1. God never says anything that contradicts Scripture. God has spoken to us through the Bible–this is His word. He would never say anything that would contradict what He has already said in the Bible.
You don't have to be a Bible scholar to hear God's voice clearly, but the more you know the Bible, the easier it will be to discern His voice. By studying Scripture, you will get to know how He thinks, and you will become familiar with what He has to say. Then it will be easier to hear Him clearly when He speaks directly to you.
If you ever think you've heard God tell you something that contradicts Scripture, then you have heard wrong. Go back to God and tell Him what you thought you heard; then ask Him to show you what He really has to say about that issue.
2. God's voice is not the voice of anxiety, unsettledness or exhaustion. God desires for us to walk in His rest and peace. But when we are anxious, unsettled or exhausted, it is harder to hear His voice.
There have been many times in which I have cried out to the Lord for clarity on something, desperate to hear from Him right away. But instead of answering immediately, God put me to sleep. I woke up rested, and then I could hear His voice much more clearly. And that is when He would speak to me on the matter.
God does not speak to us from a place of anxiety and unsettledness. Instead He helps us deal with the things that brought us to that state, and He has us rest and get our balance back. Then He speaks to us clearly.
3. God's voice is not the voice of obscurity. Sometimes people make it a lot harder to hear God than it should be. They think that God is going to talk to them in obscure riddles or other cryptic means.
They assume He will be hard to understand and that it will be a test to see whether or not they can discern what He has to say on a particular matter. That is not what the Bible says. God speaks clearly to those who seek Him (see James 1:5).
There is a test that comes with hearing God, but it is not about our ability to discern what He is saying. God is willing to communicate clearly to us. The test is in our willingness to obey God after we have heard Him clearly.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). God will communicate clearly with us if we will listen to what He tells us and obey Him. And His ability to communicate clearly is greater than our ability to “miss it” or “hear wrong.”
4. God's voice is not the voice of gossip. God will not tell us other people's faults and problems unless He intends for us to be part of the solution, either through prayer and intercession or by taking action on their behalf. The good news is that if God won't gossip to you about others, then He won't gossip to others about you!
You don't have to be afraid of what God is going to say about you to your friends. God is not going to tell you other people's dirt, and He is not going to tell other people your dirt. He's just not like that.
5. God's voice is not the voice of condemnation. The enemy is quick to try and condemn us. Our own hearts are quick to try and condemn us. But the Bible says clearly: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2).
Does this mean the Holy Spirit won't ever convict us if we need it? Of course not. But conviction and condemnation are not the same thing.
Condemnation discourages and breeds hopelessness. It gives you the feeling that nothing can ever fix your problem. But conviction encourages us. It gives us solutions to our problems.
There are times when we need correcting, and God is faithful to correct us. The Bible says that God, like any loving father, corrects His children for their own good (see Heb. 12:5-10). But His correction is not punishment–it is helping us fix a problem so that we can be closer to Him.
When we realize how much God loves us–and when we understand how much He wants to talk with us–we won't struggle with hearing His voice. And we will enjoy the freedom of His presence like never before.