems in your life that you have questioned God about or wondered why they had to happen to you?
  • How can you use your painful experience to minister to others?
  • Why do you think God does not always reveal his purpose to us? How should we respond when this is the case?

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