How To Hear and Obey God's Voice

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3 Big Ideas:


  1. We need obedience driven discipleship, not curriculum-driven discipleship. We all know more scripture than we apply.
  2. We should ask and answer, "What is God saying to you?". This is a question we should all be asking each other. Observe. Reflect. Discuss. 
  3. We need to ask and answer, "What are you going to do about it?".  This is a question we should all be asking each other. Plan. Have Accountability. Act.

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Show Notes:

We love you so we typed this up....

[02:00] Phenomenal Family Shoutouts
[03:45] How to know the difference between curriculum-driven discipleship versus obedience driven discipleship.
[05:45] How do I OBSERVE what God is saying to me?
[06:15] How do I OBSERVE what God is saying to me in scripture?
[07:15] God speaking can feel like a speed bump. (see Jonah 1:4)
[08:35] God speaking can feel like a brick wall. (Acts 16:6)
[09:45] God speaking can feel like a window.
[10:15] God speaking can feel like a mirror. (Luke 15:17-20)
[10:45] How do I REFLECT and DISCUSS what God it saying to me?
[13:45] How do I PLAN what I'm going to do about it?
[17:45] We need ACCOUNTABILITY.
[21:00] We must ACT.  Matthew 7:24-29
[22:30] Recap

Below is a direct transcript of our episode. Please forgive any transcription errors.

Let's get started. All right, we have a very, very important episode today on how to hear and obey God's voice. Trust me, you do not want to miss it. Listen, if you have found yourself going to Bible studies and going to church services, but you don't see your friends, or yourself, or your spouse, or your children changing and walking in obedience, you want to pay attention. 

[02:00] Phenomenal Family Shoutouts 

 
But before we do that, we definitely want to honor, and say thank you, to those of you who have left us these amazing reviews on iTunes. We actually read all of the reviews that have been left in the past two to three months, and we put them on Instagram. But we definitely wanted to read one of them for you here today. Dorianna, you want to go with the report? 
Dorianna James: 

 Yes, by Nico underscore White. She says, "I absolutely love this podcast. My husband and I are coming up on our one-year anniversary,"- 
LaShaude James: 

 Woo, woo. 
Dorianna James: 

 ... Woot, woot, [crosstalk 00:01:32] "and listening to this podcast has truly stopped a lot of arguments before they start."  "And solve them before they get out of hand. So it's awesome to be part of a young black, married, and Christian, Phenomenal family to help shed light on the issues and address the problems, as the problems, and not the person." 
LaShaude James: 

 Ooh, one more time. You address the problem, as the problem- 
Dorianna James: 

 And not the person. 
LaShaude James: 

 And not the person. Okay, okay. 
Dorianna James: 

 "Thank you guys so much for helping us, as freshly weds," which I told her I'm going to steal that. "Much love, respect, and blessings of God." 

 Thank you Phenomenal Family Inner Circle, we are here because of your support. We could not do this without you. So let's get into it. How do we hear and obey God's voice? And how do we help coach and train those loved ones around us to do the same thing? So out of the gate, here's how you do it.

[03:45] How to know the difference between curriculum-driven discipleship versus obedience driven discipleship. 

There's just two questions that you need to ask them. Number one, "What is God saying to you?" And number two, "What are you going to do about it?" Number one, "What is God saying to you?" And number two, "What are you going to do about it?" Now, a lot of people struggle to hear God's voice. And then even if they do hear God's voice, a lot of people struggle to live in obedience with it. That's a problem, because in America we have what I believe is a curriculum-driven discipleship, instead of an obedience-driven discipleship. 
LaShaude James: 

 What that means is, we go through curriculum, and we think that we're actually becoming more like Jesus, instead of obeying what Jesus says. And seeing that is the sign of we're becoming more like Jesus. So we go from small group, to small group, to small group, and book study, to book study, to book study. We read through the Bible once, we read through the Bible twice. We go from book to book within the Bible. We go from video series to video series. We go from preacher to preacher and podcast to podcast. And we just consume more, and more, and more curriculum, believing that the more curriculum that we can digest, and understand, and quote, and memorize, we think that's becoming more like Jesus, instead of looking at the milestones of obedience in our life. 

