As we think about the issue of discerning the voice of God, one of the things we need to realize is that it will also be relevant - because it will fit the situation that you’re in. It will make sense. You won’t have to strain to make it apply. And furthermore, when you tell someone else, they’ll get it too.
What’s going on in your life? What’s going on in the lives of those around you? And you’ll see how it all fits and realize “so that’s what He’s doing!” Because of that relevance it will produce effects – does it stir you with devotion and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ? Does it turn you from sin and selfish ambition? Does it fill you with faith and resolve to strengthen and encourage others?
What are the effects of God Speaking?
The scripture says that the fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” We know that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. It’s certain that the Lord would never speak or act in any way that would produce effects other than we are taught by scripture to expect. This doesn’t infer that we’re putting God in a box, but rather it shows Him to be faithful to what we are trusting in.
How about conviction?
One of the ways you can know that you just heard from God is by the presence of conviction. By that I mean a strong persuasion of truth. In Acts 2:37, “When the people heard this they were cut to their heart! And said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers what should we do?!” Now, you know what it was that they just heard? In verse 37, “The same Jesus that you crucified is now Lord and Christ.” They were so overcome with conviction that they interrupted the sermon, “What should we do?!”
Genesis 3:8-9, “During the cool part of the day, the Lord God was walking in the garden. The man and the woman heard him, and they hid among the trees in the garden. The Lord God called to the man and said, ‘Where are you?” Now we know that when God asks the question it’s not because he needs to know the answer. So why did He ask? The same reason He always asks us questions. It’s not because He needs to know the answer, it’s because we need to know the answer.
Where are you?
The best way to counsel somebody is to ask them questions. Because out of their own mouth they will start answering in such a way that they will hear what they’re saying and realize the answer. The Lord said, “Adam, where are you?” And you’ve got to know that when that question entered Adam’s heart, it hit him. Oh my God, what have I done? I’m hiding from my friend. This carries it a step further when God asks Cain, “Where is your brother?” “Answer me.” It’s so significant that the first two questions God asks man is “where are you? and “where is your brother?”
You know what? He’s still asking those questions. Where are you? Where is your brother? Conviction. The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, piercing or judging the heart. Just like taking an arrow and hitting the mark. I’ve had a few arrows stuck in me. How about you?