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Thread: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

  1. #1
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    How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    How do you usually know? I don't mean vague answers, but like, specifically... how do you KNOW it's God?

    Sometimes I feel as if the voice I'm following is God, but sometimes it leads me down the wrong path which then proves that I'm following my own thoughts disguised as God. Is it a flow of thoughts? Does it stop you in your tracks or thrill you forward?

    I'm at a point in my Christian walk now where part of me believes that God has bought me and now He owns me, so I am His forever, so He has a plan for me even while I am far away from Him. But another part of me knows better. There's an encouraging voice that says "God loves you, just keep pressing forward", but there's another voice that says "Hold up...you can't just keep sinning and then get up like that. Take a time-out, internalize it, repent, bring it to God, and ask for forgiveness".

    I'm concerned for my salvation. I know I have offended God and I've sinned against Him deeply. I cried out from my heart and said "God, I know I have offended You. You are the God of Heaven and I have offended You. I want to stop defiling the Temple you've built in me and I want to be what You've created." I took a half hour out of my time and prayed.

    I feel like He heard me but He is still quiet and sensitive from it. As in, He has heard my prayer but He won't draw near for awhile. This makes sense in my mind and in my heart. But there's another form of God in my daily life that seems to be settled into my thoughts with positive affirmations but it doesn't purify me from sin and doesn't seem to do anything at heart-level for me. It's just simply, "dust yourself off, it's ok, just say you're sorry and move on".

    To be honest I'm not happy right now. I need to feel God's presence, I need to be filled with His love and His acceptance again. I feel like praying deeply to Him tonight was a sign of me turning in the right direction, but if that's true, then all of this time I have been following a different god in my mind. Is this correct? It seems to go away as soon as I stop praying. It doesn't last long and it seems that it's like a vapor that just disappears. I have to chase repentance, it doesn't come naturally and it seems like I'm moving a boulder.

    I'm just curious what you all think. If this needs to be moved to a more appropriate forum, I understand. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    How often do you read your Bible? That's the most reliable way to hear from the Lord because it contains His thoughts.

    People who are truly sorry don't just say it but show it through changed behavior. Because godly sorrow bears fruit of repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.

    For some reason we've been taught that we just have to confess our sins, but Jesus clearly told the woman caught in adultery "go and sin no more". So true repentance bears fruit. The sin - sorry - sin - sorry cycle does nothing but appease some religious conscience so we can feel better about ourselves. When really, we're acting like the dogs returning to our own vomit if we confess and then go right back to the thing that had us in its grip to begin with. I know this because I used to be on the same rollercoaster. It's for the birds, honestly.

    Why not seek deliverance? Why not focus on loving other people and serving God and on the positive, instead of avoidance of sin? Why not just straight up obedience, actively, daily? You've already been forgiven. Now go and sin no more.

  3. #3
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    I was praying. And I asked God to reveal my situation to me in His Word. What He really thought at this moment, and what He thought about me, and the antidote for my situation.

    And my eyes fell on this scripture, and it spoke right to my soul, because God spoke directly to me beyond the words, but they were :

    "But therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." (Ephesians 5:17)


    And I knew instantly what that meant. God said "You know what is right and you know what I have taught you. Your cycle of pain does not work. I have designed you for glory and worship, not suffering and bondage. I am your God and I will set you free. But you must pursue holiness. I have a plan for your life. That plan is fueled by holiness. The pure in heart shall see God. I love you, son. I made you. I have a plan for you. You must pursue holiness in all of its glory to see it come to fruition. Follow me and you will see the light. I am beyond your greatest fears and your biggest problems. I am your God. Be holy, pursue righteousness, and desire to be pure. You will see good things if you will hear my voice. Be holy as I am holy, and I promise you will see the light."

    That was every word I was feeling as He spoke to me. It was a noble, encouraging, hand-on-the-shoulder voice. It wasn't a puncturing voice that made me weep deeply, but it was a warm strong voice.

  4. #4

    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    The advice on here is very, very helpful.

    I am in the same boat as you... exactly actually. I go through so many different seasons and this one is always there.
    Why are you searching for love? Why are you still looking as if I'm not enough?

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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    There ya go. Be holy, pursue holiness and righteousness, and ... go and sin no more.

    God is always consistent.

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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    I am going to throw out some suggestions although I believe Dani H has done a wonderful job and started you on the path.

    Going to echo Dani and say read the Bible.

    Also when you pray don't just speak but listen, if you want to hear from God you have to give him a chance to speak. So sit down somewhere, comfortable, take a few death breaths to calm yourself. Try to clear your mind. Some people find it helpful to make a list of every thing they have to do later and then ask God to remove this from their mind for a while. This is all in order to relax you and get you ready to enter into mental prayer/contemplative prayer/deep prayer/listening prayer.