 Okay. So here's a quick story from the Bible. There was a guy who came up to Jesus, and asked Jesus, "Hey, how do I inherit eternal life? You're a teacher, you know how to do this thing. How do I inherit eternal life?" And Jesus, he goes back and forth with him, but at the very end, he says that the guy should sell everything he has, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus. And that rich young ruler, the scripture says he went away very sad, because he had a lot of possessions. Now here's the cool thing, and this is kind of weird, but we don't see Jesus chase that person down. We don't ever know if that rich young ruler ever actually walked in obedience. The guy had a lot of knowledge, but he was not walking in obedience. And what you see with Jesus is that when you get to a point of disobedience, that's where we stop and we spend our time. Jesus isn't going to keep loading you up with more, and more, and more curriculum and more, and more, and more teachings. 
LaShaude James: 

 We can just stop at the one point of obedience that we need, and then we operate from there. So those are the two questions, "What is God saying to you?" and, "How do you obey?" But if you're listening right now, you're probably like, "Wait a minute, yeah, it's great that you gave me those two questions. But how are we going to work that out?" We're here for you. We're here for you. So within the first question of, "What is God saying to you?", there's three parts. We want to observe what God's saying, we want to reflect on what God's saying, and then we discuss it with someone else. So Dorianna, you want to go through a little bit of what the observe part means? 

[05:45] How do I OBSERVE what God is saying to me?
 [06:15] How do I OBSERVE what God is saying to me in scripture? 

Yes. So we're listening and we're hearing it, like, "What is God saying to me?" So a lot of times we need to stop what we're doing long enough to see what's going on, to really name what God is saying, it's something that you can, an easy trick to know how to name something that God is saying to you. We all know, we as Christians, we want to read the Bible. That's the way that God speaks to us. Those are his love letters to us. Those are how we get a picture of his character. Every time that we read the Bible, we have a chance to see into another person's life and to see how God responds, a picture of God's character. And what we need to do is, as we read a scripture, or we read a verse, we can say, "What is the timeless truth?" and the timeless truth is, what did God do back then that he still does now? What picture, what characteristic do we see is true about God today and is also true about God before? 

 So once we read that verse, and we see the key timeless truth about God, then that's the opportunity to say, "How does God's character relate to me where I'm at right now?" And if we're reading something in the New Testament, we can see. How did Jesus react to something that I don't currently react the same way Jesus would react? So that's the observe part, where we stop long enough to see what's going on, and we name what the actual problem is. 

[07:15] God speaking can feel like a speed bump. (see Jonah 1:4) 

And so there's four ways that you'll find yourself stopping when you feel like God's talking to you. Number one is, we call it a speed bump, a brick wall, a window, or a mirror. All right, so let's break that down. A speed bump, if you've gone over a speed bump, it's something that makes you slow down, it's something that definitely makes you change your pace. Biblically, think of the story of Jonah. So Jonah is on a boat, and he's going in the opposite way of where God is telling him to go. He's running away from the will of God for his life, and a terrible violent storm kicks up, and now we're at a speed bump. We need to slow it down. There's some danger if we keep moving at this pace, we need to figure something out. So that's what we call a speed bump. Maybe a speed bump in your life is finances that might get messed up for a two-week period, even after you had a budget, and everything else was planned out, you hit a financial speed bump. Maybe it's something physically, to where you were feeling great all week, and then maybe you physically don't feel well. And now you have to stop and slow down. 
LaShaude James: 

 You're like, "Okay God, what are you saying to me?" Maybe you have children who, for some reason, are acting crazy one day. And you're like, "This feels supernatural, this feels unreal. There is something different about this storm than other storms." And that may be a speed bump where God is trying to say something to you, so we want to observe that. 

[08:35] God speaking can feel like a brick wall. (Acts 16:6) 

The second one is the brick wall. Remember, we have the speed bump, the brick wall, the window, and the mirror. And this is all to help us hear what God is saying to us, right? So the brick wall is when God stops you from doing something. Now these are sometimes painful. Obviously, if you run up to, or into, a brick wall, it's painful. 
 
