“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5
Here it says other people are speaking to us, strangers. The world, the flesh, the devil has a voice and is speaking.
Today let’s answer the question, “How do we know if what we’re hearing is God, the devil or somethingwe just made it up ourselves?”
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” 1 John 4:1
There are going to be certain feelings or impressions that lead you one way, but first run them through a few tests, some filters.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
Testing an Impression
1. Does it line up with the Bible?
God’s voice will never contradict God’s word. God’s Will, will never contradict God’s word. He will never tell you to violate, ignore or disobey the Bible.
He’s not going to say one thing in the Bible and then say to you something else. For instance, in the book of Romans it says as a matter of conscience, we are to pay our taxes. So as we move into tax season, if you feel led to not pay your taxes or cheat your taxes a little bit, that did not come from God.
Here’s another example:
“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’ ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied…” Matthew 19:3-6
Jesus then goes on to quote the book of Genesis. He quotes the Bible. He asked the Pharisees why they were asking His opinon when it had already been written.
Instead of answering these questions about right and wrong, just point to God and His word. What makes Him God is that He gets to say what’s right or wrong. If we are following Him, we will know the answer.
The context of this passage is divorce, but it could be a number of topics. God does not hate divorced people, He hates divorce. If you are honest, you do too. God hates anything that hurts us. He loves you and he can redeem anything you’ve been through. If you’ve gone through the tragedy of this, God’s word also says that He can redeem and heal anything.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Luke 21:33
So, there will even be a new heaven and a new earth, but God’s word will not need to be new. His word is true forever.
2. Will it make me more like Christ?
In other words, will the thing you are feeling, if you follow through with it, will it make you more like Jesus or less like Jesus? This is God’s ultimate purpose for you. This really is our ultimate goal after salvation. Don’t make it your goal before salvation. You have to meet Jesus, love him and surrender your life to Him before you’ll have what it takes to become like Him. You don’t have to get your act together to become a Christian. Salvation is free. You don’t have to earn it.
Once you’re saved we work out that salvation. Regeneration is going to take place. This means that the more you know Christ, the more you become like Him.
Let Him work on your attitude, decision making and all your choices. We are not where we need to be, but thank God, we’re not where we used to be.
At Rock Brook we help you grow in your faith in two primary ways: Growth Track & Small Groups. Visit the connect tab on our website to find out more about these to pathways to growth.
“In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 NCV
“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
If you still say,”I don’t even know what Jesus would do.” Let’s look at a list found in scripture.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, is considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:16-18
This is a great grid to think through. First notice he says there are two ways to know it’s not from God and many ways to know if it is from God.
He says if it’s not from God, it’s full of envy or selfish-ambition.
God does not give selfish ideas. We come up with them ourselves. If you have a great idea that’s going to make you filthy rich, everyone’s going to be envious of you and you are going to be the top dog, God says that idea is not from Him. God didn’t put you on earth to bless your selfish ambition and live for yourself.
If you get an idea and it’s from God, it’s going to be one of these things…
Pure: An impure thought is not from God.
Peace-loving: Ideas from God promote harmony, not division. God is not going to give you an idea to create conflict in your family, marriage, small group, workplace or at church. To divide people into this side and that side, means gossip is present and gossip is not from God. When we criticize, condemn and gossip about others, we’re just doing the devil’s work for him.
Considerate: Will your idea help you but hurt someone else? Then it’s not from God.
Submissive: Teachable, the willingness to have the idea checked by someone else, is submitting that idea to them.
Full of Mercy: Will my idea make me more gracious, more fogiving? You’ve been forgiven, so be gracious to everyone else. God has cut you some slack, do that for others. When you think you hear from God, but you’re critical and always judging others, it’s proof you haven’t heard from God. It takes no wisdom or maturity to criticize others.
Impartial and Sincere: Don’t use what God tells you to manipulate others. If God gives you a dream, you’ll never have to manipulate to see it happen. You may have to work hard, but you’ll never have to manipulate or control. God is in control. When God gives you a dream or a word, surrender it back to Him.
What a great list to help us know if we are growing more like Christ. Here’s another filter we can use.
3. Does godly counsel agree?
You’ll be in a situation where people say different things, look for agreement. When you’re working on something or planning something, there’s power in agreement. Don’ trust every spirit, instead test it to make sure it’s of God.
