According to David Diga Hernandez, a Christian pastor on YouTube, the greatest problem among Christians today is their loss of identity.
If I were to ask you what your parents are like (or parent, or whoever raised you) I trust you would be able to tell me specific details about them. Maybe you would say your mom was gentle and compassionate, always going out of her way to meet your needs. Maybe you would say your dad was strong and a hard worker, and that he took care of things when they broke down around the house. Or maybe you would say they were absent, but when they were present, they fought all the time. My point here is not whether they were “good or bad.” My point here is that since they were the ones who raised you, and you grew up in their presence, you are familiar, and even quite familiar, with their personalities and temperaments. In the very same way, a child who was raised by God knows the ways of God. Now to be “raised” by God requires being around Him, and spending time in His presence, as a child with their father would. It requires listening to His instruction and teaching, His loving guidance, but also His warnings. And in truth that does take time. This consists of time in intimate prayer with the Father, study of the Word, being around good Bible teaching, and fellowship with other believers. And the more time spent with the Father, the better the child knows the Father. So, tell me, child of God, do you know “who” you are? I ask this because our earthly parents form our “natural” identities. The forming of this identity begins the day we are born and continues during those fragile years of childhood through those we look up to, those who take care of us. In the very same way, the child born of God gains their identity through their heavenly Father. They gain knowledge of themselves through what He says about them. Through His instruction and teaching, through His gentle guidance and correction. He “mirrors” to them their identity. They gain information about their value from how He acts and reacts toward them. They gain insight into themselves through how He speaks about them and to them. Again, this takes place through intimate, quality time, in prayer and study of the Word, also through instruction from the Word, and fellowship with others.
If you are a born-again believer, then you are God’s child. And if you are God’s child then you carry His DNA within you. Let me give you a couple verses for that. The Bible says that “…he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17), and “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn 3:6). This means that when you were born again the Holy Spirit of God merged with your human spirit. And this means you are a son or daughter of the Father and a brother or sister of Jesus. That is simply amazing, isn’t it? And this means that the very same Spirit that led, fed, and filled Christ as He walked this earth now leads, feeds, and fills you. I know Jesus was God and we are not. But the book of Hebrews explains that Jesus, in His flesh, had to “learn” obedience to His Father while He walked this earth. Jesus “modeled” for us how to have a relationship with the Father through the same Holy Spirit that we now carry.
Now that we have established that the “key” to your identity is through the Holy Spirit living within you. Let us now unpack how this relates to discerning His voice. First, the scriptures state quite a few times, mostly in the gospel of John, that the Holy Spirit communicates both the Father and the Son to us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will never speak on His own authority. He will only speak what He hears from the Father and Son. And He (the Spirit) will communicate this to your human spirit. But many want to know “how” exactly they can discern the Holy Spirit’s voice from their own, or even from the enemy’s. First, I want to point out something David Diga Hernandez said regarding the Spirit’s voice. He said it is “not a skill to be acquired but a sense to be sharpened.” That is something important we should know. We do not need to attend seminars or conferences teaching the “skills” that must be learned in order to hear our Father. We are His children. He knows full well how to communicate intimately with each one of us. And yet, as I mentioned above, if we are to know His voice, we must spend time with Him. And this requires becoming intimately acquainted with His ways and His words through the Book He personally wrote to us (the Bible). Also, through intimate, quality prayer time. And these require “silence, time, and space.” If you are a person constantly distracted by the “noise” of the world through social media, or busyness, then you will have difficulty “hearing” the Spirit. You must silence the noise in your life. But once we have created the space and time to “hear,” God is fully willing and ready to speak! And when you are ready to listen, I suggest allowing time for Him to “examine” your heart first. I personally believe in allowing the Spirit to “shine a light” on anything in my life that may need to be addressed. Anything that I may have been neglecting but which God has been trying to get me to deal with. Like this: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me” (Ps 139:23-24a). You know, if I truly desire to hear from God, then I must not reject His correction when it comes. Remember, He is a “good” Father. A good Father disciplines their children. But God’s discipline is never like Satan’s condemnation! The Father does not “condemn,” He “corrects.” This is a perfect spot for me to mention another thing that D.D.H. said. He said that both the voice of our own flesh and the voice of the devil “push” us. Whereas the Holy Spirit’s voice “leads” us. Remember when Jesus said that His sheep “hear” His voice and “follow” His leading. I think I’ll go over some more things I learned from D.D.H. He said the more familiar we become with God through spending time with Him and His Word, the more familiar we’ll become with His voice. Just as a child can spot when their parent is calling for them so too, we can learn to discern our Father’s voice. It is important here to mention the differences between our own voice and the Spirit’s. Our voice (in our head) fluctuates depending upon emotion and circumstance. Whereas the Spirit’s voice is stable and constant. His voice is built on timeless truths found in scripture. His voice is built on a sure and steady foundation. When God speaks there is a “consistency” to it! But our moods, thoughts, and feelings, all change. The Holy Spirit’s voice will always affirm your identity, whereas Satan’s will always question it. Remember when he said to Jesus in the wilderness, “if” you are the Son of God.” In fact, this is one of Satan’s favorite tactics. He loves to get God’s children to doubt their identity. He has been casting doubt about this from the beginning. We must know that the Spirit’s voice will always align with scripture. And really, if we are honestly seeking the Father, seeking His presence with a humble, willing heart, we will hear Him. Also, we must not trust in our ability to hear our Father, but we must trust in His ability to communicate. The voice of the Spirit communicating the voice of the Father and the Son will always affirm our adoption as children of God. For the “Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:16). He will testify to our spirit that we are “forgiven, loved, chosen, known, valued, secure, and accepted as His very own. I have found it to be an immense pleasure for God to affirm our identity. He just enjoys reminding us that we are His.
So the key to discerning the Spirit’s voice compared to any other is through relationship. The more time spent with the Father with an attitude of humility (letting Him search your heart and course correct as needed), prayer and worship with quietness, time and space, Bible study and fellowship with other God-fearing individuals, the more you’ll know His voice. And remember, He knows you. He knows the way you learn, think, and “hear.” You do not have to “strain” to hear Him. All you have to do is “separate the voices.” And remember, He is your Father. He has already pursued a relationship with you. All you have to do is respond by pursuing back. He loves you. He is for you. He sees you, hears you, and knows you. And He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).