 Biblical examples of this is when Paul was actually, in the new Testament, Paul was going throughout Asia, and he was preaching. And the scripture says that the spirit of God stopped him from going into a certain part of Asia, and he had to go to a different part. We don't know exactly how that happened, but boom, brick wall, stop what you're doing. This could be everything from a car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. That's a brick wall, maybe God, but it's a brick wall. And it feels like, "Hey, I think God's trying to tell me something here." 
 
Maybe the brick wall could be getting fired from a job. When you thought you might've been up for a promotion, or you didn't see it coming, you were a great employee, but for some reason they just fired you, that could be a brick wall. God could be trying to tell you something in that moment. And we believe that God is a God that speaks to us and that he loves to talk to us more than our parents love to talk to us, more than we love talking to our children, God loves talking to us. So chances are, during these transition periods, God is saying something. 

[09:45] God speaking can feel like a window.   

So number one, speed bump, number two, brick wall, number three is a window. That's when you're given some sort of clarity, whether that's in a dream or whether that's in somebody saying something that confirms what you believe God was saying to you. You just get a moment of clarity about your situation or about someone else's situation.  It can feel very prophetic, in a sense, where you feel like you hear it directly from God, that there's clarity on something that was once cloudy in your life. 

[10:15] God speaking can feel like a mirror. (Luke 15:17-20) 

And then number four is a mirror. That mirror is something that you can see, yourself, with clarity. Think of the prodigal son. The scripture says, "At once, he came to himself." And he thought to himself, "If my hired hand's at my father's house, I should go and work for my dad. I should go back to dad, because at least I can work for him." But that scripture where it says, "he came to himself," that's a mirror where he had clarity about his current situation. And he saw himself in a different light, and he saw his father's love, and his father's relationship, in a different kind of way. 
LaShaude James: 

 So just to recap, those are the four things when we're observing what God is saying to us. Maybe it's a speed bump, a brick wall, a window, or a mirror. But this is all to help us understand, "What is God saying to us?" 

[10:45] How do I REFLECT and DISCUSS what God it saying to me? 


 And that brings us to... That's a good segue for number two, which is, to reflect. After we observe what's going on, either through God's word, or that speed bump, that brick wall, that mirror, or that window, we have to reflect. We push a little deeper, and that's when we really look in the mirror and see what is going on in me. We push a little bit deeper into that problem or to what God is saying. And we look in that mirror and see what's going on in our hearts, or in our minds, or in the way we're handling things. And then once we take that time with God, observing and reflecting, then we switch over to discussing. When we find someone, another Christ follower, another believer, and we discuss what God has said to us, this is what can take us from just repenting about a problem, or really reflecting on that problem. And it pushes us into the next steps, which are really just the part of believing what God is saying and following out in obedience- 
 
Dorianna James: 

 ... to what God has been saying. And that's what we're talking about today, is obedience, being obedient to what God has said. Not... It's nice to sit down, and think, and be like, "Maybe God is saying this," or "Maybe God caused this, or "Maybe God really wants me to do this." But now after we're hearing, "What is God saying to me?," we get to the point of, "What are you going to do about it?" 
LaShaude James: 

 Yes. And so listen, we're talking about what is God saying to you. And the three ways that we can understand and process what God is saying to us is, first we observe it, then we reflect upon it, and then we discuss. Don't switch those up. A lot of times people want to talk about what God's saying to you directly after church service or directly after he's spoken out of his word during your morning devotional, and you immediately want to hop on into a conversation with somebody else and discuss it. Take time to stop, observe, and reflect on it, and then go into discussion about it. But then don't stop there. How many of you... Just, let's pause. 
LaShaude James: 

 How many of you know people who could tell you exactly what God is saying over their life, but then they don't do it? And it's almost like a theme where they hear God very clearly on Sunday, or they hear God very clearly in a Bible study, or God told me this, God told me that, God told me this. And in the back of your mind, you're like, but why won't you do it? 
 
