There are some things that we need to be careful of when it comes to hearing God. Here are 3 things that we need to watch out for:
1. No response
Not responding to, or not valuing, God’s prophetic words to us can cause us to not hear His voice. God can speak to us—but we need to write it down and pray about it to understand what is being spoken.
Misinterpreting—this is a big one for those who are learning to discern. God’s ways are often different than ours, and the prophetic ministry is designed to help us grow and mature. It requires us to understand how to test a prophetic word and learn to interpret it.
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of not understanding the timing of a prophetic word. We need to be careful not to respond too soon or at a greater level than what God is saying. Oftentimes, we can get overly excited and try to step out in faith and make major decisions based on a small amount of revelation.
Here are a few things to consider when God speaks to you:
• Does it line up with the Bible?
• Has God spoken something similar to you before?
• How does it feel in your spirit?
• Does it hit you in a positive or a negative way?
Sometimes God is calling you to change, and it will feel different than it has before. Be open about an initial reaction you may have, whether positive or negative, because when we are resistant to change we may react negatively at first. What will help is if you focus on discerning from your spirit, not based on how your mind feels about it.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 NIV, Paul says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”
I think there is a misunderstanding these days about how to judge a prophetic word. It tends to be thought of as a negative thing as opposed to objectively looking at the prophetic word and weighing it out. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14 NIV
It takes practice to learn to discern God’s voice. Training and instruction, from others who are mature in hearing God, will help too.
Activating your prophetic word
When God speaks to us we need to write it down, pray about it and test the word. Once we determine that yes, this is a prophetic word from God—then there are things you can do now to help activate it in your life. These can be small steps like research, reading a book or taking a class on what God is calling you to do.
We do not have to over respond or buy something expensive before the right time. Here is an example of how I have activated prophetic words in my life:
I received several prophetic words years ago about God using me in the area of dream interpretation. So, I did some research, read some books and found a ministry that offered training on it. I took the courses, and then once I knew for sure this was what God was calling me to—I went further.
I made extensive notes on dream interpretation and contacted the ministry I had received the training from. I made a list of questions, and was humble about making some recommendations on how they could develop an Internet based follow-up program to help their students. They, then, offered me a job to implement the program I had suggested, and over a 3-year period I was moved into full-time dream interpretation ministry.
I hope this helps you to grow in your ability to hear God—and to bring balance in how to discern and respond. Get ready for more, as God is about to speak to you in greater ways!
And for even more on this and on how to activate prophetic words over your life, check out my brand new book, God Spoke, Now What?—available now!