If I was to ask you the question: “What is the most important thing for a Christian to know, believe and experience in this life, what would your answer be?” As I look back over 55 years of being a born-again, Holy Spirit-filled believer and observe the major “happenings” of my walk with Jesus, my answer is: “Hearing and knowing the voice of God personally; knowing when He is speaking to me and knowing that it is indeed the voice of God.” Everything else takes second place to that voice and knowledge. Obedience to God can only really happen as a result of hearing what He is saying to us personally. That obedience becomes an act of faith which pleases God (Hebrews 11:6 ). It should not be surprising, then, that the devil’s No. 1 strategy against the Christian is to simply make us doubt the voice of God. When we doubt we do nothing. And that is not faith. The question is then asked: “How does one know it is God speaking to us?” Jesus taught us that it is His sheep who hear and know His voice (John 10 ). “His sheep” are His followers, and they do what He says. Quite simply, we are called to walk close enough to Jesus so that we hear and know when He is speaking to us.
A very crucial part of knowing how to discern the voice of God is for us to have a good Bible knowledge. We are exhorted to “Search the Scriptures . . . they testify of Me” Jesus said (John 5:39 ). So, how well do we know the Scriptures? Are we so desirous to know that Truth which sets us free that we are eager to know what the Scriptures teach (John 8:31-32 , 36)? Each one of us, individually, is responsible for getting the word of God into our hearts. I cannot do it for you, and you cannot do it for me. If we do not have a good grasp and understanding of the Scriptures, then we are so prone to becoming deceived ~ and we are living in a day when deception is rampant! Deception thrives through Christians being ignorant of what the Bible says! From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is all about God speaking to men and women. Those who heard and obeyed became great men and women of God and faith; they accomplished great things to the glory of God. Think for a moment: If we are not hearing and following the voice of God today, what are we doing as Christians? It is likely that we are locked into religion and traditions. And the life of Jesus is not found there!
I have found that each time God speaks to me I have to do something to show God that I believe it is Him Who is talking to me. I have to respond with an action. It is more than what many are taught: “Just commit it to prayer, Brother.” When God speaks to us ~ and we know it is God enough to act upon what the voice is telling us ~ we will discover that whatever God asks of us, when we obey, it releases God’s hands to fulfil what He is asking of us. He is God and desires to show us what He can for, in and through our lives when we are committed to Him. I am so glad that God spoke to me in my first year of being a Holy Spirit-filled Christian and showed me His requirements for my life and ministry. This is what He said to me: “If you will get to know My voice, and will do whatever I ask you, there is nowhere in this world where you and I cannot go together and we not be successful.” From that time on, that has been my motivation and priority ~ and I have seen God fulfil that promise to me over and over again. Through listening to His voice He has given me the revelation and strategies of what He has wanted me to do. And I have been privileged to travel to and minister in numbers of nations, impacting many thousands of lives for Jesus. He strengthens us in our weaknesses.
I did not achieve a whole lot in my schooling days, and actually left school one week before sitting the most important examination, because my beliefs were that “I was going to fail, so why put myself through the misery of failing?” Three years later I had a sovereign baptism in the Holy Spirit amongst a herd of cows, where God spoke to me again and told me He was calling me to preach His word and that he would open doors straight away for that to happen. I had no idea how that would happen, but it did and I have been preaching ever since! God is true to His word! I discovered that poor education does not hinder God. To date I have written 37 books that are circulating the world! Those books have been written because I sensed and heard God telling me to “write this down.” When I did that something was released within me to write ~ so I write! Amazingly (to me) people want my writings ~ some have even been translated and printed into a number of other languages and are reaching people that I will never personally minister to. Praise the Lord!
When God spoke and asked Jean and I to resign from pastoring churches and to go full-time by faith with The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry, He even told us not to raise a financial support base as He would show us what He could do for us. It was all so totally illogical ~ but when we obeyed, God released us into a whole new realm of faith and experience that we never lived in before. Since that time of stepping out in faith (January 2000), we haven’t looked back. God has not only more than doubled The GFM Ministry’s impact but He has faithfully and wonderfully supplied our needs in ways that amaze us. We have no mortgages and every month every bill is paid. How good is our God! I am so glad that we heard His voice and were obedient in stepping out like we did, even though we knew not where our next dollar would come from. But our trust was (and is) in a Faithful God Who is so longing to show His people what He can do for them! The secret and key to all this is in knowing how and when God is speaking to us ~ and to be obedient to what He is saying. But be warned. When we live this way you will be surprised at how many well-meaning Christians will try and tell you that you should be doing something different! I can tell you that if I had listened to those well-meaning voices I doubt if I would even be in the ministry today. I have observed over the years so many who have started out well in Christian Ministry are not even serving God today! They listened to the wrong voices! This does not mean that we do not listen to others, take advice, etc. It is knowing what God has called you to do and then allowing those voices that confirm that calling to speak into your life. I am very privileged to have a number of good men and women who I can talk to and hear what they advise me at different times. We can all learn from one another ~ but be sure to discern what is wisdom and what is simply natural thoughts. Know the voice of God today, for all real life comes forth from our obedience to His voice!