Jesus promised his sheep would be able to hear and discern his voice (John 10:27). For Jesus' faithful followers, it's a grand promise. It's something we all desire. Therefore, when we hear that persistent prompting within, are there some guidelines to help us determine if it's truly the Lord's voice? I think so. Here are four that have helped me through the years:
1. Is the inward voice consistent with the character of Christ? Is the voice I'm hearing helping to conform me to his image, God's ultimate goal for my life (Romans 8:29)? Is it making me think like and act like him? If it's Jesus' inward voice, it will always be consistent with who he is and how he lives.
2. Is the inward voice consistent with God's Word? Is it forbidding me to do something God expressly requires or requiring me to do something God expressly forbids? Jesus' inward voice will always be in perfect alignment with his Word.
3. What do other Godly people think when I tell them what I think I've heard? Will they concur? Will they agree with me that this is truly the voice of the Lord? There is great wisdom in a multitude of counselors. Others who regularly hear Jesus' voice will know if what I'm hearing is indeed from Jesus.
4. Over time, does this relentless inward voice give me peace? Even though I may have to face obstacles in obeying the voice, does it eventually bring me his peace that passes all understanding? Jesus said that he brings peace to his followers. It's not as the world gives. The world thinks that peace is the absence of conflict. Jesus gives peace amidst the conflict. His peaceful presence is what allows us to make i through the conflict.
When these four guidelines are aligned with my inner promptings, I feel certain the voice within is the voice of Jesus. I'm confident to listen to it and obey.
And know it's not mere indigestion.
If you like to read the insights from the daily Bible reading in Mark, please click here.