Do you long to hear from God?
When I was younger, television shows used to represent a character’s internal conflict by depicting an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The angel of course was always trying to encourage this person to do the right thing, and the devil was trying to get this person to do what felt good.
Each time I would see these enactments, I would always think, “That’s so stupid. You know the devil is bad, so why are you listening to him?”
I feel the same today. But isn’t it easy to referee someone else’s thought process? It’s harder to detect when you are entertaining your own contradicting voices.
At any given time, there can be several different voices you hear inside your mind.
The voice you listen to can be the difference between peace and purpose and conflict and confusion.
Learning how to distinguish between them can save you years of frustration.
The peaceful voice.
This voice comes from God, who always speaks with peace and confidence. You may hear this voice in actual words, although it can also communicate via an impression in your head or a feeling in your heart. Some even refer to God’s voice as their gut. But be careful with “going with your gut” as this does not always communicate God’s truth. Rather, it can often communicate what you are familiar with. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure”. The peaceful voice will always prompt, it will never pressure. It is patient. However it communicates, God’s voice always bring clarity—never confusion. Does this mean that things He tells you to do will always be easy? No, but it does mean that you can rest assured that you are moving in the right direction.
The confusing voice.
This voice comes from Satan, and it is always deceiving. You can recognize it by the confusion, torment, and guilt it brings. Because his purpose is to keep you from fulfilling your God-given potential, Satan’s voice makes promises that run counter to God’s.
But be warned, this voice isn’t coming with a red cape and a pitchfork saying “I’ve come to deceive you”. Rather, this voice is discrete. It slips in just when you feel at peace with a decision and says “Yeah, but what about…?”
deceiving us. He knows that everything begins in the mind. So, if he can cut you off before you even get started, he’ll take that victory.
The critical voice.
This voice originally comes from parents, friends, or past relationship partners and is often critical and nagging. You hear their put-downs and doubts so much in real life that you start to internalize their voice and subject yourself to it via destructive thoughts that will limit your potential and keep you stuck.
Satan loves to play off of the critical voice. Remember, he’s the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He will take what you have been struggling with and use that to his advantage.
Listening to the deceptive voice of Satan or the critical voice of others can leave you wondering if you will ever feel at peace in your mind.
Well, I have good news. It is possible to quiet the chaos in your mind and develop a healthier way of responding.
So How Do You Listen to God’s Voice?
Your first step in being able to hear clearly from God is to quiet your inner world. Because your external world is a very noise place. You likely have 20 things vying for your attention at any given time.
How much easier would it be if God spoke to us clearly through loud, impactful moments? But that’s rarely how God speaks. He often speaks to us in a quiet voice. I believe it’s because he wants us to listen intently. It’s not that God can’t speak to us in demonstrative ways, but I know that I don’t want to have to yell or clang cymbals to get someone’s attention. And how much harder do you need to work at listening to someone who is whispering?
To hear from God effectively, your first step is to quiet your inner world.
If you are wondering how much your thoughts are keeping you from living a life of peace and purpose, I invite you to take the “How Toxic Are My Thoughts?” Quiz.
If you are struggling to believe what God says about you, I want to invite you to join us for ReThink. It’s a 4 week online course that teaches the practical biblical steps to controlling your thoughts to transform your life.