If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that journaling with Jesus is very important to us here at Sixty-One Acres. It is one of the many ways we can build intimacy with our Lord. When we journal with Jesus, it’s not “dear diary” writing—it is a two-way conversation with the God of the universe! We talk to the Lord through words—asking Him questions, telling Him our struggles, and simply sharing our heart. After we have poured it all out, we stop, listen, and write down what we hear Him speaking to us. We want to know His Heart—toward us, of our lives, of our journey. As we listen inwardly for Holy Spirit’s Voice, we sometimes discover that our own thinking and our own belief systems are contradictory to His Truth. Our belief systems are so ingrained in us that it takes intentional pausing to listen to the Voice of God to discover the error of the paradigms in which we live.
Everything comes from one of four voices: myself, the world, Satan, or God—so how can we be sure that what we hear really is from the Lord?
One of the ways to discern a voice is by testing it. At every retreat we give you a journal and an information folder and in both of those places you will find a “Test It” card. The “Test It” card includes six questions you can ask of what you have written or heard to determine whether or not it is from the Lord.
How to “Test It”
Is it true and Christ-exalting?
God only speaks what is true and what honors Christ.
The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth. He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me. The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you. (John 16:13-15, The Voice)
Is it found in Scripture?
Although the exact wording or even precise topic may not be in Scripture, it will always line up with The Word and not contradict it.
Every word of God will be put to the test and proven true;
He is a defense for those who trust in Him.
Take care. Add nothing to what He has said;
for if you do, He will correct you and expose you as a liar.
Does it encourage you instead of condemn you, even if being corrected?
God’s voice is always encouraging and hope-filled. Even if I am feeling convicted about something, He still gives me hope. If He is correcting me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. He’s not shaking a finger saying, “You were bad and you need to fix it.” No, He wants us to rely on Him. He encourages in the correction by showing me the path toward righteousness.
Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Does it produce good fruit?
This question may take time to be able to answer. This is why we encourage you to write things down! Go back into your journal a week, a month, or a year and reread what you sensed the Lord speaking. Has fruit been produced? This is a great way to build your faith that you are, indeed, hearing the Voice of God.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. My Father examines every branch in Me and cuts away those who do not bear fruit. He leaves those bearing fruit and carefully prunes them so that they will bear more fruit; already you are clean because you have heard My voice. Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.
I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn. (John 15:1-6)
Have you prayed and used discernment with a fellow believer?
Community is so important! If I have written something and it feels like a big decision or heavy on my heart, I am going to go to a close friend who is also a believer and ask her to pray with me about it. As we talk and pray, we will sense the Lord’s Voice and direction in this. Pray together, but also pray separately and see what the Lord may say.
My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Does God bring it to pass?
Again, this is one that may take time. God is faithful and He stands on His promises. Go back to be reminded of His faithfulness. (Read Christi’s post on remembering HERE.)
For as rain and snow can’t go back once they’ve fallen,
but soak into the ground
And nourish the plants that grow,
providing seed to the farmer and bread for the hungry,
So it is when I declare something.
My word will go out and not return to Me empty,
But it will do what I wanted;
it will accomplish what I determined. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
I love to “Test It” anytime I am unsure that what I heard was from God. I also use this strategy whenever there is a big decision I believe I have heard from the Lord on.
Sometimes I “Test It” when I need my faith built up – it is a beautiful way to seek confirmation that I am actually hearing from the Lord, that He does speak to me. And He does speak to you.
Remember that we share journal prompts on our socials every Saturday morning. Join us in journaling with Jesus and build your intimacy with Him.