Whether you’re a brand new believer or someone who has been a follower of Christ for many years, you’ve likely questioned at some point how to know when God is really speaking to you.
Most of us err on the side of caution when it comes to hearing from God, and there is wisdom in that approach. God does tell us in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
We must be very careful not to mistake our own instincts (which can be swayed by our flawed emotions – or worse – spirits that are not of God) for the voice of God. Yet, as I’ve grown my relationship with the Holy Spirit, I’ve discovered that there is such a thing as being too cautious, rigid, and dare I say unbelieving when it comes to hearing from the Holy Spirit; and this lack of freedom in our relationship with Him robs us of immeasurable blessings and joy that He has in store for us.
God gracefully began to pull me out of my unknowing disbelief in this area several years ago when my husband and I joined a church that prioritized being led by the Holy Spirit. I remember the first time a pastor asked to pray for me. She started describing a vision she was seeing in real time which, without outright saying, she implied was being given to her by the Holy Spirit as a message of encouragement for me.
The picture she described resonated deeply within me and I found myself eager to learn how this pastor had received not only an amazing supernatural gift, but the discernment to know it was actually an image from God and not just her own imagination. I asked her these questions over coffee a few weeks later, hoping to find a clear-cut answer on how I, too, could receive this type of revelation from the Holy Spirit.
She reassured me that my desire to fully understand this type of experience was coming from a good place, and that she herself had these same questions when she first began to seek different gifts of the Holy Spirit.