How to distinguish between God’s voice and my own

We live in a loud world. Our brains receive constant noise from all directions. What’s one of the loudest sources of this noise? Voices.

We’re bombarded with voices from those we interact with each day, from the news we read and listen to, from social media, from strangers in passing. It’s hard to cut out time for a moment of peace. It’s even harder to quiet our own voices in order to hear the voice of God.

But here’s the real problem: With all the noise we hear throughout a single day, how do we distinguish between God’s voice and our own voices? When we actually take time to sit quietly and listen, how do we know if God is speaking or we’re just hearing the echoes of our selfish desires or worldly inputs?

Tempting voices

We long to hear from God. To know His desires and gain insight from His wisdom. But how can we know God is speaking to us? How do we distinguish between God’s voice and the whispers of temptation that attempt to mimic His voice?

We tell ourselves if something we think goes against God’s nature and His word, then that’s a sure sign that’s not God’s voice. But what about those who act out sinfully, assigning their logic to the voice of God? Or what if we know someone who has truly, genuinely believed God told them to make a decision that ended in hurt and sin?

It can be frightening to think how easily we are swayed by tempting voices and our own desires. Because of this, we can remain undecided in our next move, wondering if we’ll truly be able to distinguish God’s voice from our own.

God’s purpose and plan

It’s time to move. Time to move beyond this fear and realize the truth that will set you free from the insecurities of worry. And the truth that will enable you to realize God is not depending on you to hear His voice.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

The truth of Proverbs 19:21 reveals to us how God’s plans will succeed whether or not we’re able to distinguish between God’s voice and our own. Isaiah also describes how man cannot thwart God’s plans.

You see, we don’t need to fear the idea that we might mistake our own voice for God’s voice. Because God’s plans will succeed with or without us.

This doesn’t give us a free ticket to ignore God’s voice and do whatever we please, though. We can’t go through life saying, “God’s plan will prevail, so it doesn’t matter what I do.” God desires to use us and give us wisdom. And that wisdom is the direction we must follow in order to hear His voice.

The end goal

Genuinely seeking wisdom by pouring over God’s word and sitting quietly in His presence is the first step to distinguishing God’s voice. He’s not trying to trick us, so if we seek Him, we’ll find Him. We grow incredibly caught up in worrying about following God’s will, but sometimes God doesn’t reveal that part of His plan. And so we must use the wisdom given us to simply make a decision and move forward in life.

We also can’t forget that we have a renewed mind within us. We fear our sin nature and quote the verse that describes how our hearts our deceitful. But when we accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord of our lives, He renewed us. He transformed us. Because of this, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and we don’t need to fear the deceit that attempts to creep back in control of our hearts.

If we continually seek God’s wisdom, He will reveal His voice to us at the time He desires. If He doesn’t, maybe that means we simply must make a choice, knowing whatever we choose will glorify Him.

And that’s the end goal of all our decisions, really. Glorifying God. If we hold up the voices we hear next to the standard of which ones will glorify our Lord, then we won’t worry so much about the decision. We won’t feel confused about how to distinguish between God’s voice and our own. We will choose the option that brings glory and honor to God, knowing His plans will succeed.

So set aside the fear and move forward today, glorifying God with each decision you make.

Want a jumpstart on gaining wisdom? Download our free prayer devotional, “Everyday Prayers,” to receive a tangible way to pray with a purpose throughout your routine.

Let’s Talk About It: What are ways you distinguish between God’s voice and your own? 


This article is a part of the linkup at Sitting Among Friends.




18 Replies to “How to distinguish between God’s voice and my own”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this truth. It’s so powerful, yet I feel ashamed. I want to say “well, duh!” I’m a human. What could I possibly do to God’s mighty plan!? It’s humbling to accept this truth. It’s comforting to accept this truth. It’s freeing. <3

    1. Absolutely! It’s not necessarily a roadmap in the sense that we won’t always know where He’s leading, but if we’re communicating with Him, He’ll give us the peace we need.

  2. I have found when God is speaking to me I usually hear it twice. It isn’t that I wasn’t listening the first time, but that God usually confirms to me what I am hearing. Recently, I suffered a heart attack and I didn’t know at the time that was happening, but God spoke twice to me…Get to the ER! I listened and it saved my life. Was it scary, Yes! However, intimacy with God is what allows us to discern His voice from the million other voices. My sheep know my voice…they listen and follow me. Whenever, I’m not sure I always go back to the last time I know I heard from Him and move forward from there.

  3. I love your encouragement here to rest in the Lord’s power and guidance rather than trying to strive in our own, Emily. It’s a hard concept to wrap our puny brains around, but no matter, God will make the way for us if we trust in Him at every turn. Great thoughts, my friend, and nice to meet you too!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Beth! It’s definitely challenging to rest in God, especially when our pride gets in the way. But how rewarding it is when we glorify Him through our decisions!

  4. I’m so glad if I hear wrong, He will lead me back on the right path. I think it’s important to spend time in His word so we can’t decipher the voices we hear.
    Great post!

  5. There was a time that I was worried about making too big of decisions because I didn’t want to mess up and not be following God’s plan. Thankfully I’ve come to realize that my intent and desire is good, to follow God, and He is bigger than any and all of my mess ups!

  6. I like this: the option that glorifies God is the option that reveals what He’s saying in a situation whether we’ve heard Him clearly or not. Thanks a lot and more grace in your ministry.

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