As Human beings we live in two worlds. And even in the natural world (that seems more familiar) there are many seen and unseen lifeforms that influence our lives. The same is true of the unseen or Spiritual world. Just as we help to populate the natural world of cats, dogs, germs, plants, lions, tigers and bears, there are invisible beings who populate the spiritual world. Ultimately God and His Angels rule all. However, Satan and his demons also share the invisible world with us, for now. Satan is God’s enemy and he hates all human beings whom God loves. And God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (St. John 3:16-18).
Since the natural world is affected by the spiritual world, and since we can’t see what our spiritual enemy, the Devil, is doing -- we need guidance. We need to talk to Father God, our true friend. However, when God speaks, we need to listen. That is the topic of this paper how to know when God is talking to you and when He isn’t.
1 - God speaks to us through the Holy Bible.
This is one of the main ways, and certainly one of the most important ways that God speaks to us. The Bible is the only way to verify any of the other ways that God may speak to you. God seldom changes His mind; and never, in the Old or New Testaments, does He change his mind about Sin. If you think God is speaking to you in some other manner and what you think that He is saying contradicts what the Bible clearly teaches – then that is not God speaking to you. One other important point: most important principles in the Bible are stated at least three times, and some many more times. When reading the Bible to become familiar with God’s thinking and God's mindset, always pray that The Lord Jesus Christ will give you His understanding of that passage of Scripture. In St. James the first chapter, God promises to give us wisdom if we but ask and not doubt. Think about it like this, as far as we humans are concerned, God is an Alien lifeform – to understand Him we must study His invitation and revelation – the Holy Bible. God's Word is light and life – along with prayer, it will feed your soul.
2 - God speaks to us through other people.
These other people may indeed be members of God's family, people such as Preachers, Ministers, Healers, Prophets, Teachers, or ordinary Believers. However, God has and does speak to us through even sinners. But the message that He presents us with through a sinner would not be the same type of message He would give us through a member of His family. What I mean by that is, if we only need some information, God can easily send us that information through a sinner. However, if we are seeking guidance about how to deal with such Spiritual matters as our relationship with God and His family, guidance about praise, worship, forgiveness, inner or physical healing by Him, Spiritual truths by which to order your life, then He will speak to you by one of His Own. God has even spoken to one of His wayward prophets through a donkey (Numbers 22:21-35).
3 - God speaks to us through a Heighten Awareness of a situation.
What I mean by this is that you may be entering what may appear to be a familiar situation but – suddenly – your mind and body goes on alert. It’s like a warning: Look out! Pay attention! Don’t be dense! Get ready now! Although many times this method is to warn us, it is not limited only to this message. Sometimes He wants to point out to us something that He will teach us with later. It’s like He’s saying don’t sleep walk though this situation.
4 - God speaks to us through Dreams & Visions.
Historically God has often spoken to people through dreams and visions. A dream can be thought of as a vision that comes to us while we are asleep; but there are some differences. In the Bible, normally a vision conveys a clearer message, a mental telecast for the mind from God. But dreams, on the other hand seem to need interpretation more often than not. God often gave His prophets and ministers the interpretation to the dreams of other people (Genesis 40:5-23 and Daniel chapters 2:1-49). But, as Daniel, we can always pray to our Lord for the understanding of what we see and hear. Needless to say, not all dreams are from God.
5 - God speaks to us through Thoughts.
God can speak to us with thoughts. That is, He can place His thoughts into our minds. As it is written, His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). We should know our own thoughts. They have a certain feel, a certain presence, a certain flow. God’s thoughts are different than ours and they have a different subject than ours. We can check out whether the thoughts in our head are from God or not by seeing if they agree with or contradict the letter and Spirit of the Holy Bible.
6 - God speaks to us through our Spirit (intuition, hunch).
Most people have had what are commonly called "ESP" experiences. Some people call them "hunches". The reason we have them is because God created us as Spiritual Beings. Spiritual does not mean "spooky". God is a Spirit Being and to communicate with Him we must communicate with Him through the Spirit (St. John 4:24). Humans are like radio receivers and transmitters. We sense things from other humans all the time and they in turn pick up signals from us. There are other transmitters on our spiritual frequency – God and Satan. Depending on how sensitive we are spiritually determines how clearly we perceive these signals. But, once again, God is not going to contradict the Bible. He’s not trying to make us "spooky" and He is not going to require us to do stuff like staring into crystal balls or concentrating on a candle’s flame to make ourselves more spiritually sensitive. All that is necessary to be come more sensitive to God spiritually is to avoid sin, forgive others who have wronged you, ask God to forgive you of your sins, and spend more time in Prayer and Bible study with God. If you ask, Father God will send the Holy Spirit to fill your human spirit, and the Holy Spirit will teach you all things (St. John 14:26).
7 - God speaks to us through Revelation (you just know).
This method is similar to the spiritual hunch or intuition except it is normally a more complete communication. God as our Father is a good parent. He has many things He wants us to learn and to be able to do. If we are going to make good decisions, we must be able to correctly evaluate and understand ourselves, other people, and the world around us. We also need to understand God and His word. Sometimes we may be struggling to understand something that God wants us to know and use. When it pleases Him and we really desire it, sometimes He will just drop the wisdom, knowledge and understanding into us. One minute we don’t know it – the next we do. This is a very interesting experience.
8 - God speaks to us through Experience.
As we live out our lives daily we say and do many things. Growth is the proof of Life. As we live and learn we acquire a repertoire of experiences and understandings. As we sort through our good and bad decisions, as we attempt to learn the lessons of our life's experiences, the quality of our lives will improve. God wants us to learn from our life experiences. And He wants to use our experiences to teach us how to think and act like His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we understand the truths and teachings in the Bible, and we apply them, we come to realize that God speaks to us through our experiences.
9 - God speaks to us through Inner Peace.
If a person is Born Again, that is, if a person has asked God to forgive them of their sins and to place His Holy Spirit within their being, and have accepted Jesus Christ as God Almighty coming to visit Earth in a human’s form, then God can and will speak to that person in many, if not all, of the ways mentioned. And if a person has been Born-Again then they have experienced, at least once, the Inner Peace and Inner Joy of the Lord. We should always walk in this peace – but that’s another topic. However, whenever we must make a decision we can and should ask for God’s guidance. If we make the decision in the manner that He would want us to — we will have His peace about it. But, if we decide improperly, we will not experience His peace, but inner turmoil. When we do those things which please God, we have His peace (Philippians 4:6-9).
10 - God has spoken to people in an Audible Voice.
Some have described His voice as the sound of “rushing waters” and others as the sound of “thunder.” His voice has been described in different ways by others, including comforting, melodic, and/or humanlike. However, this method appears to be the exception -- not the rule.