How do we know it’s God’s voice?

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Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. You know, this last week we began our summer series where we’re going to hear from a number of our leaders, all of our elders, in fact, and then a few of our staff the ways God has worked in their lives and made a tremendous difference. And we’re hoping to show the way that God worked in scripture is still the way that he works today. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So the question comes in this week of how do we know that it is God working in our lives?

Or when people say, I feel like God is leading me to do something, how do they know that it is God leading them? Or when somebody says, I hear God speaking to me, how do they know that that’s God and not something else, or just some daydream in their mind? Those are all great questions, and so I have to address it a few different ways. On the one hand, the last verse of Romans eleven, from him, through him and to him are all things. There is a sense that anything that comes into our lives, God has a purpose for nothing that happens to us catches God off guard.

Nothing that happens to us. God is unprepared to work into our story in some way. And Romans 828 says that he’s going to work all things together for, for our good, even the bad things, even the worst things. He’s going to somehow put them into a bigger picture that works out for our good and the good of others and his glory in the end. So in one sense, everything that happens is God’s working in our lives.

But in another sense, when people say they feel like God is leading them, a lot of times what they’re thinking through is what is the direction of peace? You know, the end of Galatians we have the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control. And so if the spirit is taking us in a direction, then we will probably experience more of the fruit of the spirit in that direction, whereas maybe a different direction. Paul compares there in Galatians six, he says, you know, the acts of the sinful nature are obvious, whether it’s discord or rage or factions or dissensions and other things.

And so sometimes we can kind of sense which direction the spirit might be going.

Importantly, when we say, you know, directions of peace, joy, patience, goodness, that doesn’t necessarily mean ease. The spirit could take us through something very difficult and hard, treacherous. But we would, we would have a sense of God’s goodness and peace, joy and presence. Even in the midst of it. That’s not 100%, of course, these are just kind of general trends that we might or might not experience, but that generally is what people are looking for when they’re looking for God’s direction.

Same with God speaking. You know, I know there’s a train of theology, or a vein of theology called cessationism, which would say God doesn’t speak anymore to hear his voice. But I’ve met people who have said that they have experienced that, and I tend to believe them. If what they say that God said lines up with scripture, and that is the ultimate final test. Scripture is our authoritative word of God that is unchanging.

And if somebody feels like they’re led in a direction, or if somebody feels like God is telling them audibly to go in a direction that contradicts something in scripture, we can very confidently say, no, that is not God leading you. That is something else. Whatever we think God might be telling us, or wherever we think God might be leading us must align with scripture. If it doesn’t, then it’s not God, right? The Holy Spirit didn’t say one thing over here in scripture and telling us something contrary over here, because God remains unchanged and his word is authoritative for all of us for all time.

So that’s always the final test. We hope that adds some clarity as you look to discern what God might be up to in your life in these days. What we know for sure is that he is working. Thanks for the question, and we’ll see you next time.