God uniquely speaks to each of our hearts, but how can we be sure we are hearing God’s voice?
By Larry Kreider
In the movie, The Ten Commandments, the Lord spoke to Moses in a deep, booming voice. Every Christian in love with Jesus desperately desires to hear His voice. However, the Lord rarely speaks in reverb—audibly giving us instructions! Instead, the Lord most often speaks to us by His Spirit speaking to our spirits in a “still, small voice” (see I Kings 19:11-13).
Most of the decisions in my life have come as a result of that “still, small voice.” When the Lord spoke to me about getting involved in church planting through small groups, He asked, “Are you willing to be involved in the underground church?” I did not hear a booming voice during an earthquake, but I clearly heard Him in a “still, small voice.”
In small group ministry—as we relate closely to people—it is important to hear God’s voice clearly. God uniquely speaks to each of our hearts, but how can we be sure we are hearing God’s voice? I learned some principles from a man of God once that have helped steer me in the right direction. He told the story of three lighthouses on a certain beach built to warn ships of the monstrous rocks that were just below the surface of the water. To avoid being snagged on the rocks, the captain had to make certain that the three lighthouse beacon lights aligned as he sailed his ship toward the harbor. In order to make sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, we should align three “lighthouses” before we move in a new direction.
The Word of God Must Align
The first lighthouse is the Word of God. There is no substitute for God’s Word. God told Joshua he should meditate on it and obey it: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). Make God’s Word your guide for all your beliefs and actions and earnestly seek God’s presence in your life. What God says in His Word is our standard to obey fully so we do not face shipwreck in our lives.
The Peace of God Must Align
The second spiritual lighthouse that we needs to be aligned is the peace of God. Do we have peace about it? A man was offered a job at a company with a huge increase in salary. He thought of all the wonderful things he could do with the extra money—use it to buy a needed apartment and help the homeless in his city. However, he did not have peace from God to take the job, so he turned it down. Many thought he was crazy because it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A short time later, the president of the company was implicated in illegal activities and the whole company came under scrutiny. Because he was able to discern his lack of peace, he avoided a very messy situation. Colossians 3:15 says the peace of God should rule, or be an umpire, to alert our hearts to hearing God’s voice clearly: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts through faith.”
Circumstances Must Align
The third lighthouse is one of circumstances. I have counseled some young men and women who were sure the Lord wanted them to marry a certain person, but that person was not getting the same message. When the Lord is in a situation, He will open the door for it: “But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me…” (I Corinthians 16:8-9). In Jeremiah 32, the Lord told Jeremiah that Hanamel would come and tell him to buy a certain field. The circumstances lined up just as the Lord said—Hanamel came and told Jeremiah to buy the field. Jeremiah knew for sure that the message was from the Lord. If the Lord is asking you to do something, He will make it clear. You can trust Him!
As we open our hearts to hear from God, let’s look for the three lighthouse beacon lights to line up—the Word of God, the peace of God and circumstances. If the lights do not line up, we are in danger of running into the rocks. I’m heading for the three beacon lights. How about you?
Larry shares more about hearing God’s voice in the book Speak Lord, I’m Listening. Check it out here!
Listen to episode 23 of the Larry Kreider Leadership Podcast, “Larry Kreider & Josh Good on How to Hear God’s Voice!”
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.