    After you have calmed yourself, you might find it helpful to read some Scripture, try something from the Psalms, they are the prayer book of the Church. This is a way of priming the pump of prayer. Also at this point you will want to invite the Spirit to come upon you and ask him to help you hear or speak to you. And also pray a prayer of protection asking Jesus to protect you from deceit, your own thoughts, and attack (this is very important!).

    I have found this works for me so if it is helpful use it if not discard it. I have a journal and two pens one blue one black. I write down a question or prayer to God in black. Then I lay down the pen and wait and listen, trying to keep my mind clear, if I find it wondering off, I use a word to bring it back to focus on God and start listening again. When God speaks, I listen and pick up the blue pen and write down what I feel him saying. For me this feels different than my own mind it is like somehow my heart and head are connected or I feel my heart stirred or warmed and words come that for the most part sound like my own thoughts but the heart is different. It takes a lot of practice to discern what is from me and what is from God, but it is possible. Also God speaking to you might be images or feelings. It is like Elijha in the cave it is a still small voice and it takes a lot to hear it at first and usually silence. I can barely do this type of prayer at night because my body has been bombarded by so much noise my ears ring in the silence and I cannot hear God becuase I am to focused on that. But as we grow in the practice we can start to hear God through the noise and chaos of our day.

    Now other ways I have heard and experienced God talking to me is in Lectio Divina. I will leave you to research that on your own. Or you can search the boards for it I have laid out how to do it in other threads.

    I have also noticed recently at least when I am praying for other people and I am trying to listen to God in order to pray his words over them or encourage them, that my mind and senses become very fuzzy, almost as if I have stepped back from myself. The words I speak come through my mouth but it as if they are given to me from somewhere else. This might be listening to the Lord, I am not sure. I am talking about it because maybe someone has had a similar experience and can shed some light on it for me.

  7. #7
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    So much for being on a wild stormy sea with the wind howling and waves over your head and a voice beckons 'Come unto me'.
    ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫

  8. #8
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Sometimes I feel as if the voice I'm following is God, but sometimes it leads me down the wrong path which then proves that I'm following my own thoughts disguised as God.
    Take comfort in knowing this happen to most, if not all Christians.

    I'm concerned for my salvation. I know I have offended God and I've sinned against Him deeply. I cried out from my heart and said "God, I know I have offended You. You are the God of Heaven and I have offended You. I want to stop defiling the Temple you've built in me and I want to be what You've created." I took a half hour out of my time and prayed.
    Take comfort in knowing this also happen to most, if not all Christians, one way or another, I have never met any one whom is perfect remember? HE WHO IS WITH OUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.

    I feel like He heard me but He is still quiet and sensitive from it. As in, He has heard my prayer but He won't draw near for awhile. This makes sense in my mind and in my heart. But there's another form of God in my daily life that seems to be settled into my thoughts with positive affirmations but it doesn't purify me from sin and doesn't seem to do anything at heart-level for me. It's just simply, "dust yourself off, it's OK, just say you're sorry and move on".
    He heard you, GUARANTEED, you seem to be describing two different kind of God with your above statement all the while, God is both of those things, Patient, Forgiving, Loving and much more.
    Right now God is seen you as a little child learning how to walk, when you fall He gently help you up and let you dust your self off and try again.
    What Danni H. said is also through though, you must try to brake that; sin...sorry.....sin....sorry kind of mode or.....you will have to continue dusting your self off.

    To be honest I'm not happy right now. I need to feel God's presence, I need to be filled with His love and His acceptance again. I feel like praying deeply to Him tonight was a sign of me turning in the right direction, but if that's true, then all of this time I have been following a different god in my mind. Is this correct? It seems to go away as soon as I stop praying. It doesn't last long and it seems that it's like a vapor that just disappears. I have to chase repentance, it doesn't come naturally and it seems like I'm moving a boulder.
    God never leave us, He is there with us regardless we know it or not, we hear him or not, we feel Him or not, He see us as children, His Children and, will never walk the other way, we are the ones who do.

    You seem to also have a very hard time forgiving your self in which case, what I would like to say is; IF GOD IS WILLING TO FORGIVE YOU THAN, YOU OWE IT TO GOD TO FORGIVE YOUR SELF.

    God is not your enemy, if your Father in Heaven and He know we are not perfect while we are on earth.


    THANK YOU FOR LOVING AND FORGIVING US FATHER

  9. #9

    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepherd's Child View Post
    How do you usually know? I don't mean vague answers, but like, specifically... how do you KNOW it's God?

