What language does God speak? Is it English, French, Spanish? Maybe He speaks Hebrew or Greek? The truth is, God doesn’t always speak in the language we do. Wouldn’t it be nice if He always spoke to us in an audible voice? Life would be so much easier that way. But then we would miss out on the greatest part of our time here on earth—building relationship with the One who loves us the most. Think about it this way. If you’re in a crowded room and your mom walks in and starts talking, it’s easy for you to know her voice. You’ve heard it since you entered the world and through relationship you’ve learned what she sounds like. However, if I asked you to pick out a random stranger from the crowd solely based on their voice, you likely wouldn’t be able to do that. It would take time and relationship for you to learn what they sound like. God loves to draw us in closer to Himself and the way He speaks in one way He loves to make Himself known.
If we don’t recognize the different ways God communicates with His people, we will miss His voice. And getting to know God’s voice is key to deep intimacy with the One who knows you the best, and stepping into an active partnership with Him in your life. So then, how does God speak? There are other ways that He communicates too, but here are eight ways that God commonly speaks to His children:
There are two types of visions. The first one is a Vision of the Mind, in which the Lord “projects” images and pictures onto the “screen” of our minds. Most often, this is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. They often appear like hieroglyphics—pictures that require interpretation. So as the Holy Spirit speaks to us through these pictures and images of the mind, we must turn around and ask Him what the pictures mean.
2. God’s Still Small Voice
At times, the Lord speaks to us in a still small voice from within our spirit. This is not a booming, audible voice. This can be heard as a passing thought, sudden impression, or internal “sense” of something that God is saying. This still small voice is illustrated in the Book of First Kings. In this account, God is not in the strong wind or the earthquake, but rather He is in the gentle blowing (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Angels are another voice that speak to us from the heavenly realm. Throughout the New Testament angels spoke to people and gave them instruction for their lives. God sometimes sends angels to deliver messages to us.
Creation itself is a voice from the Lord and speaks to us in many ways, especially by telling us about who God is. The mountains speak of His strength, the rivers of His provision and the flowers of His beauty (Psalm 19:1-2). Another way creation speaks to us is by God causing nature to do things that are actually prophetic acts. One year, every time Bethel church would meet to pray, a roadrunner would show up outside the glass door with a lizard in its mouth! This went on for months until we realized that the Lord was calling us to go out to the roads, the highways, and the byways and compel the lost to come in! One day the roadrunner managed to find his way inside the church. In a desperate attempt to get out of the building, he hit a window and died. The Lord showed us through this event that if we did not reach out to the lost that our church would die.
The Lord can speak to us in our daily reading of the Bible. He can also highlight a verse or story that speaks to us about our circumstance. Sometimes, it may even seem as if God is taking a Scripture out of context. It is vital for us to have a basic knowledge of the context of the Scriptures so we understand the full counsel of God. God will never violate His Word, but He will often violate our understanding of His Word. The Holy Spirit may grant us fresh insight or application as we are reading through the Bible. If God gives us fresh insight or new understanding on a verse or portion of Scripture, it is important that it fits within the rest of the context of the Scriptures. It also cannot be in disagreement with the foundation of God’s revealed nature and character (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Many prophetic people experience discernment through impressions without even realizing it. Oftentimes we can sense an evil spirit on someone just by sitting down next to that person. The evil spirit that is troubling the person who is next to us will begin to trouble us in the same manner. For instance, if a spirit of fear troubles a person in a close geographic area, we can actually begin to feel fearful as well. If we do not realize our prophetic ability and discernment in this area, we can begin to feel very confused or think we are crazy (1 Corinthians 12:10).
God can speak to us and direct us through the circumstances of our lives. This dynamic occurs as God opens and closes the doors of opportunity. It is easy to misunderstand this principle and think that any time we come up against an obstacle in our lives that we are out of the will of God. However, keep in mind that often times when we are doing something for God, the enemy will oppose us! Even in times of opposition we must remember that in Revelation 3:8 it says, “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
8. Spiritual Happenings
Spiritual happenings are another way God speaks to us. These are supernatural incidents that correlate with natural events. Some time ago, every time I entered a worship service, I noticed that my watch gained an hour. After purchasing three different watches, all of which gained an hour during worship, I finally asked the Lord what this could mean. He said, “It’s later than you think.”
Today I want to encourage you to to think back on your life and assess if God has spoken to you in any of these ways. Often times we miss what He’s saying because we aren’t aware of the ways that He can speak. So how does God most often speak to you? Which ways would you like to grow in hearing from Him? I’d love to hear in the comments!