Is it presumptuous to think that God speaks to people today in this modern era? Some think so and believe that God speaks only though the Bible. While the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, it also points out that He does indeed speak to us. Perhaps God does not communicate with us in the same way as the Old and New Testament heroes of the faith like Moses, who spoke “face to face” with God (see Exodus 33:11), but He does speak to our hearts and spirit.
When Christ died He said He had to leave this earth so He could send us His Holy Spirit. He told the disciples to wait until the Spirit came, which He did. This is commonly referred to as Pentecost, when the disciples met in the upper room and the Holy Sprit appeared with tongues of fire and those gathered there spoke different languages so that everyone could understand their speaking in their own native tongue.
This same Holy Spirit gave power to the disciples to heal, perform miracles, preach the Word of God and hear from Him. The Book of Acts recounts many incidents attesting to this power and the ability to hear God speak though the Holy Spirit. God spoke audibly o Saul on the road to Damascus before he became an apostle. “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’” (Acts 22:7-8). But the question still remains; does God speak to us today?
Yes, God does speak to us today in many ways. It may not be as dramatic or audible as in the case of Paul or Moses, but since we have the “spirit of God living in us” (1 Corinthians 3:16) we can hear His “still small voice” speaking to our hearts. He uses events in our lives, circumstances, the beauty of nature and impressions from the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. The problem is many of us are too busy to listen. We are caught up in a world wind of activity and barraged by information. It is so important for us to stop the merry-go-round and spend time with God and allow both His Word and Holy Spirit to talk to us.
How can we know it is God? Since we are fallible and make mistakes we need to test what we think God is telling us. Foremost, does it line up with scripture or is it contrary to the Word of God? If so, then it’s not from God. But just because we can make a mistake, doesn’t mean we should not attempt hearing from God. If we have that attitude towards life, we will live in fear and not fulfill God’s purpose for us in our life. For it is important to hear the Spirit, for it is the Holy Spirit that calls us in the first place and we need to train our spiritual ears to hear more and more from Him.
Second, is what we hear born of pride that will put others down, or will it lead people to truth without condemnation. There are both Christians and preachers out there who would do well to listen to the Holy Spirit when they preach or witness. Having the spirit of humility when we speak to others comes from spending time not only in the Word, but with God in prayer, which leads us to the third point about God speaking to us.
Prayer is communication with God, and the creator of the Universe did not set up communication to be one-sided; this is contrary to His nature, for He created us to be His children and to be in fellowship with Him. So God expects us to listen. His answers may come (as I said before) through the Word, circumstances or a distinct impression of the Holy Spirit. This feeling, inkling or notion is one of the many ways the Spirit can lead those who listen. Of course, we must be careful on relying solely on feelings, but neither can we disregard them. God gave us emotions for a reason. Do you know that over 40% of Americans believe in love at first sight? Now that may be a problem in some cases, but it tells you that people get strong impressions that lead them to make important choices. God also gave us passion, but we often waste this on the wrong things. God gave the apostle Paul a passion to serve Him. What has God given you a passion for? If we are led by the Holy Spirit we will seek Him and find the answer. He will give us wisdom—one of the primary reasons to listen to God, besides cultivating a relationship with Him. So how do we get this wisdom?
Can we just listen to our emotions? No. God has placed us to live in communities, to be part of a body. Godly people are a wonderful resource to test whether something we hear is from God or not. We do need to be careful who we choose to confer with and be open to input, but that’s why we need others. God did not make us to be totally independent, but to be part of a church body. Sometimes, they may rub us the wrong way about what they say, but you can then apply the reverse and test their words by the Word of God, which should always be your guide.
In these turbulent and tumultuous times, we need to hear from God and listen more to His guidance. He will not leave us or desert us. He has given us His Word, the Holy Spirit, our intellect, emotions and other people to help lead us into all truth. If you are interested in learning more about this subject Henry Blackaby’s book Hearing God is a valuable resource . If you would like to read more personal accounts of hearing God’s voice you can read my book, When God Speaks
If you enjoyed this article, please consider following me, by subscribing to my posts. I publish two to three articles a month.