    1. There's an encouraging voice that says "God loves you, just keep pressing forward",
    2. but there's another voice that says "Hold up...you can't just keep sinning and then get up like that.
    3. I feel like He heard me but He is still quiet and sensitive from it. As in, He has heard my prayer but He won't draw near for awhile.
    4. But there's another form of God in my daily life that seems to be settled into my thoughts with positive affirmations..... . It's just simply, "dust yourself off, it's ok, just say you're sorry and move on".

    .
    I struggle too on this issue of hearing God, but yet I think you and I make this too complicated. God is encouraging. The enemy condemns. While the Holy spirit convicts one of sin, it does not do so in condemnation. With that in mind, here are my guesses as to whether God is talking to you or the enemy based on my numbering of your words above.

    1. Encouraging - that's God.
    2. Condemning - that's not God but the enemy who doesn't want you to think you are hearing from God.
    3. That's the enemy too. God doesn't withdraw from you. Maybe the enemy tricks us to think such thoughts and maybe even tricks our emotions as well.
    4. Positive affirmations - that's God. God wants us to ask for forgiveness and move on. That's Biblical and that's God.

    So, you do hear from God. Congratulations. Your very own post proves it.

    And don't make it too complicated. That's another trick of the enemy. Take it from me. I've been tricked many, many times.

    DavidBuck

  10. #10
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Many times God will let you work like a mule until you fail for the last time and fall to the ground and give up.
    Then you are broken before the Lord and are ready to listen and God will build you back up in his way this time.

    To hear God you must read the bible. That is correctly as you found the only way to hear God.
    You will soon find out you can get what you ask for, but you won't ask for the things you wanted before: money, women, fame, etc.
    You will ask for mercy, grace, peace, love, and to be like God. You will ask him to help you witness for him in this cursed world.

  11. #11

    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    ok so i'm in a little bit of a dilema. I have been dating my bf for over a year now and it is going pretty great. Actually amazingly Here is the problem though, I keep getting thoughts that 1. god doesn't want us together. 2. i am being forced to break up with him.3. that my bf is supposed to be with this other woman from my church. 4. that he is superior to me in his walk with god and needs someone better.

    These are the main thoughts that come into my mind. They cause me to have like anxiety attacks and i feel sick to my stomach and get a headache. I have prayed to God and asked him to really tell me if we are not meant to be but i have not gotten a response..just these thoguhts. I believe that God would show the both of us if we were not supposed to be together and my bf has been praying as well and feels great about us- as do i. if it were not for these thoughts i wouldn't even question anything.

    Anyways i googled my thoughts and found a forum on ROCD which is relatioinship ocd and all the people on the forum had the same thoughts as me. So i figured that i have found that its like an ocd thing - which is not really far fetched bc im always stressing about the future and such.

    i just want to make sure i'm not putting this off on some illness instead of recognizing it as God. I knw how God speaks and i know his voice, and this seems as if it is not him, but i am scared to just dismiss without confirmation from him.

    i believve that anything God tells you will line up with his word and these thoughts do not. i know te HS comes to convict and i feel no conviction- my bf and i are not in sin at all.

    anyways can anybody help please???

  12. #12
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepherd's Child View Post
    How do you usually know? I don't mean vague answers, but like, specifically... how do you KNOW it's God?

    Sometimes I feel as if the voice I'm following is God, but sometimes it leads me down the wrong path which then proves that I'm following my own thoughts disguised as God. Is it a flow of thoughts? Does it stop you in your tracks or thrill you forward?

    I'm at a point in my Christian walk now where part of me believes that God has bought me and now He owns me, so I am His forever, so He has a plan for me even while I am far away from Him. But another part of me knows better. There's an encouraging voice that says "God loves you, just keep pressing forward", but there's another voice that says "Hold up...you can't just keep sinning and then get up like that. Take a time-out, internalize it, repent, bring it to God, and ask for forgiveness".

    I'm concerned for my salvation. I know I have offended God and I've sinned against Him deeply. I cried out from my heart and said "God, I know I have offended You. You are the God of Heaven and I have offended You. I want to stop defiling the Temple you've built in me and I want to be what You've created." I took a half hour out of my time and prayed.

    I feel like He heard me but He is still quiet and sensitive from it. As in, He has heard my prayer but He won't draw near for awhile. This makes sense in my mind and in my heart. But there's another form of God in my daily life that seems to be settled into my thoughts with positive affirmations but it doesn't purify me from sin and doesn't seem to do anything at heart-level for me. It's just simply, "dust yourself off, it's ok, just say you're sorry and move on".

