What comes to your mind when you hear the question, “How does God speak to us?”
I’m willing to bet that your answer is largely shaped by your background. If you grew up in a Charismatic church that emphasized that ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, you may think about things like prophecies. If you grew up in a conservative church with a strong emphasis on Bible preaching, you probably thought first of the Bible.
The church I grew up in evolved over the years, morphing from a primarily charismatic church to being primarily Reformed. Yeah, I know. Quite an identity change.
As you can imagine, when asked, “How does God speak to us today,” my brain goes all over the place, always on the verge of shorting out.
But what does the Bible say regarding God speaking to us today? When it comes to actually hearing the voice of God, what does Scripture tell us? God’s word, more than anything else, should inform our answer.
It should be noted that God speaks to us with varying degrees of clarity, depending on the way he’s speaking to us. Everything must be tested against the word of God to ensure that it truly is God’s words and not some cockamamie concoction cooked up by our own brains.
So how does God speak to us today? Here are FIVE glorious ways, drawn directly from Scripture.
1. How Does God Speak To Us? Through His Son
Hebrews 1:1-2 says:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to his people in a huge variety of ways, including through prophets, face-to-face (like with Moses), via angels, and even through a mangey old donkey (Balaam had that privilege).
All these revelations of God were limited and incomplete, only giving glimpses of God’s staggering glory. These visions of God were like looking at a mountain range through a crack in a wall. Only a limited portion of his beauty and glory could be seen.
But now God has spoken to us in a much fuller, more complete way: through his Son. Jesus Christ is God himself and he pulls back the curtain for us on what God is truly like. Jesus reveals the beautiful, breathtaking character of God in stunning clarity.
This is why Jesus said to Philip in John 14:9:
Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Every action Jesus did and every word he spoke revealed the character of the Trinity. He was literally God in the flesh, a tangible, touchable, utterly glorious revelation of God’s character. When we behold Jesus, we are beholding God himself.
How does God speak to us today? Through Jesus. If you want to know God and hear his voice, read the gospels. Savor the Savior. He is a window into heaven, of sorts, allowing us to get a clear, unobstructed view of God himself.
2. How Does God Speak To Us? Through His Word
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
I love the phrase, “Breathed out by God.” It’s such a vivid picture of how God speaks to us through his word.
Every word in the Bible is God’s word to us. Scripture is God speaking to us, revealing himself to us, leading us in his ways.
Psalm 119:24 says, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” The testimonies of God (aka the Bible) counsel us, lead us, and guide us in the ways of God.
Writing about a time when God “spoke” to him, John Piper says:
[The experience] has increased my love for the Bible as God’s very word, because it was through the Bible that I heard these divine words and through the Bible I have experiences like this almost every day. The very God of the universe speaks on every page into my mind — and your mind. We hear his very words.
In other words, God took what was already written in the Bible and used those words to speak to John Piper. God does the same thing for me on a consistent basis, and he will for you too if you read the Bible.
How does God speak to us? He speaks through his word. If you want to hear the voice of God, simply open up your Bible and read. God is waiting to speak to you. Isn’t that a glorious thing?
3. How Does God Speak To Us? Through His Spirit
Scripture makes it clear that each of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit actually dwells within us, just as he dwelled in the temple in the Old Testament. Isn’t that absolutely incredible? The Holy Spirit actually, truly dwells in you!
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in a number of wonderfully specific ways. As we read God’s word, the Spirit speaks to us, convicting us, encouraging us, and strengthening us. You could say that the Holy Spirit causes us to come alive to God’s word every time we read it. He hovers over the pages of sacred Scripture, setting our hearts ablaze as we read it.
I also believe that the Spirit speaks to us in more subjective ways. Have you ever felt prompted to pray for something out of the blue? That’s the Holy Spirit. Have you ever been suddenly convicted of sin? That’s God speaking to you. Have you ever felt the small (or large) push toward obeying God’s word? That’s the Holy Spirit at work.
Speaking of the impulse to pray, the great preacher D.M. Lloyd Jones said:
Always respond to every impulse to pray. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse.
Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit; it is a part of the meaning of ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Phil 2:12-13).
In his book Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby puts it this way:
Anything of spiritual significance that happens in your life will be a result of God’s activity in you. He is infinitely more concerned with your life and your relationship with Him than you or I could possibly be.
The Holy Spirit is always active, always moving, always achieving God’s good purposes in us.
How does God speak to us? Through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. If you want to hear the voice of God, ask the Holy Spirit to work in you. Ask him to help you be more sensitive to his subtle promptings.
4. God Speaks To Us Through Others
Ephesians 4:15 says, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”
God uses other believers to speak to us. I’ve experienced this many times myself. As I’m talking with a friend, they’ll speak the truth of God’s word to me and I find myself encouraged or convicted or strengthened. It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it? God uses frail, earthen vessels like us to speak God’s word to each other.
To be clear, I’m not saying that certain people have divine authority to speak into our lives. Rather, I’m saying that as we fellowship with other believers, God often uses their words to give unique grace to us.
I think this is why Paul said, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).”
Our words are incredibly powerful, and God uses them specifically to build others up in grace.
How does God speak to us today? Through the good, encouraging, upbuilding words of others. If you want to hear God’s voice, spend time hanging out with other Christians. Don’t isolate yourself or become a Lone Ranger Christian. God wants to speak to you through others.
5. How Does God Speak To Us? Through Creation
Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
There is a real sense in which God speaks to us through his creation. The heavens and the earth, the galaxies and the supernovas all proclaim the glory of God. They tell us that there is a creator, that he is gloriously creative, and that he is overwhelmingly powerful.
Have you ever looked up at a starry night sky and been so stunned that you felt compelled to praise God? Have you ever had your breath stolen by a pink-hued sunrise? That’s God speaking to you through his creation. He is saying, “Behold my glory! Behold my splendor! Worship me, for I am worthy.”
Romans 1:20 puts it this way:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
In other words, creation loudly shouts forth certain things about God. It declares that there is a God who is eternally powerful and divine in nature. As we behold the complexity of a snowflake or the power of an exploding volcano, God himself is speaking to us.
How does God speak to us? Through the glory of his creation. If you want to hear the voice of God, simply go outside. Take a meandering hike through the country and behold the glory of God. Savor his divine attributes.
God Wants To Speak To You
Isn’t it an amazing thing that the living God wants to speak to you? Doesn’t that absolutely blow your mind? We don’t serve a passive God who is far off an uninvolved in our lives. No, we serve a God who is constantly active, constantly speaking, constantly moving in our lives.
So study and savor Jesus. Read the Bible. Respond to the Holy Spirit. Fellowship with others. Go outside. God is ready and willing to speak to you. You just need to be listening.