The Know Your God series was birthed in January this year when I felt the Spirit of God hovering over these words, “Know your God”. Follow along here as I share revelation + practical ways for you to get caught up in the Romance of God… and fall in love with Him all over again.
Many of us know with our minds that God speaks. The Bible says so, and we know theoretically that He wants a relationship with us. We just need a little help in getting that theory to become reality.
A question I get often is, “How do I hear the voice of God?” I struggled with this question for years and years, often ending up in tears of condemnation and fear — Why couldn’t I hear God? Was there something wrong with me, with my heart? Was my heart so hardened that I wouldn’t allow God to speak to me? Was I so sinful that God was displeased and didn’t want to come close to me? Was I unlovable and that’s why God didn’t love me / want to speak to me?
I eventually learned that we cannot start off getting to know God by how-to’s and a list of do’s and dont’s – we don’t approach Him with a formula or by looking at how good/deserving we are. That only leads to strife, condemnation, pride, fear.
He is a person, and we must begin by getting to know Him – His ways, His heart, His personality. And the more we get to know Him, the clearer His voice will be to us because we have learned to recognize the Person behind the voice.
So we begin to address the question of, “How do I hear God’s voice?” by answering this: How does God speak?
God speaks in many ways. There is a depth to His personality that we could spend eternity discovering, but here are 5 foundational truths that I have found to help me in my discovery of Him.
1. God speaks to be heard by you.
Yes, YOU. The way He speaks to you is as unique as the personality He gave you and the journey He has planned for you. God speaks to us in our unique love language(s) and He will speak to you in ways that you can receive.
He is not some far-away elusive God who wants to remain aloof. He wants to be found, wants to be known. He speaks your language – if you are a nature lover, He will speak to you through nature. If you are a music person, He will use music to speak to you. It doesn’t matter if you like shopping, or reading, or painting… He will speak to you through them all because God is far less religious than we are. Nothing is too little nor too shallow for Him to communicate with us by.
He has been breathing life into nothingness from Genesis, and continues to speak life into the mundane – that is why He often speaks to us in the most common and ordinary ways.
2. God speaks in the little everyday moments; in the most common and ordinary of ways.
Some people feel that God is a God who is way up there; distant, detached, untouchable. Some people think that only the very religious, holiest, elite, have access to the heart of God.
Over the years, I have found that God delights in revealing Himself to ordinary people. Not only to those who fast and pray, the pastors, the prophets, the ministers… though He loves to reveal Himself to them too. But I have found that He also loves showing Himself to the unlikeliest people in society –the young, the old, the hidden, the shy, the quiet ones, the ordinary.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, because God wants to be your best friend. He wants to do life with you, to just be with you in your everyday life. He could speak through a random advertisement on the train, or in the lyrics of a song, or the words of a child. A sentence in that book that you’re reading might cause your heart to leap, or maybe a scene in a movie that brought you to tears – all these are the little ways that God tugs at our hearts.
What moves you? What makes you come alive? That is the way that God hardwired you to be, and that is the way in which He will speak to you often. Don’t disdain the little, ordinary moments. The best Bible stories are the ones about encounters between ordinary people and an extraordinary God, and I think it’s because they inspire us to believe that our ordinary lives could be all lit up with rays of eternity.
3. God speaks because He wants a relationship with you.
You see, He has everything in the whole universe at His fingertips and yet human beings are the only ones whom He will give everything for. He is looking for friends, not servants. He wants covenant relationship, not religious piety.
God speaks not just to tell us what to do or give us direction, though He often does that as a Father would a child. Neither does He only speak to rebuke or scold us. He speaks because He wants close friendship with you. Everything else flows out of this deep desire for His heart to be joined to yours.
He wants to tell you what makes Him happy and what makes Him sad. What He’s thinking about and what are the burdens on His heart. He has many servants, but few friends. He is looking for those who would go past the outer courts, into the Holy of Holies, where He can share His secrets and the deep things of His heart.
4. God speaks in creative and romantic ways.
Don’t put Him in a box or limit Him. He might surprise you one day with a beautiful rainbow, or a majestic sunset. Or maybe a beautiful flower by the roadside of your usual jogging route.
You might be having a particularly lousy day, and suddenly a stranger does something nice for you that makes the whole day better. Or maybe you’re losing faith in a particular situation, and then you hear a song or see a billboard that talks about hope. He knows what you need in that moment, and He delights in delighting you with new expressions of love.
When you’ve found the way that God speaks to you – through dreams, or Scripture, or nature, or songs, etc – remember not to put Him back in that box. He might change the ways through which He speaks to you, because He wants most for you to know Him more & more. It is a continuous journey of discovering new things about Him everyday – and isn’t that what makes this relationship so exciting?
5. God speaks with love.
Sometimes He has to rebuke and guide us, but His rebuke is always full of love.
If you hear words of condemnation, loathing, or rejection, it is not God’s voice. His rebuke is always kind, His chastisement full of love. His remonstrations will always lead us and empower us to repentance and change, not condemnation and paralysis.
God is love, and His voice will always be wrapped with love and gentleness.
Next week, we will talk about the practical ways in which we can learn to hear the voice of God. But until then, take some time each day to observe what’s around you and say, “Lord, what do you want to talk about today?”
It takes practice to keep aware of the little ways that God speaks to you, but start practicing and you will see amazing things. Ask Holy Spirit to help you notice Jesus in your everyday moments; that’s what He’s there for and what He loves to do. A good practice is to start each day with this prayer the moment you wake up, “Holy Spirit, be my best friend today. I want us to keep in step with each other throughout the day; help my heart to sense your heart even when things get busy.”
