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Obeying God when He speaks

See also: What is sin?

Must I really? 

As Billy Graham once put it:

     "If Jesus says you MUST, then you MUST!"

The "must" even goes back to the Ten Commandments - (that's right, the "Ten Commandments", not the "Ten Suggestions").

However, when we come to what Jesus said about it, he summarised God's commands into two simple rules that really matter -

   1. Love God

   2. Love one another

If you think about it, if you obey these two commands, the other commandments fall into place naturally. (See Matthew 22:35-40). If you obey these two commands, the Ten Commandments become the Ten Promises: you won't want to steal; you won't want to covet; you won't want to commit adultery, and so on.

Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds, But with the help of Jesus, and spending time with him in prayer, you begin to change.

Hearing God

How do we hear God? 

There's no shortcut here. You have to spend time in prayer with Jesus, with His Father, and with His Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean you have to talk to Him all the time; but you can begin that way if you want. Then allow time for your feelings and thoughts to "tune in" with God. I should stress here that we should always do this in Jesus' name, because evil spirits (Jesus also called them "demons") can whisper to us too, and we don't want to be misled or distracted.

Perhaps begin your prayer time with something like this:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, in your name, I ask you to come and be with me as I spend this time with you. Holy Father, bless me with your grace. Holy Spirit, surround me and fill me.

Lord Jesus, I commit myself to you again, and invite you into my life. Let your spirit dwell within me now and always.

This is not a magic formula; vary the theme; make up your own words. But in my opinion, it covers the essentials.

After you have spent a few minutes soaking in His presence, as Jesus to speak to you about anything you like; perhaps something that is on your mind. Then focus your thoughts on Him; try to clear your mind, and gently wait for His "still small voice". He may gently bring a thought into your mind in response to your question; or He may bring a picture of something. Some people "see" a picture of an outdoor scene, or of an object or a person, and often these have some relevance to the issue at hand.

These are known as "words of knowledge", or "words of wisdom", or even "words of prophecy"; and these are some of the Gifts of the Spirit spoken of in the Bible. You can look these up in a Bible in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

Did God really say...?

Well, when you "hear" something in your spirit, it may come to you as if words or pictures float into your mind.

Was it really God...?

How can we be sure that it is God speaking when we hear Him?

Let's run through some basic principles.

  • In my opinion, the whole Bible is based on the premise that God speaks, and that people hear Him, (and I'm not the only person who thinks so). 

  • God intends the best for us whatever we do, whether we obey Him or not. He loves each and every one of us - He cannot help it any more than you and I can help breathing,  because God is love. Therefore, if we obey Him, it will be for our own ultimate good.

  • When we think we hear God, we need to test what we have received. Is it from God? Or is it from our own spirit? Or is it from contrary spirits - (what the bible refers to as "unclean spirits")?

So how do we test what we hear? 

Is it "biblical"? Does it conform to the teachings of the Bible, and of Jesus in particular? Does what we hear, obey the word of God as we have it in our Bibles, or does it go against it? 

If it contradicts the teachings in the Bible, particularly in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then there is probably something dodgy about it - we need to pray into it more. 

For example, if we think God is saying that our church should stop doing bible studies, and cut down on the amount of preaching and praying, then in my opinion, that goes against what the bible says in Acts 2:42 about the believers: "They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer.

If it is not biblical, then we have to think and pray, long and hard, before we do it. 


  • God gives us free will. We can do what we like. We can choose to go our own way, or we can choose to walk in the path of Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. 

  • If we go our own way, and turn our backs on God, then we have to bear the consequences of our actions. 

  • However, if we choose to follow Jesus, then He will begin to do a number of things within us. He will begin to work out His love in us, and to free us from our sins; He will begin to change our inner disposition, so that we gradually become like Him.

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"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

- from the Bible, book of John, chapter 3, verse 16.

"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
- Colossians 3:17 (NIV).

May God bless your reading of these pages. Philip Tory