Is hearing God’s voice a part of the New Age movement, mysticism, or not?
As Christians, we must be cautious with how we say things. Our words can easily be misconstrued and that can result in public criticism or misunderstanding by people who have different beliefs than we do, but then we should never restrain from sharing our stories—even when we know we are subjecting ourselves to ridicule from others.
God Speaks to Me
I am preparing to write several books that I’ve put on the back burner for too many years, and as I do so, I have researched how to say what I need to say (without putting so much carefulness into my words that I don’t tell my story as it is). Specifically, the main purpose of at least one of my upcoming books is to share the everyday experiences that I’ve had with God.
Before I heard God speak to me a decade ago, I didn’t believe I could hear his voice. I am no different than others in that respect. If I had not recognized that he had spoken to me at that time, I would still be in the boat with others, thinking things like you are strange, people cannot hear God speak into them.
The latest attempt from Satan to hold me back from my writing assignments nearly succeeded as I read several online comments from people, one of which was, “Those that profess that they hear God’s voice have been sucked into New Age mysticism.” So, I dug into the Word and went to several trusted sources for guidance, and then I slid a strong foundation beneath the whys and hows of hearing God’s voice as Christians in today’s world.
God’s Voice based on Scripture
Several passages in the bible describe how God’s children hear his voice.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27, King James Version)
Who are the sheep? Believers. Jesus is our shepherd, our protector.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13, New International Version)
The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit, the one that enters us when we become children of God.
How we Hear God’s Voice
We do not audibly hear God’s voice, but we do hear him through scripture, sermons, music lyrics, as well as through other Christians, and through his word (the Bible). We also hear him through urgings, nudges, and convictions from the Holy Spirit that indwells in born again believers.
Charles Stanley, of InTouch Ministries, explains how we hear God’s voice so well (much of this is paraphrased, and some of this content are my own beliefs):
- Primary Source –His word.
All other methods of listening to God must be checked and compared with scripture to determine if we are accurately hearing him.
- Prayer – Be still and listen for God’s guidance.
We do not always receive answers to prayers while we pray, but we may hear revelation (of God’s thoughts) from the Holy Spirit as we pray. God answers our prayers with a yes, no, or not now.
Some of my favorite guiding words, which remind me to be patient and wait for an answer to prayer, is written on my whiteboard above my office desk: seek, knock, believe, and find. God does answer all our prayers, when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, and when we wholly believe that God hears and answers our prayers.
- Speak through Our Circumstances – Speaking through our circumstances involves us picking up on God’s direction through circumstances in life, meaning, answers to prayer or revelation may happen through and during life itself, and when our mind is open to what God has put before us, we know when it comes from him.
Prayer is often answered when we aren’t thinking about it. I often notice that the Holy Spirit brings answers to prayer to me when I am least expecting it. I believe he knows when my heart is ideally receptive to hearing what he says to me. This doesn’t mean I will agree with what I am hearing (remember, yes, no, and not now), but it means my heart and mind are quiet and still and I clearly receive what God has to say to me.
- Speak through other Christians – We hear God’s voice through words spoke by other Christians, such as affirmations, confirmations, encouragement, reproof, and warnings. I enjoy a wide range of friends who will speak to me in truth and love—those that set me straight when they see me step to the left or right of God’s directions. Why? It is a part of how he watches over me and speaks to me.
Author C.S. Lewis said, “God speaks to our hearts through His Holy Spirit in an audible but compelling way.” Yes, this is beautiful, thank you, Father, for loving us as your children!
Filtering Out the Noise
How do you know that it is God you are hearing from? I’ll give you an example, when friends ask me to pray for them, to help them seek direction from the Lord, and when I believe I have received Word from God for them, I must discern what I receive by asking myself, Is this me, what I want or think (as a human), or is this direction from the Holy Spirit?
We must compare everything we think we hear from God to scripture. We must study and know God’s design for our lives. Otherwise, we can fall into the dangerous trap of believing thoughts derived from our own human nature, or the worldly beliefs of others.
The Holy Spirit will speak the truth into us, but we must want and be prepared to listen.
Returning to the question I presented at the beginning of this blog, is hearing God’s voice a part of the New Age movement, mysticism, or not?
Do you “hear” when God speaks into your thoughts? (Notice: I didn’t ask if he speaks into your thoughts, because he does. You just might not recognize it.)