    To be honest I'm not happy right now. I need to feel God's presence, I need to be filled with His love and His acceptance again. I feel like praying deeply to Him tonight was a sign of me turning in the right direction, but if that's true, then all of this time I have been following a different god in my mind. Is this correct? It seems to go away as soon as I stop praying. It doesn't last long and it seems that it's like a vapor that just disappears. I have to chase repentance, it doesn't come naturally and it seems like I'm moving a boulder.

    I'm just curious what you all think. If this needs to be moved to a more appropriate forum, I understand. Thanks.
    You can not lose your salvation when you sin. You can lose your salvation when you stop believing. Christianity is not about you, it is about him. The Old Testament was all about us, about how well we kept the law, about earning Salvation. The NT is all about him, about how well he kept the law and won our victory, it is about the free gift of salvation to those that believe.

    Do not let your track record ruin his track record (in your mind). The OT sacrifices could not cover for sins committed on purpose (Lev chapters 4 and 5 and Num 15:29-30), it only covered for sins committed in ignorance. That is why the OT sacrifices could not justify anyone for sins committed on purpose (after receiving the knowledge of the law). If we are still on that system, then we are all dead meat. But it is written:

    Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

    It is ok to shout in thanksgiving to God. Go right ahead.

    This is my opinion, but I actually believe that God rather surrounds himself with grateful sinners than self righteous saints.

    Shalom

  13. #13
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by MercedesMonik View Post
    ok so i'm in a little bit of a dilema. I have been dating my bf for over a year now and it is going pretty great. Actually amazingly Here is the problem though, I keep getting thoughts that 1. god doesn't want us together. 2. i am being forced to break up with him.3. that my bf is supposed to be with this other woman from my church. 4. that he is superior to me in his walk with god and needs someone better.

    These are the main thoughts that come into my mind. They cause me to have like anxiety attacks and i feel sick to my stomach and get a headache. I have prayed to God and asked him to really tell me if we are not meant to be but i have not gotten a response..just these thoguhts. I believe that God would show the both of us if we were not supposed to be together and my bf has been praying as well and feels great about us- as do i. if it were not for these thoughts i wouldn't even question anything.

    Anyways i googled my thoughts and found a forum on ROCD which is relatioinship ocd and all the people on the forum had the same thoughts as me. So i figured that i have found that its like an ocd thing - which is not really far fetched bc im always stressing about the future and such.

    i just want to make sure i'm not putting this off on some illness instead of recognizing it as God. I knw how God speaks and i know his voice, and this seems as if it is not him, but i am scared to just dismiss without confirmation from him.

    i believve that anything God tells you will line up with his word and these thoughts do not. i know te HS comes to convict and i feel no conviction- my bf and i are not in sin at all.

    anyways can anybody help please???
    I think this is neither a God nor an OCD issue. I think it's a you issue. I think there's things within yourself that cause you to feel inferior and insecure.

    We have to be careful about our feelings and the place we give them. Our feelings are what they are, and we have to acknowledge them. But ultimately, they're not going to tell us right from wrong. That's what God's Word does.

    So if you love this fella and the two of you are in agreement and you already know you're not in sin, then there's no issue. Except your personal feelings about yourself. Which is something you should really be discussing with God and getting honest about, because that can potentially be something that's crept into your other relationships, and if so, you should be able to identify a pattern if you take an honest, objective look at things around you and at how you interact with others.

  14. #14
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    Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    I think this is neither a God nor an OCD issue. I think it's a you issue. I think there's things within yourself that cause you to feel inferior and insecure.

    We have to be careful about our feelings and the place we give them. Our feelings are what they are, and we have to acknowledge them. But ultimately, they're not going to tell us right from wrong. That's what God's Word does.

    So if you love this fella and the two of you are in agreement and you already know you're not in sin, then there's no issue. Except your personal feelings about yourself. Which is something you should really be discussing with God and getting honest about, because that can potentially be something that's crept into your other relationships, and if so, you should be able to identify a pattern if you take an honest, objective look at things around you and at how you interact with others.
    AMEN!!!!!

    1 Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

    Shalom

  15. #15

    Wink Re: How to tell the difference between God speaking to you and your own thoughts

    Thanks Dani!!!

    I needed to hear that. It it the first time i got advice that makes perfect sense. Its funny how it took me a forum from a complete stranger to get it. But we are sisters in Christ woo hoo!

    Anyways, I'm feeling much better. I think there are some low self esteem issues that i need to deal with. Nobody would ever believe I struggle with this- its something that came along and i don't know where it came from. Be praying for me. I believe God will help me through this.

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