Shortly after my previous post, I sensed the Lord wanted me to write about discernment: How to discern God’s Voice from other voices. I intended to do so but have been distracted by other duties.
As I watched a news clip hours ago of Prince William and Prince Harry walking together, with their wives, in honor of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I instantly remembered a dream I saw in June 2021.
Dream: A Royal Transition
Prince William and Prince Harry walked together on the opposite side of the street to mine. They crossed the street and entered a nearby funeral home. I traveled to the opposite side around the same time and went on my way. We met again later in the dream and had a brief conversation.
Though the dream did not mention the deceased, I knew it was someone dear to both of them. So, I asked the Lord about the significance of reminding me about the dream. To my surprise (and amusement), my journal entry immediately before the Royal Transition dream in June 2021 was: Write a blog post about how to discern God’s Voice from other voices.
Of course, this post was not the only purpose for seeing the dream; time will reveal the whole meaning, but it was good to see the brothers walk together again.
Why We Need to Discern God’s Voice
In life, we have many opportunities to exercise discernment, from determining if a prophet or prophetic Word is from the Lord to testing revelation and new teachings or perceiving whether spiritual gifts are under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Our choices or decisions based on the information we have received can impact our lives positively or negatively.
How to Discern Three Different Voices
We hear three voices constantly: the Holy Spirit, our human spirit, and other spirits from the kingdom of darkness.
The Holy Spirit’s Voice
The Holy Spirit is the Voice of Truth (John 16:13). He speaks facts in agreement with the words of Lord Jesus and the Holy Scriptures. He may be corrective and authoritative but is never condescending. Instead, he lifts us and encourages us.
The Human Spirit’s Voice
The human spirit is receptive and ready to learn and often asks questions like a child (1 Corinthians 2: 9-11).
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).
We see many examples of childlike questions throughout the Scriptures. For example, Mary responded to the angel Gabriel’s announcement that she would be the mother of Christ with a question.
Nicodemus asked Jesus,
Similarly, young Samuel asked Eli, the priest, if he had called him (1 Sam 3:6). We can also hear the voice of human spirits in the Book of Acts asking about receiving the Holy Spirit.
Our soul speaks too, but it acts like an echo chamber or megaphone for the spirit it is being influenced by, whether good or evil. Sometimes it blesses (Psalm 103:1), and at other times it complains.
Voices of Dark Spirits
Voices from the kingdom of darkness are easy to discern when they speak of fear, doubt, unbelief, criticism, or condemnation. Like Mary, Zacharias received fantastic news from the angel Gabriel about becoming a parent, but he responded in unbelief.
He doubted God’s ability to fulfill what the angel had prophesied, so he was struck dumb until after the child was born.
A voice from the spirit of darkness is mocking and often questions God’s authority or His Word spoken through an angel or one of His servants. God is patient with those who do not know His ways. However, when a minister of the Gospel or someone familiar with the Voice of God questions God’s wisdom or tries to misrepresent Him, the consequences can be tragic.
For three examples, see Numbers 12 (Aaron and Miriam), Numbers 16 (Korah’s Rebellion), and Acts 5:1-10 (Ananias and Sapphira).
Discerning the Voice Speaking in Dreams
In dreams and visions, discernment may include the message (words), light, colors, and senses. The Holy Spirit motivates hope and change. We agree that we must repent (change) and know God will help us through the process. His dreams are typically colorful, vivid, and impactful and bring a message that aligns with the Scriptures. We may also discern spirits by the ability to smell through the spiritual gift of discernment (2 Corinthians 2: 14-15).
But when a dream is from another source, the message may either stir lusts or appetites of the flesh or leave the hearer discouraged, confused, fearful or insecure. Instead of lifting us, a dark dream deflates our confidence… like a flat tire!
Discerning the Voice from a False Dream
A dream may be full of light and color, quote Scripture, yet be false. These can be tricky to discern because Satan sometimes presents himself as a messenger of light and opposes God’s Will. Even worse, he may speak through someone we love!
For example, Jesus rebuked Satan when he spoke through Peter (Matthew 16:21-23) and when he quoted Psalm 91:12 to the Lord in the wilderness (Matthew 4:6).
A False Prophet and a False Dream
Balaam, an infamous prophet in the Bible, saw a false dream in which he assumed that the Lord consented for him to do business with a pagan king who wanted to destroy Israel. But unfortunately, he did not pause to consider that the dream’s message did not match God’s character. As a result, God had to speak through a donkey and an angel to bring Balaam to his senses (Numbers 22).
Discerning The Voice of Truth
Truth is a Person, and we can know Him intimately (1 Corinthians 6:17). To become familiar with the Voice of Truth, we must be born-again and know God’s Ways and the Word. Since God is unchangeable, how He speaks to or deals with someone in Scripture is how He is likely to talk to us in a dream.
Therefore, knowing the Word and maintaining a relationship with the Person of the Lord Jesus are essential. In other words, we can discern the false when we are well acquainted with the authentic. Treat any incongruence as a red flag warning.
Discerning True versus the Truth
If many believe something is true, that does not make it accurate. In reality, Jesus warned that global deception is possible (Matthew 24: 4-5, 11). A message can be precise factually yet not be from the Lord (Truth). Why? Because Truth considers the right motive, the Will of God, the timing of God, and the proper application. The Spirit of Truth knows our hearts (Jesus often responded to thoughts. Matthew 9:4, 12:25). And, He only bears witness when what is true is also the Truth.
Gifted prophets may deliver God’s words flawlessly yet be false because they did not do so with the right motive. Similarly, the message will not be valid if we tweak a dream interpretation to match our preferences. Therefore, maintaining Truth in our hearts is essential for knowing how to discern God’s Voice from other voices.
Patience Prevails When All Else Fails
A well-known characteristic of a voice from darkness is it is as pushy as a salesman eager to meet his quota (no offense intended if this is your profession). In contrast, have you noticed that God never seems to be in a hurry? Even when we, like Henny Penny, think the sky is falling! An unwillingness to wait reveals that either the flesh or the devil is in charge.
We repeatedly see throughout the Scriptures that things seem to take time to evolve wherever God is at work. The wait was forty years for Moses, twenty-five for Abraham, over ten years for David, thirteen for Joseph, and even our Lord Jesus was “hidden” for eighteen years. Nevertheless, time is an effective weapon for discernment. It reveals what is not from God, and it also shows what is from God.
The Powerful Voice of God
As you can see, God has given us an array of tools, including Scriptures filled with many examples. He has also gifted us with the Holy Spirit. Using these tools not only helps us to discern God’s Voice from other voices, but they also equip us to exercise discernment in our dreams.
However, perhaps there is another tool most worthy of mention – the Word of God. To His enemies, the Voice of God thunders. But when effectively released by our tongues, the Word becomes a mighty double-edged sword from our mouths with the ability to produce life or death (Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 18: 21). We can neutralize the enemy’s plans.
Before I begin to decipher any dream, I declare from my mouth that I only receive the Words of God and cancel every word from the enemy. But we can also restore and renew life. I leave you with an example that I learned about at church today. Just imagine what the Voice of God can do to restore health to our bodies which are 60% water! Amen.