Discerning the Voice of the Lord
1. The Cross of Christ must have rendered you neutral so far as self-will is concerned. “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin that he might live the rest of his life not in the lusts of the flesh, but to the will of God.” Three times Christ prayed in the garden. “Not my will but thine.” You must truly rid yourself of all your personal goals and objectives. Especially treacherous are these high sounding religious goals and objectives and longings: i.e, a great ministry, power to witness, a special gift, etc. You must have truly presented yourself for Christ’s disposal according to Romans 12:1. It is only then that you can be pleased with what God says no matter what it is.
2. Know the truth. Get a good working knowledge of the Bible. The Holy Spirit does not cross himself by saying one thing in the Bible and then lead you to do something contrary to scriptural principles.
3. “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3. Proceed in a normal course of life, trusting the Lord to establish and order your thoughts as he has promised to do for those whose only desire is to work the works of God. Trust Him to check you in spirit or in providence if you are about to take a wrong step. Listen to His voice. He is able to guide you. Give Him credit for doing what He has promised to do. You do not have to strain and fret over every little decision. He is more able to speak and cause you to hear than you realize.
4. In matters of great importance where there is no definitely revealed word, do not move until you are constrained to. If there is uneasiness about the move, wait for a more sure word. God can make you certain. You can afford to wait until you are. You are not going to miss anything by waiting; and God is not going to scold or punish you while you are testing the spirits. Did He not command you to do so? Consider His patience with Gideon.
5. The Holy Spirit is consistent and persistent. God is immutable. He does not change. If, while waiting, you have a number of different impressions, each one seeming better than the previous one, throw them all out. The Holy Spirit leads you in only one direction. He will never change His mind about that. The same leadership will continue to persist until you obey.
6. The Holy Spirit does not drive and demand. It is the devil who puts you in a rush and demands that you act immediately. You will feel that if you take time to pray and wait that you will miss something. Do not listen to that spirit. It is not God but the devil. God will lead you and give you time to consider until you are fully persuaded. And there will be peace in the action, not pressure and torment.
7. Look for providence. God sponsors what He initiates. He provides the way and clears the obstacles. He opens the appropriate doors. The devil can cause hindrances, but he cannot stop what God has led you to do. As you proceed, God will confirm or He will stop you.