Learning to hear God's voice can be a lot like a Geiger counter.
When you hear God's voice, it either clicks or it doesn't, like a Geiger counter does. (Flickr )

"But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come" (John 16:13).

The Geiger Counter and Hearing God

A German physicist invented the Geiger counter in 1945. It is an instrument used for detecting the presence and intensity of radiation. When radiation is detected, the device makes a distinct clicking sound. The closer you get to the substance and the greater intensity of its matter, the louder and faster the clicking noise becomes.

I have often thought that learning to hear God's voice can be a lot like a Geiger counter. As you process what you are hearing and apply important checks and balances, there is an inner witness that you learn to pay attention to. You check in with the Holy Spirit; you listen to your "knower;" you weigh what you heard against the Word of God; you evaluate the content and fruit of the message; and you bear witness or you don't—it either clicks or it doesn't.

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, there is a divine guidance system that comes with the package. Learning how to cooperate with Him to recognize His voice and avoid the subtle deception of the enemy takes time, but there are distinct principles (or clicks) that we can learn to quickly distinguish.

10 Principles of Divine Guidance

Discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit is more of an art form than a rigid technique. Yet there are basic ground rules that are essential for each of us to apply. Here are 10 principles of divine guidance that will help you recognize God's direction in your life:

1. The will of God is made known in the Word of God. Some people start trying to listen to the subjective when they've never first been grounded in the objective. They don't have a gauge to judge what they're sensing, hearing, feeling, thinking or what I call "knowing."

When the Scripture is hidden in your heart, you have an internal gauge of truth. It aids you in evaluating every thought and voice that may come your way. God's core values become rooted and established in your heart when you have read and memorized the Word. So the first guidance principle is always that the will of God is made known in the Word of God. God's Word is the final judge in all guidance.

2. The will of God is confirmed through circumstances. This principle can be a "little tricky" if used in isolation. It must be merged with the other guidance principles. So let's get this basic point down. God really wants you to hear and obey His voice—so He will even go out of His way to confirm His word. How? Yes, at times through circumstances. And even through extreme circumstances if He needs to!

I realize there are some exceptions to this principle, but God does guide us circumstantially as well. Ask in faith for Him to guide you and lead you. Push fear aside and even ask God to prove Himself to You. He loves a dare and will take you up on it!

3. The Holy Spirit speaks from where He dwells. Where does God dwell? God not only dwells in heaven, but if you are a child of God and have been filled with the Holy Spirit, He lives within you. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19, "your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit." He speaks to us from where He dwells. Where does God dwell? Colossians 1:27 tells us plainly, "It is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Have you listened to your heart lately? What is beating in your heart? The Holy Spirit is heaven's representative in all true guidance. God guides from the place God resides. And the people said, "Amen!" 

4. Divine guidance comes from meeting God's conditions. Isaiah 58 is an incredible passage of Scripture where God's chosen fast is brilliantly described in detail. It speaks about honoring God and the observance of the Sabbath. Removing the pointing of the finger and feeding the poor are also addressed. Several key conditions are listed along with the attitudes they require.

God's corresponding promise is listed in Isaiah 58:11, "And the Lord will continually guide you." But the conditions are listed first. What are the conditions that must be met for your promise to be unlocked? Meet the conditions and His eye will surely guide you. 

5. True guidance is accompanied by the peace of God. There is peace in the midst of a storm. Peace does not mean there is no storm. Peace does not mean there's no warfare either. There is a center of quiet that is in the midst of the turbulence of life. True guidance from God does not push you; it brings peace and satisfaction.

James 3:17 says, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." I love the order. Pure, peaceable, gentle—isn't that everything you would want hearing God to be all about? Don't you want to bear good fruit? God is not the author of confusion but mercy, gentleness and peace.

6. Much guidance from God comes unaware. Much of our guidance comes undetected. Why? Because of His marvelous ways! Also because we've asked Him to continually guide us! We want to do His will. Divine guidance means God is moving in our lives and impressing our minds with His thoughts so that we can make wise decisions.

Psalm 25:9 wisely declares: "The meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek He will teach His way." Again, a condition is spoken which unlocks the provision. Humility is the doorway whereby we learn not just the will of God, but the ways of God. I love God's gentle nudges and whispers in the night. Don't you? 

7. Divine guidance does not mean we know all the details. Uh-oh, that isn't what you wanted to hear. The problem with guidance is often that we want the rooftop experience where we can see the beginning from the end. We want to know the grand call that concludes with X, Y and Z! Now the Lord wants us, in a sense, to have a rooftop view. But often in our daily walks it's only the A's, B's and C's you gaze upon.

Most of the time, you will only see what is 3 feet in front of you. Here is a word of wisdom—enjoy the walk in the park. Life is more than just another meeting or the next hot word with gigantic details. Life is precious. Live it to the fullest. If you obey your A, B and C, you will get to R, S and T and eventually finish your course of X, Y and Z! 

8. The process of guidance is not always pleasant. Isaiah 55:8-9 declares, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." The New Testament teaches us that we can have the "mind of Christ." But many of us still have struggles with our own thoughts, opinions, reasoning, traditions and strongholds that are contrary to His.

Well, God likes coming in and busting those up. He has determined that we will never be the same again. He calls us to authentic lifestyles where bearing our cross is not a pain but a delight. So the process might be painful for the moment, but the end result will be His life expressed through us in exchange for our own efforts. 

9. Hearing God speak should prompt you to action. Daniel 11:32 promises, "But the people who know their God will be strong and take action." I want to be a person of faith who does exploits in the name of the Lord. Don't you?

Many times people are looking for the next thing, the next word and the next calling. I have a word for you today. Have you completed the last orders God gave you? Sometimes people are trying to get to the next thing when they have not completed the last thing. I say to you, "What was the last thing God told you to do? Have you completed it?" Then get busy!

10. Guidance is a skill to be learned over a lifetime. It's not a one-time experience where you heard God speak once and then you rehearse the same old testimony the rest of your life! It is a lifetime walk with Him! Hearing God is a skill to be learned and passed on to others.

I learned early on a basic life principle. For the most part, when it comes to guidance, I can hear the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Spirit for others. But when it comes to me and my individual life and walk with Him, I hear Him the same way others do—through a relationship built over a lifetime! 

There is something that will never fade or ever circumstantially go away—it is relationship with God. Be like John the beloved and lean your head upon the chest of your Messiah and Master. Listen for the very heartbeat of God. Cultivate a friendship with Jesus. True guidance is not just a one-time thing or a one-night stand; it is finding the Guide Himself.

For the original article, visit encountersnetwork.com.

Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters Network, Prayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit: geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.

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