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Is That Voice in Your Head God?

Doug Bender

May 05, 2022 | 3 minute read

People talk about hearing from God. But how do you know when God has actually spoken to you? Here are a few things to know when trying to distinguish God’s voice from all others.

God does speak. 

First, let’s just start with the basics. God does indeed speak. Most people will testify that it’s rare for him to pop out of the sky and speak with an audible and booming voice. He has a habit of speaking, guiding, and leading people in more subtle ways. The trick is learning how to listen.

Quiet the storm.

Your head, like your life, is full of noise. Random thoughts, stress, visual replays, and more. Your brain is built to grab onto all sorts of things so it can mull things through, figure things out, and make sense of life. Finding a stress-free time and space to contemplate and listen to God will help you clear those noises out and hear what God is saying. 

Fill, don’t empty.

Some people relate this to meditation. It has some similarities, but the main difference is in the goal. You are not trying to empty your mind, you are trying to fill it with God. God is not looking for a mindless drone to dump his thoughts into, but a person to have a relationship with. He wants your interactions, thoughts, and questions. This is why most people describe hearing from God while with their church, reading their Bible, or even listening to God-centered music. Try these things to fill your head with the thoughts of God.  

Test. Test. Test. Test.

Let’s say you’ve done everything right so far. You believe he speaks, you’ve found your quiet space and you’ve sought to fill your head with the thoughts and words of God. Does that mean everything you now hear in your head is from God? No. The Bible says this is when you, “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” In other words, you still can’t turn off your brain and jump to conclusions. Be wise. Use discernment. These things are not contrary to faith. People of faith are wise and discerning (just read the book of Proverbs, if you don’t believe this). 

The Bible Test.

The surest and safest way to test whether what you are hearing is from God is to compare it to what God has already said. The Bible is God’s written word. God doesn’t change, contradict himself, lie, or make mistakes. So if it doesn’t line up with what he has already said in the Bible, then that voice is not from God. Simple as that. Of course, this means you should have a healthy Bible study habit so you actually know enough of the Bible to do this all-important step. 

The People Test. 

This step is not quite as reliable as the first (since the first deals with the perfect and authoritative Word of God), but it is still an essential part of good wisdom. Share what you are hearing with other people who also follow Jesus. The longer and more sincerely they have followed Jesus, the better. These sorts of people are more likely to have a deeper knowledge of the Bible to help you run The Bible Test described above. More experienced followers of Jesus also will have more practical experience in doing just this sort of “is this from God?” kind of discernment process.  

The Results Test.

You can also test to see where this “voice” is trying to lead you. The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Fruit is the result of a plant’s entire growth process. So these things are the results of what God is growing in your life. If where that voice is leading you is anything outside of this list, then that voice is not from God. 

The Jesus Test.

When I was a teenager a lot of us wore bracelets that read “W.W.J.D.” which stood for “What Would Jesus Do.” It was super cliché and trendy at the time, but it’s actually a good principle. Try to imagine Jesus doing whatever that voice is telling you to do. If Jesus wouldn’t do it, then you shouldn’t either. 

In the end, you can’t always be perfectly sure whether that voice is from God or not. That’s why it’s called faith. There is a point where you need to just have a conversation with God that goes something like this: “God, I’ve done my best to try and discern if this voice is from you. If I’ve got it wrong, then please forgive me and help me to hear better, so I don’t miss it the next time.” And then just go for it and trust that God is with you, no matter what. 

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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