Keep praying this everyday and wait and see what the Lord will do for you!
Samantha, it speaks so much how God loves to speak to us.For me, He speaks to me in the beautiful sunsets, clouds that formed pictures in my mind, blooming flowers, songs that ministered to my hearts and make me cry, words that encouraged and challenged me.
You have piece them together so lovingly and beautifully in your words that brought tears of thankfulness and gratefulness to our ABBA Father.
Thanks Samantha! God’s Beloved.
Beautiful blog post, I’m so glad I came across your blog.
Beautiful post! God definitely speaks with love <3
What a beautifully written post!
Your post is so thorough–this is such an important part of the life of a believer, thank you for writing this!
Yes, God speaks in the little things and with romance. I loved this piece. In December I found myself so surprised to win a very beautiful chaise lounge chair with white fur and perfect for my bedroom. Lots of circumstances but I felt it was a present from God. Thank you for writing this and reminding me. God is in your words.
I agree with you one thing I share with people is that a true relationship with God is personal. So when he speaks it will be an intimate moment with you and him. lovely post
God speaks to us in so many ways. The place I hear Him most is in His Word. I don’t have to guess if it is Him. I can read it over and over again and hear His love song in my heart. This is a great post. Thank you for sharing it.
As usual, your posts are so timely! The verse that comes to mind when I read this is Psalm 25:14 “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.”
Continue to speak truth Sam!
Yes, so true! I have found that God speaks to my heart in a quiet voice when I ask for His wisdom, or gives me the tiniest messages that are so profound. One of my favorites is a long story, but I wrote about it on my blog.http://heavennotharvard.com/2014/08/25/the-butterfly-effect/
Beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing!
I love this! So beautiful and so true! Visiting from the Peony Project!
This was beautiful. Thank you so much. I liked your pictures as well. 🙂
Lovely post. Excellent reminder to us that God speaks to all of us in various ways.
This was right on time. I need to hear from God today and this spoke to my heart. Thanks= you!
I love this post. I always find myself wondering if God was speaking to me through this or that. I love that God builds relationship with us this way!
This is great – love it! It’s often a gentle whisper that we will miss if we aren’t open to it. His love is communicated in so many ways – we just need to keep seeking Him! Lovely write up!
beautiful post 🙂 It really made me smile and appreciate the small things that I have in my life. Thank you!
Love this post, your pictures are amazing.
#2 is my favorite! Thanks for a beautiful post!
Thank you for sharing such uplifting messages! We need more of these.
A very good post! I really like #2
Wonderful post and a great reminder. I hear God a lot in nature!
Beautiful reminder of how God speaks. Thank you for the insightful reminder. I’m so grateful He does speak today!
I love hearing God speak to me. My time with Him each morning is so very precious. Thanks for all these precious reminders of HIs love for me and how He wants to be known by me. Amen, sister.
This was such a beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing!!
He can be so difficult to hear sometimes, but so worth it! My kindergartener already can’t wait til he can hear God too. It’s adorable.
thank you for this beautiful post about recognizing the ways in which God speaks.
Thank you for sharing this post… very thought provoking.
This is a great reminder. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for this post! Its very important to now how God speaks to us. Often when think He’s not speaking, but in reality we are listening.
I love that you point out that God speaks to us in so many different ways, any way that we would feel that connection because he knows us so well!
I appreciate hearing about how people find their spiritual guidance, and how they go about living it out. It is a beautiful journey and we can all learn from each other. G-d bless!
Gosh, I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!! xo
I love this so much! I used to get so frustrated when it seemed like people around me were having these awesome conversations with God and I couldn’t hear him at all. Then…as you describe…I began to see the ways in which God speaks. Ahh, there are so many ways! Now, I don’t just see beauty, I hear God in the beauty. I don’t just enjoy the embrace of a friend, I feel God in the middle of that hug. It’s a triple hug!
I think I have experienced all these some time over the course of my life. One of the most valuable moments in my life was when our Sunday School class was working on material that asked to go on a God Hunt. Such a simple exercise. Yet, the impact was huge. I am conscious now more than any other time in my life of how speaks to us in the little moments, through the little things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Wonderful post Samantha! I especially love #14- not putting God in a box. I do. We do. I’ll try to remember that! Thanks
I spent a lot of time when I was younger completely confused thinking I would audibly hear God. I would agree that it often is in the little moments. Thanks for sharing!
This is so helpful. I find God uses my children to teach me and speak to me. He also has put friends in my life who aren’t afraid to speak what He has told them.
Growing up fundamentalist/evangelical, I was told that as a born-again Christian God would “speak to me”, “move me”, and “lead me” so that I would know and could follow his will. I listened to others talk about how God spoke to them, moved them, and led them to do this and to do that…but He never did the same for me. I finally came to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me because God had decided he didn’t want to talk to me. So I left the Church.
Many years later I became an orthodox Lutheran and was told that God doesn’t work like that. The evangelicals are wrong. The voice they are listening to is their own. According to “true” Christianity, God speaks to Christians in only one manner: through his Word, the Bible.
That gave me a lot of peace…until I found out that the “Word” is full of discrepancies, errors, and scribe alterations.
I was very sad (and angry) to find out—it is ALL nonsense.
So what about my problem of not hearing the “voice” that other evangelicals were hearing speak, move, and lead them? After deconverting completely from Christianity, I came to realize that it was THEM, not me, that had the problem. They were hearing voices. I was the sane one…who did not.