What does the Bible say about getting “a word” from God? Here are 5 things that often happen when you’ve actually received an authentic word from God.
1. A Word from God Often Comes to Us at the Exact Right Moment and Relates to a Very Specific Issue We Are Having
What do I mean by this phrase “a word from God”? I’m not talking about “the word of God,” meaning the Bible. The Bible alone is inerrant. So any form of communication with God that occurs outside of the Scriptures must be used wisely and tested through a biblical lens.
So by this phrase “a word from God,” I’m talking about God communicating with you in a personal way, usually through a short statement. Perhaps you have been asking God if you should switch jobs and in prayer you feel like is saying, “Stay.” Or maybe you are praying for a loved one’s health and you read a passage in Scripture about healing and you feel a peace sweep over you. Or maybe you are asking God about someone you really like and then you see one of my videos and it’s titled, “3 Signs God Is Telling You to Date Someone.”
Are these kinds of experiences “a word from God”? They might be. They might not be. One way you can tell is if the timing matches up with your need and the wisdom offered in that word relates specifically to the issue you are currently dealing with.
For example, a lot of people just look at the titles of my videos and believe they are signs from God because the timing is perfect, but if you watch the videos and you go through the points in the videos and the content really doesn’t relate, that would not be a sign from God. But if you are asking God about someone and then a video of mine points you to a biblical truth that helps you know what God is actually saying to you about this relationship question, then that would be good evidence God is actually giving you a word.
As Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” God’s deliverance matched the timing of the need for deliverance and the request for deliverance.
When the timing is perfect and the word is relevant, this is a good sign it’s actually a word from God to you.
2. A Word from God Will Sometimes Be What You Want to Hear and It Will Sometimes Be What You Don’t Want to Hear
A lot of Christians fall into one of two camps when it comes to hearing from God. Some Christians tend to believe every word that matches what they want to hear is always God. These Christians are often falling into the trap as outlined in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions . . . .”
On the other hand, other Christians tend to believe if a word does match what they want to hear this must not be God. Some people feel like God will never give them what they want because God will always be calling us to make a sacrifice. While God will call us to sacrifice some desires, we also need to remember that if a desire is biblical that desire is from God and thus God wants us to pursue that desire because he gave it to us.
One common example of this occurs when it comes to marriage. Some singles really want to be married but they feel like God is telling them to sacrifice this desire and pursue singleness. But according to 1 Corinthians 7, God is the one who gives this desire for marriage and if you are called to singleness you will be happy to be single like Paul was.
In 1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul wrote, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” Notice Paul was called to singleness and he was happy about it. When he said “I wish that all were as I myself am,” he was saying he was happy to be single and thus he wants everyone to experience this happiness. But notice that he recognized that not all have the same desires as him and thus he knew not all would be happy to be single, which is why he then says, “But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”
My point is, if you are someone who always hears God tell you exactly what you always want to hear, you are probably not hearing God correctly. Likewise, if you never hear God tell you what you want to hear, you too are not hearing God correctly. Sometimes a word from God will be what we want to hear and sometimes it won’t be.
May God grant us the humility to follow him always in truth.
3. A Word from God Will Guide You and Not Confuse You
I’ve had a lot of people tell me something they feel like God told them but then they ask me, “What does this mean?” In my opinion and in my view of Scripture, if God actually said something to you, it’s unlikely you will need someone else to tell you what it means. God knows how to communicate his truth to us in a way that we understand.
If you think you got a word from God but you don’t know what that word means, you probably didn’t get a word from God. As the Bible explains:
- “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace,” (1 Corinthians 14:33). A word from God will bring you peace, not more confusion.
- “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you,” (Philippians 3:15). Hearing God properly is not solely dependent on us. God himself knows how to make us hear him correctly.
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” (Psalm 119:105). A word from God will bring more light, not darkness.
4. A Word Is Really from God When Things Outside of Your Control Happen That Need to Happen If This Word Was Really from God
Many people get confused because they are only looking to themselves as the evidence for what God may have said or may not have said. But we need to remember that God is sovereign over everything; therefore, if he says something to you personally, he has the power to confirm that word to you through things in the world that are completely outside of your control. As Jeremiah 32:6-8 recounts:
Jeremiah said, ‘The word of the Lord came to me: Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.”’ Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.”
Jeremiah did not have control over whether his cousin would come and ask him to buy a field. The word spoken to Jeremiah occurred like God said it would. Thus Jeremiah knew this was truly a word from God because things outside of his control occurred that confirmed this word was true.
We can control our thoughts, our feelings, and even things like our dreams can be influenced by our thoughts throughout the day before we went to bed. But when it comes to other people, places, and things, God alone will have to move the proper pieces to confirm his word. God will never speak something and then not accomplish it. If what you heard does not happen, God did not say it because God never lies (Hebrews 6:18).
Therefore, you will know a word was really from God when the things outside of your control happen that would need to happen to make this word come true.
5. A Word Is Really from God When It Is Consistent with The Word of God
The clearest way to know if a personal word from God was really from God is to compare this word to “the” word of God. We are fallible. The Bible is infallible. Our personal communication with God does not have more authority than the actual word of God given in Scripture. While God does speak to us personally, God will never contradict what he has already said in the Bible.
As Isaiah 40:8 states, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
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