How Does God Warn You? 7 Practical Ways to Discern His Voice

by Sister McCook

In the midst of the daily hustle and bustle of life, it can be hard to hear God’s voice.

Sometimes we struggle to understand His will for us and may miss His warnings entirely.

Yet, the Bible tells us that God speaks to us in many ways in Bible verses like Isaiah 8:11-12 and Proverbs 3:1-2.

So how can we be more attuned to His voice and heed His warnings?

These are some practical ways that God may be speaking to you and helping you navigate through life with clearer guidance.

1. Through Dreams and Visions

One of the ways that God may be warning and guiding us is through our dreams and visions. Many times in the Bible, we see God speak to His people in this manner.

Dreams and visions can be powerful tools for discerning God’s voice, but it’s important to remember that not all dreams are from Him.

We must be prayerful and seek confirmation through Scripture and wise counsel before taking any action.

Here are some examples where God used dreams to warn his people of danger or to reveal his plans.

1. Joseph – Dreams of Famine

Joseph, the son of Jacob, was a man of dreams.

He dreamt that his family would bow down to him, which angered his brothers and caused him to be sold into slavery.

But later in his life, God used his gift of interpreting dreams to warn Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, of seven years of severe famine that was about to come.

Pharoah’s dream revealed to Joseph the extent of the famine and prompted him to advise the king to stockpile food which saved Egypt from starvation.

From Joseph’s story, we learn that God can use our gifts and talents, no matter how others may perceive them, to fulfill his purpose.

2. Abimelech – Dream of Warning

In Genesis 20, God warned Abimelech, the king of Gerar, in a dream not to take Sarah, Abraham’s wife, as his own.

Had he ignored the warning, he and his entire household would have suffered devastating consequences.

Like Abimelech, sometimes we need to heed the warnings that God gives us, even when it may not make sense to others and appear foolish.

3. Jacob – Dream of Ladder

Jacob had several dreams, but one of them stands out.

As he was fleeing from his brother, Esau, he lay down to rest and had a dream of a ladder extending from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it.

God spoke to him in the dream, promising to bless him and his descendants, protect him, and give him the land he was lying on.

From Jacob’s dream, we learn that God is always with us, even when we feel alone and abandoned.

4. Pilate’s Wife – Dream of Jesus

In the New Testament, there is a case where God used a dream to warn an unbeliever about Jesus’s divine mission.

This account is found in Matthew 27:19, where Pilate’s wife dreamt of Jesus and warned her husband not to condemn him.

She knew he was innocent, and God used a dream to confirm it.

From this story, we learn that no matter how far we’ve strayed from God, He is always ready to guide us back to the truth.

5. Daniel – Dream of Future Events

Daniel is known for his prophetic gift, and he had many dreams that God used to reveal the future to him.

One of the most notable is about the end times, recorded in Daniel 7 and 8.

He saw a vision of kingdoms rising and falling, wars, and the ultimate triumph of God’s people.

From Daniel’s dream, we learn that God reveals himself to those who seek him.

2. Through A Still, Small Voice

Another way that God may be speaking to us is through a still and small voice. This may come as a gentle nudge in your heart, a quiet assurance, or a clear conviction.

Often, this voice may be drowned out by the noise of our lives, but taking time to sit in silence and listen to God can help us recognize it.

Tapping into the Holy Spirit’s guidance can give us a sense of peace or urgency when we need to make a decision.

3. Through Other Christians

God may also speak to you through other Christians. This can come in the form of counsel, conviction, or encouragement.

Being part of a community of believers can provide a support system for seeking guidance and accountability.

As Proverbs 15:22 puts it, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.”

Be open to receiving godly wisdom from others and pray for discernment.

4. Through Circumstances

God can also speak to you through the circumstances of your life.

This is not to say that every hardship or setback is a direct result of God’s warning, but we should seek to find the lessons and meaning in difficult situations.

Sometimes, God may bring something to our attention by allowing us to encounter a particular challenge or obstacle.

Consider the doors He may be closing or opening, and what He may be trying to show you through it all.

5. Through His Word

God’s word is the ultimate source of wisdom and guidance. We can know God’s character and His will for our lives by reading and studying the Bible.

While we may not find specific instructions for every scenario we encounter, the principles laid out in Scripture can point us in the right direction.

When seeking guidance from God’s word, be still and prayerful in your approach, and ask that the Holy Spirit illuminate the Scriptures for you.

6. Through Conviction

God may also warn and guide us through conviction. This can come in the form of a sense of guilt or unease when we are about to make a wrong decision.

Conviction is not meant to condemn us but to guide us onto the right path.

It’s important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and not ignore any nagging feelings in our conscience.

7. Through Other Spiritual Disciplines

Prayer, fasting, worship, and other spiritual disciplines can also help us discern God’s voice.

These practices can help us align our hearts and minds with God’s will, and give us a sense of clarity and focus.

They can serve as a reminder that our relationship with God is dynamic and requires intentional effort on our part.

As we navigate through life, it’s important to remember that God is always speaking to us through various means.

While the above list is not exhaustive, these can serve as a starting point for recognizing His warnings and guidance and moving forward with confidence and trust in God’s plan.

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