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You > Article Archive > Content

Knowing God’s Voice


By Dr. Charles Stanley

Many people wonder today if God still speaks to believers. This question is the subject of numerous books, articles, and lectures. If He does communicate directly to His followers, how does He do so? Can we know the message is really from Him?

The Lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. God’s Spirit  dwells within each Christian, just as Jesus promised in John 14: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (vv. 15-17, emphasis added).

The book of Acts records several occasions when the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul and Peter. It can’t be denied that those men had a special gift and call upon their lives. They were apostles—men handpicked by Christ to spread the gospel worldwide. But the same Holy Spirit who indwelt those men lives within every believer today. Just as they needed God’s direction at critical times in their lives, we also need divine guidance.

In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, the apostle Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). It would be difficult to lead someone with whom you were not communicating. The same is true for the Holy Spirit. If we’re going to be led by Him, we can only assume He is more than willing—and able—to speak to us.

Like the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit is equally God, and He freely submits to the Father’s will. Jesus explained that “when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come" (John 16:13).  

There are three important things this verse teaches us:

  1. The Holy Spirit is trustworthy.
    The third person of the Trinity is called the Spirit of truth. He leads believers into truth, and that makes Him reliable. Moreover, He is one with the Father and is sent by Him.
  2.  

  3. The Holy Spirit will guide us.
    Jesus didn’t say that the Helper, or “Counselor,” would control us; rather, the Lord said that His Spirit would guide us. Granted, there may be times when we wish God would take charge of our lives and all the choices we make. But He doesn’t and never will. We possess the ability to willfully follow His leading. As a result, we are always responsible for our words and actions.

    The Spirit helps believers discern between what is true and false, wise and foolish, right and wrong. Each day is full of decisions. Most of them concern issues not specifically addressed in the Scriptures—for example, Where should I attend school? What job should I take? Should we sell our house or move to another city? And these are just a few of life’s difficult questions. We often need help finding our way.

    As you handle the details of everyday life, God uses His Spirit to lead you. Through Him, the Lord provides the discernment you need to make both big and small choices. As you develop a greater sensitivity to His promptings, you’ll worry much less about the decisions facing you.
  4.  

  5. The Holy Spirit is God’s “mouthpiece.”
    God has chosen to communicate to His children through His Spirit. Because He abides within believers, the Holy Spirit has direct access to our hearts, minds, and spirits. When God chooses to speak directly to you, it will always be through this divine Counselor. Even reading the Bible should be an activity in which we invite Him to lead us.
  6.  

Knowing the voice of God through His Spirit is something we learn over time. This recognition requires that we live day to day in submission to the Lord, setting aside time to quiet our minds and still our bodies. We must also go to Him regularly throughout the day, in the midst of our tasks and obligations, joys and worries. Eventually, we will come to know His voice so well that we’ll be able to hear Him even in the most difficult and busy circumstances.

Does God speak to believers? You better believe it. The real question is whether we’re we willing to listen to Him. Are you?

Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.

 

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Listening to God - Walking with God

The Lord wants all believers to walk in close relationship with Him. The Bible reveals the Father's overall plan for the world and provides general guidelines for life. But how can we know His specific plans for us? Listening to God is essential to walking with God (Life Principle #13). In order to know the Father's will, we must learn to hear His voice. (Watch Listening to God - Walking with God.)

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • August 01, 2012 11:58 AM

    by

    I have been watching Dr. Stanley on tv for about 8 years. I have felt in that time that I was on a spiritual journey and have experienced so many instances where Dr. Stanley explained and spoke to my heart regarding a situation that I was facing at the exact time that I needed to hear this information. This morning, as I prepared for work, I was struggling once again with the decision to move from my home to another city. I began thinking that God doesn't really speak very directly to me anymore and that I should just make decisions with my own mind - at that moment - my cell phone rang. It was Dr. Stanely leaving a message that spoke to me so directly. I checked his website today, and found this great explanation regarding the Holy Spirit. I enjoyed reading all of your comments; it is so uplifting to have Dr. Stanely in our lives & to be able to connect to others who have experienced the great word of God. Thank "you" Dr. Stanley for listening to God - your own willingness to listen and obey God has blessed us all. I am encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit once again. May God continue to bless your ministry. I also wanted to say that I have experienced a similar showering of God's love that someone commented on earlier. It was the most amazing experience of my life; I have never felt such joy, peace, love and happiness. I also know that the Holy Spirit has guided me in many instances (and I simply couldn't explain how I knew something or to avoid a situation, but I did). My mother raised me to "always listen to my gut feeling". I raise my kids with this same very important message. I have now explained to them that this "gut feeling" is actually the Holy Spirit. I don't know why I would ever doubt that God speaks to us, after I have experienced his amazing grace in so many ways. May God bless you all.
  • August 01, 2012 07:58 AM

