Was That God Speaking?

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Deep down, I think we all want to hear from God; at least if his word to us is good. If it’s filled with conviction we tend to avoid anything remotely Jesus. 

“Jesus, tell me I’ll meet the girl of my dreams soon!” 

“Lord, tell me my next job is going to be lucrative!”

“God, help me make my connections.”

But to hear…

“That was a harsh thing to say to your future father-in-law.”

“You really think having another drink is going to fix your problems?”

“You know where that next click of porn leads to.”

Yeah, I’d avoid Jesus too, if he was saying that to me.  But then again, maybe I should listen to him.

When someone says “I have a word from the Lord.” my discernment radar goes up. Is this a legit word from God or the whims of an imaginative soul?  I am convinced God speaks today, and yes, he’s spoken to me. Not audibly, but in my spirit, he taps my heart with a timely message.  The reality is God desires a conversational intimacy with each of us. It comes through His Son, Jesus. If we walk with him, then learning to discern if it’s a word from God or not becomes higher on our daily priorities.

Here are three things to do when you think you heard from God.

1. Does what you heard from God align with the Bible?  Nothing God ever tells you today will contradict Scripture.   If you heard,

“God told me it’s OK to have sex with my girlfriend.” you can be 110% sure that it was your hormones talking and not Jesus!

If on the other hand, you heard “Your girlfriend is a keeper, just keep your hormones at bay.”, you can rest assured it probably was God talking.

To know if something you think you heard was from God, you have to know the Bible. This is why following Jesus is about abiding by his word consistently.

2. Look at your circumstances.  Does what God says to you align with the situation at hand?  Let’s say you are ready to walk into a presentation for a new client. You hear this “voice inside” telling you to bolt. Now, unless you step into the room and see a man with a gun or some hostile situation, it is highly unlikely God is telling you to bolt. That is probably your fears screaming, and God is not the author of fear.

Let’s say you wake up with a “word from God” that tells you to look for someone hurting today and care for them.”  You go through your day and discover a distraught co-worker. You take time to grab lunch with him and listen to his woes.  You can probably be assured that was a word from the Lord.

Walking with Jesus means being self-aware of what’s going on around you and engaging in what God speaks to you. Rarely does what God says not lead to some holy, helpful action. And, in many cases, His word is not just for you but is to have a positive impact on others.

3. Seek godly, wise counsel.  Was that just my brain going on a tangent or was it God speaking to me?  Seeking wise counsel from others who walk with Jesus is another way to confirm if what you heard was legit or not.  Sometimes, we think the Bible and circumstances confirm it is a word from God, but then wise counsel speaks otherwise. The question at that point is will we listen?

Let’s take these three things and run them through a real situation.

Recently, a young man was considering a job change. He thought he heard Jesus say “Yes.” but wasn’t for sure.  It’s not like the Bible has a specific verse for a specific job change.  Some of us try what is known as Bible roulette. We close our eyes, open our Bible, and point to a verse, thinking somehow God is going to speak through his inspired word.  Friends, it doesn’t work that way! Bible roulette is a disaster.

The Bible does speak about hard work and diligence in honing our skills and being our best at our work. So, for this young man, his work ethic is as solid as a rock. This “Yes” from God could possibly be legit.  But let’s look at the second question.  

What about the circumstances?  In his case, the businesses were similar, but the hours and pay at the current job were undermarket. He could ask for a raise and remain in his position, but there were no upward growth possibilities. His employer was handing the bulk of the business to him to manage while keeping the lion’s share of the profits. Not the best model employer. He also looked at his physical condition. Long days at work and sometimes on weekends left him tired, worn out, and frankly more susceptible to temptations.  He realized his current job was contributing to his struggle with porn. 

But, were those circumstances God telling him to jump ship and go to a different job?  Would that job be any better? Would his hours be better managed and consequently his temptations better addressed?

Yes, he kept hearing God say “Yes.”  

“Yes, to what, Jesus?”

The third part of this young man seeking to confirm if this was a word from God or not was to seek wise, godly counsel. Not just one or two guys, but several. Seeking wise counsel is not polling for vote approvals. It’s not seeing which way the wind is blowing but to discern if the word you heard is from the heart of God or from the spicy tacos you ate last night! 

In the end, the young man decided the “Yes” from God was indeed a true word. He made the decision to switch jobs. 

Several months later, I asked him how the new job was going. Good. Not perfect. Its own challenges. But, the process of changing jobs has drawn him to a closer conversation with Jesus. And, that is a good thing.

So, next time you think you heard from God, try these three tests to confirm if it was Him speaking or it was those spicy tacos you had last night!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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