Every great leader in the Bible started off as just an ordinary person who heard God’s direction and then followed it, no matter how crazy it seemed. Recently, as I was reading Love Does by Bob Goff, I was overcome by the desire to be more open to crazy God adventures. The book made me long to be more open to breaking the rules and anticipating new possibilities. The key to being willing to “break the rules” in this way is being able to discern which of these adventures and possibilities are actually God-inspired opportunities.
Learning to discern God’s voice from all the other noise surrounding us is a gift God wants to develop in all his followers. So how can you know if an idea you have is God speaking to you or just indigestion resulting from the pizza you ate last night?
First, when God speaks, his instructions NEVER contradict the Bible. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for us and is intended to confirm and teach his will for our lives.
Second, when God speaks, it comes out of an encounter with him. Time in his word and prayer provide opportunities to hear from God and receive specific instructions for what he desires you to do.
When God speaks, and you have confirmed it is him speaking, it is the time to act. Hebrew 2:1 (ESV) explains, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” If you sense you are drifting away from God and struggling to hear his voice, here are some steps you can take to increase your sensitivity to him:
- Ask him to speak to you
- Come to him with thankfulness and humility
- Read his word with an open heart to receive his direction
- Be willing to do what he asks of you
Through the years, the hardest thing I have found about leadership is leading myself to obey God in whatever he asks of me. Just like the disciples Jesus called to leave their nets immediately and follow him, I desire to have the same trust and—dare I say—impulsivity. I want to be willing to take risks and act on instructions from God, even if it puts me in the path of danger.
When we follow God, it results in leading ourselves and sometimes others into amazing faith adventures, where God shows up and does incredible things. Are you listening for his voice today?