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    Bless you Pastor, I just love talking to God, but the beauty of talking to Him is; When He talks back. Thank You Lord for reigning in my life.
  • August 01, 2012 04:19 AM

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    I am always blessed to tap from the teaching grace that God has given you....God has used you to affirm so many things in my heart.
  • July 31, 2012 10:02 AM

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    thank you for the explaining on this word.
  • July 31, 2012 07:04 AM

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    insipiration and life changing messages.mugo,pastoring in Kenya.
  • July 30, 2012 07:14 PM

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    I was thrilled to hear this sermon (Knowing God's Voice). I have never heard anyone explain it so wonderfully as you did Pastor Stanley. I am 75 yrs. old and this sermon has enriched me with my prayer life and my bible reading. Thank you so much for your annointed sermons, every Sunday, we listen before we go to church. Your very inspiring to me and my husband.
  • July 30, 2012 05:44 PM

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    Thank you for this post.
  • July 30, 2012 12:45 PM

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    When God talks to you, he leaves you with no doubt that you are hearing from Him. You may not be able to explain how you can know this, but you will. Its a wonderful, beautiful, amazing, loving experience, that really happens to you! Just like in the Bible! And you are left with no doubt that God is real and with you always.Thoughts and knowledge that are not your own are suddenly made known to you in an instantaneous mind blowing experience. And you want that experience again and again.
  • July 30, 2012 10:46 AM

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    I sometimes forget about God's spirit that is in my heart, which means I'm not walking with God and listening close enough. I have felt His presence & it was like golden sunshine pouring over me, reaching deep inside me to my very soul. It was the most wonder feeling. It was like something I can't really explain, warmth, love, happiness. I just closed my eyes & enjoyed His presence. That's the reason, I believe, our bodies could not tolerate the full awsom happiness & love of God poured out on us in our human bodies. It would kill us. What I felt was just a sampling of what is to come, thank you Lord Jesus!!
  • July 30, 2012 08:08 AM

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    I find it always a blessing to read God's Word and knowing the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thank God also for using Pastor Charles Stanley in delivering God's word to the people....very timely. God bless ur ministry.
  • July 29, 2012 05:17 PM

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    My husband and I always watch your sermons and get such a blessing from them. I teach ladies 70-80 and the message about listening to God has been such an inspiration and enlightment. Our prayer is that many more will learn to listen to God
  • July 29, 2012 04:21 PM

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    Thank you Dr Stanley for all that you teach every day to enrich our lives as beleives ...we love Jesus, God , the holy Spirit..and you for making learning exciting, fun and for some of us,even possible..thank you oxxo
  • July 29, 2012 12:40 PM

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    Blessed is our LORD for He is true and faithful in all His ways, thanks brother Stanley for allowing the HOLY SPIRIT to guide you in GODS purpose for your life and share with others........blessings to you and your family!!!
  • July 29, 2012 11:10 AM

    by

    Thank you Lord
  • July 29, 2012 08:24 AM

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    Thank God for the written words from the man of God may God bless u all..
  • July 29, 2012 08:23 AM

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    I believe God "is" speaking to believer today as He did in the days before. Indeed we have to sit as His feet as Mary
    So when He speak to us we will know His voice & never doubt. Thank you Dr. Stanley for your ever
    Practical lessons that helps us draw closer to our Father.
  • July 28, 2012 09:33 PM

    by

    The Holy Spirit is a person you can always count on.
  • July 28, 2012 09:17 PM

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    The Holy Spirit is the most trust worthy and direct person that you will want to always be in touch with.
  • May 17, 2012 12:25 PM

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    Im blessed to have read this thank you
  • April 29, 2012 11:21 AM

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    Dr. Stanley, you are TRULY a man of God. I became a Christian about 2 1/2 years ago...but I feel I can't COMPETE with the FAITH of 1 such as you with 50+ years of practicing the " God's Word". I was leading an UNGODLY lifestyle of drug addiction: I have AIDS as a result + suffered a STROKE at 39yrs. of age-I need SO MANY prayers to be ANSWERED. I just feel OVERWHELMED. How can I know God's will for me? I know He saved me from THE PIT as a TESTIMONY-but I am DISABLED from a broken hip ; can't get to any CHURCH...Can you make ANY SUGGESTIONS in my TWISTED LIFE???, Steve G.
  • March 06, 2012 09:59 PM

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    wonderful words!
  • February 23, 2012 02:54 PM

    by

    MY BELOVED MOTHER USE LEAVE CHARLES STANLEY BOOKS IN THE BATHROOM SINCE I WAS A CHILD. NOW I AM 43. HIS BOOKS ARR SUCH A BLESSING TO ME
  • December 19, 2011 03:16 PM

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    Great words on the third person of the Trinity!
  • October 25, 2011 07:23 PM

    by

    Awesome article on hearing God's voice!
  • October 16, 2010 07:41 PM

    by

    One of overarching truths we have to live by, but easy to forget

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