LaShaude James: 

 It's great that you're hearing from God, and you're getting all this revelation, but what's going on? Why aren't you doing it? Now we're going to walk into the second part of, "What are you going to do about it?" 
Dorianna James: 

 And it's the same thing, even outside of our relationship with God, we can be talking about, "Man, I really should stop doing this, this, and this, because it's killing me." Or people who are maybe physically sick, or maybe if you're saying, "I really need to work out, because my back's been killing me, my joints," and all this other stuff," and say, "I should really do this." And we're over here like, "Yeah, yeah, you should, you should." But then what do we think about those people that never actually do it? It's like, okay, you know the answer, so really you just need to follow through. 

[13:45] How do I PLAN what I'm going to do about it? 

Yeah. So now we're going to talk about the follow through. So we talked about, what is God saying to you, and how we can walk people through that process, and how we can go through that process. Now we're going to talk about, what are we going to do in response? So just like the first part had three, the second part is going to have three. The first part was observe, reflect, and discuss. The last part is plan, have accountability, and act. So Dorianna, do you want to talk about, what does it mean to actually make a plan to put what God is saying to us into action? 

 Okay, well, I can keep going. So yes, for this plan all you have to simply ask yourself is, "What am I going to do about what God said?" It might be easy to go through a little bit of an example of this kind of walk with LaShaude and myself. So let's say I hear God saying that you need to step back from watching so much TV and doing so much social media, because this is just time that you are distracted from me, and you're heavily and overly invested in somebody else's life. 
LaShaude James: 

 Okay. And so there, I would pause, and be like, "All right, Dorianna, God said that to you," or God said that to whoever's going through this example. And I would ask, "What's one small step that you can take in obedience to that this week?" If you had to list one small thing, what would it be? Now the reason for that language is very important. We talk about not making these grand gestures that are going to be hard or maybe impossible to do. When God is moving in our lives, he equates it to a growing, of plants, that we're growing together. He doesn't say, "We just snap our fingers and we change." We're actually growing. And so, "Dorianna, what's one small step that you can take?" And when she mentioned that small step, what I'm looking for are the details of who, what, when, where, how, and why. Okay? 
LaShaude James: 

 I'm not trying to be an accountability police, I'm an accountability partner. But I need details of this plan. So she said, "TV." Okay, well, "What time are you watching TV? When are you watching it? What are you watching? Where are you watching it?" And then tell me how you're not going to do that. Is it four hours of TV, we're going to get down to two? Is it two hours of TV, we're going to get down to one? Is it one hour of TV, we're getting to zero? Like, what are the details of this? And it's important that you let them come up with the plan. You can help a little bit, but a plan that they come up with is so much better than a plan that you place on them. Because they're going to hold to it a little differently, because they came up with it themselves. 

[17:45] We need ACCOUNTABILITY. 

Yeah. So if you're helping someone else through, and you're the accountability partner, then it is that question of, what is one small step that you are going to take tomorrow, or this week? Make it soon, so that you can be obedient to what God has said. And if you don't have someone else that you're talking to in this part of the plan, then it is that question to say, "What am I going to do? What is one small step?" So for our example of social media or the example of TV, saying, "I am not going to watch TV until I read my Bible, for at least a certain amount of time. And starting tomorrow, I'm going to set my alarm to when I can start watching TV." 
LaShaude James: 

 And so I would ask her, as we're developing this plan, "Will doing this actually accomplish what God is asking you to do?" 
Dorianna James: 

 Yeah. 
LaShaude James: 

 So, will not watching TV to a certain time, or will not going on social media, or watching TV until you read your Bible. Will that plan actually accomplish what you hear God calling you to do? Because, there are times we do come up with plans that actually don't get at the heart issue of what God is saying. Or maybe the plan will be good for somebody else, but for us, we can find a way to get around it and still miss the heart of God. So as you're helping someone develop this plan, the first question is, "What's one small step of obedience that you can take in this direction?" And again, we're looking for who, what, when, where, how, and why. And they need to take ownership of the plan themselves. And then make sure that we know that doing this will actually get us to the heart issue that God is trying to get at, so that's the plan part. The last two before we let you go is, we have to have accountability, and then we have to act. 
LaShaude James: 