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
The wisest people aren’t the ones who know everything. The wisest people are the ones that know they don’t know everything. Wise people ask questions before they answer questions. Wise people know there’s always more to the story.
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21
“Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 24:6
This isn’t suggesting going person to person that when they don’t give you the report you want, so I’ll go to someone else. If you don’t have any agreement, just stop.
4. Do I have peace?
What’s so unique about Christianity is that we don’t just worship an external God, we have God in us. You have this spirit, the Holy Spirit inside of you, and that’s a powerful thing.
You’ve felt it before. You’ve felt the clash of God’s spirit to your flesh wanting to go two different ways. Like the devil on the shoulder and the angel on the other. That’s a cartoon version of a reality.
How does God talk? Peace.
Jesus says it’s a peace the world can’t even give. There’s not a bottle or pill that can give it. God has a peace that the world cannot give. Follow that.
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV
He doesn’t author confusion, He’s the God of peace. Some of the biggest decisions in your life will have fears, will make you take risks, but there can be a peace with God about it.
Peace is an inner state, regardless of what’s happening on the outside. Now there’s a difference between peace, and justifying. Being able to justify something verses having peace with God about it.
Justifying something is when you find a reason that you tell yourself is a good enough reason to go ahead with something. If peace is an inner state, justifying is a legal argument. We can come up with an argument and justify why we need to buy this or why we need to do this at work, but when all that settles down, do you have peace about it?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Live in such a way that regardless of what you face, you sense this garrison, this army surrounding your heart and mind with peace. Whatever the circumstances, God is able to guard your heart and mind with peace in Christ Jesus.
How do you get this peace daily in your life? This series of posts is called Frequency, we’re trying to tune into a frequency, the voice of God. But that word has a double meaning. Frequency also means, often. In other words, we need to tune in to God’s Frequency, frequently. Here’s some ways that God’s Frequency can have some frequency.
- Tune in to God every day.
So the goal of daily Bible reading and prayer isn’t just to check a box. No, those are tools to tune into God. The ultimate goal of reading the Bible, isn’t to read the Bible, it’s to lead you to the person of the Bible. To know God’s nature and presence.
The goal of getting in the word is to meet the Word, Jesus Christ. Don’t make the moment the goal, but how well you tuned into God. Make time for God every day, slow down to hear his voice.
“When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice.” John 10:4 MSG
People who hear God’s voice are those who spend time with that voice to where they’re familiar with it.
- Tune out things that oppose God.
You have to actively shut down the voices that oppose God. We should all grapple with how much of the secular, the parts of the world, opposes God.
What in the world doesn’t bother you anymore, but it should?
If certain sins don’t bother you, that’s the problem. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in it, it no longer bothers us.
“They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” John 10:5 MSG
- Take steps toward what God has spoken.
Why would God keep talking to you if you didn’t do what he told you before? Take the step.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 MSG
Not only do they hear the voice, they do something about it.
Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on the Whispers of God. God whispers encouragement, warnings, direction and dreams. Have you experienced that this week?
Hear the Word
Read: John 10 & Philippians 4
To know if we are hearing God, we have to be able to recognize His voice. God’s voice will never disagree with His Word, so when we are wondering if God really spoke to us, we can ask ourselves,
- Does it line up with the Bible?
- Will it make me more like Christ?
- Does godly counsel agree?
- Do I have peace?
- What stood out to you in this message? What was timely for you?
- Does it line up with the Bible? Why won’t God contradict what he says in his Word? How exactly do we test what we perceive to be God’s voice against the Bible? Share a situation when God guided you. How did it line up with God’s Word? On the flip side, share a time when you were contradicting the Bible. What happened?
- Will it make me more like Christ? What is the difference between wisdom motivated by envy or ambition and wisdom that comes from God? (James3:16-18)
- Does Godly counsel agree? Who is a believer that you have gone to for advice? If you don’t have anyone, spend this week praying for God to show you someone you can find Godly counsel in.
- Do I have peace? What is God’s antidote to worry, anxiousness and confusion? Share a time when following God relieved these negative feelings.
- Tune in to God every day. Tune out thing that oppose God. What are you doing to take steps towards God this week?
Tell Someone Else
This week, pray using 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” As you go throughout your week and in your prayer life, challenge yourself to take every thought and spoken word and make them obedient to God’s word as you encourage others.