If you were to go to certain psychologists or certain psychiatrists and tell them that you are hearing voices, you could easily become a candidate for medication or hospitalization. Even in some Christian circles, you would be thought strange if you said that you were hearing the voice of God speak to you – and not just thought strange, but be looked at as either “looney” or in contact with the devil.
Jesus tells us that God is speaking to us. In the midst of that discourse, He tells us that the voice of the thief is also speaking and that the goal of his campaign is to steal, kill, and destroy.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:1-3
Hearing God speak is not strange but normal. Hearing the voice of the enemy doesn’t mean that you are evil, but that you are still alive! Jesus told us that His sheep would hear His voice and would follow what He says. To not hear the voice of God speaking is contrary to biblical teaching. So, you are not a candidate for medication or hospitalization if you hear the voice of God; you are a candidate for fellowship, transformation, and ministry. To hear the voice of God means that you are one of His sheep.
Let’s take a look at how God speaks and how we can verify that it is Him speaking to us.
- Rhema and Logos
If you start at the foundational point from which God speaks, you will be left with two primary avenues of communication:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1
This passage of scripture is talking about Jesus. The term used here to describe Jesus is “the Word”. In the original language, “Word” is the term “logos”, which means:
“speaking to a conclusion”
Although both rhema and logos are translated from the same Hebrew word “dabar” – something being uttered, the two words have come to signify different things today.
Logos: written word of God
Christ Himself was called, “Logos”. Since Jesus is God, His spoken words are clearly recognized as the Word of God. Jesus recognized the words of the Old Testament as being words from God.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44
The words written by the apostles who were with Jesus – those in line with His teachings have been recognized as scripture as well.
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:15-16
The word “Scripture” used here is the Greek word “graphe” which is used 51 times in the New Testament and always refers to the written word of God.
This brings us to the conclusion found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Written word of God is the standard from which all other “words, directions, feelings, teachings” are judged as being from God or not.
Rhema: a spoken word.
In this modern usage, Logos is the “Word of God” Jesus Christ, the subject from Genesis to Revelation. Rhema is the revealed word of God, as an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26
“… the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Rhema words or directions can come in different forms:
Dreams – Visions – Spirit spoken communication – Preaching
Whichever God uses, it is Spirit generated communication and is normal for the people of God!
Every rhema communication received must be verified by the Logos (Bible).
If the rhema communication is verified by the Bible, hold it before God for timing. If not, let it go!
- A “Now” Word, a “Future” Word or a “Confirming” Word.
Let’s say you get a rhema communication from God that passes the Scriptural test. Not all words are “now” words. Some words concern our future. If you receive a word for the future, you ask Him what the first step is to its fulfillment. When He shows you, do it. Then, wait for step two, etc.
Some words are “now” words meaning we are to follow them through to completion right now.
Many words are “confirming” words. A “confirming” word is one that confirms what God has already told you. Confirmation is a scriptural principle that God uses to affirm His direction to you.
“Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 Corinthians 13:1
If a word brings confusion, don’t act on it until the confusion is cleared up and you know the Word is from God!
God leads His people. It is our responsibility to know the Bible so that we will not be deceived by feelings or communications that are not from God. Trust the Lord to make known His will to you! Verify the direction through the Bible! Pray for the timing of God concerning the direction! Don’t be afraid! The Great Shepherd is leading you to green pasture and still water, even if the pathway there leads through the Valley of the Shadow of Death! Through His Word, you will reach your destination!