Testing God’s Whispers
In the Book The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, and Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels, he presents some great ‘filters’ in determining if you are hearing God’s voice or not.
Filter #1 - Is the Prompting Truly from God?
Be sure to test it.
Does this fit with who I know you to be?
Is it consistent with God’s character?
Is it aligned with your attributes?
Is this ‘You’ trying to convey something to me or are there other voices of emotion getting into my head?
When I sense a prompting from God, I ask myself if I could imagine Jesus taking the action I’m considering.
If I can’t envision Jesus doing this – my wires may have gotten crossed.
Filter #2 - Is it Scriptural?
I’ve heard people say, ‘God told me to:’
‘Drop out of school with one semester left’
‘Cheat on my spouse.’
‘To quite my job – even though I have no idea how I’ll cover my
‘Take people from this church and start my own church.’
What about the direction of scripture? We cannot disregard the teaching of scripture to continue in the path that we want to pursue.
Filter #3 – Is it Wise?
Be wise as serpents & harmless as doves. Matt. 10.16
The entire book of Proverbs is devoted to understanding wisdom.
Scripture is relentless in exhorting us to be wise on all our dealings, to be wise in all our ways.
Among the things believers have pursued ignoring the lack of wisdom in their actions are:
- Buying a house that is higher than the budget allows.
- Getting married after knowing each other for 2 months.
- A business investment that has not been thoroughly researched.
Is this truly a wise decision?
Filter #4 - Is it in Tune With Your own Character?
Is this leading consistent with your own wiring?
I caution people against running headlong into a field that is totally foreign to their wiring patterns, education, expertise or life experience thus far.
A businessperson being moved by a music number in church and believing God is leading him to go into the music industry.
A leader carefully asks -
‘Do you have any formal musical training?’ – ‘No’
‘Do you have any experience singing or songwriting?’ ‘No’
“…maybe you are just inspired by the gift of others?”
It’s not that God cannot endorse a dramatic 180 degree turn it’s just that typically when he does so it gets affirmed in a variety of legitimate confirmations.
Filter #5 - What do the People You Most Trust Think About it?
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Prov. 11:14
The idea is when ever you sense that God is speaking to you, find two or three veteran Christ followers – preferably people who know you well and who are further down the spiritual path than you are and take some time to describe the situation to them in detail. Humbly ask them “do you think God really did speak to me? Or do you think I’m getting my wires crossed?”
If you are NOT sensing any promptings from God throughout the course of your day, week or month, check on one of the following areas.
First - Fervently and frequently ask God to improve your hearing.
Second – Reduce the ambient noise in your life. Find a way that you get away – even in your own city – a walk on the beach, a hike or a trip to the park can help quiet things down to hear.
Be still & know I am God. Ps46:10
Reduce your speed. Lower the ambient noise of your life & listen for God to speak.
Third – You must fill your head with scripture.
Fourthly – The Bible makes it clear that any ongoing pattern of wrongdoing compromises our communication with God – in both directions. Our prayers don’t get through to God & God’s whispers don’t get through to us.
God’s direction in our life is a gift. He desires to lead us and to speak into our life.
Listen for His whispers.