 So again, we're talking about, how do we hear God's voice and obey? And the two questions we're going over is, "What is God saying to you?," and "How are you going to respond?" And then when we're trying to figure out what God is saying to us, we're observing, we're reflecting, we're discussing. And then when we talk about how we're going to walk in obedience, and what we are going to do about it, first we come up with a plan, then we need accountability, and finally, we act. So let's talk about accountability, Dorianna. 
Dorianna James: 

 Yes. So accountability, you need to have a family around you, or someone who, first, you give them permission to call you out. Give them permission to tell you, "Hey, this was not what you said you wanted to do." Or are you asking the questions of, "Did you actually follow through with what we said we were going to do?" So find someone, of course, that's going to partner with you, that believes that you have heard from God, and that you want to be obedient, someone who understands how important it is to be obedient to God. And what you can really do is create an accountability question. So if I wanted to make something short and sweet, that I give LaShaude permission to ask me throughout the week about my TV watching, it could be something as upfront and honest as, "Hey, did you get on your Bible first, or did you get on Instagram first?" Or, "How's your Instagram life looking?" Or, "How much TV did you watch?" And that's that question where I'm allowing him to call me out on something that I know is very, very important. 
LaShaude James: 

 Yeah. And another way to check in, here's the words that you can use. "Are these steps of obedience leading to the change that God wants in your life?" Now that's a very direct way of asking. But again, what we're getting at is the change that God wants. We don't actually care so much about the TV. We don't care so much about the actual fruit. We care about the root, what's going on in our hearts that's causing this fruit that is not godly. And so for the TV example, I'll say, "Hey, first of all, have you followed through in what you said?" And Dorianna will be like, "Yeah, yeah, I followed through." And I'll say, "Okay, well, do you think this has had the effect that we want? Is this the obedience that's leading to the change that God wants in our life?" Again, it's not just about the details of the plan, it's the spirit behind the plan that's important. 
Dorianna James: 

 That's beautiful, because we know that God is not just about us checking off boxes- 
LaShaude James: 

 Laws and rules, yeah. 
Dorianna James: 

 ... and following through, just so we can make sure we take it off our checklist, and we say, "We did it." It's really all about our relationship with him, our spirit, our hearts lining up with what his heart beats for, our character looking more like the character of Jesus. So all of these are just practical tools and helpful things to make sure that we keep our flesh pretty much pushed down, and that we're feeding our spirit. So it's not just things to accomplish, so that we can say, "Well, I'm a good Christian, I do X, Y, and Z." But it's saying, "My heart, I can feel my heart being swayed more and more to the things that Jesus had a heart for."
[21:00] We must ACT.  Matthew 7:24-29 

 Yes. And the last step, step number six, when we talk about the side of, "What are we going to do about it?", it's just to act. We have a plan, okay, we have accountability with the godly community that we have, and now it's just time to act. In the scripture, Jesus has this really funny story where he says, "Why do you call me Lord, but you don't do the things I say?" And he tells a story about a man who built his house, a whole house, where he was going to live, him and his family, he built his house on sand. He invested resources and built his house on sand. And obviously, when the storm came, his building fell down. But another man built his house on a solid foundation, and when the storm came, it actually withstood the storm. And so, again, Jesus says, "He who hears these words of mine and acts on them is like the person who built his house on a rock." 
LaShaude James: 

 Thousands of people listened to Jesus. Not many of them actually followed through with obedience-driven discipleship, and Jesus was quick to call those people out. If you were just around Jesus, if you were just listening to Jesus, and you were consuming his content, if you were just following him on Instagram, but your life didn't look anything like him, he was quick to call you out. And be like, "Listen, you call me Lord, but you don't do the things I say." So it's important that we act on the plan that we've come up with, because we've observed what God is saying to us, we've reflected on it, we boiled it down to one or two statements. We've discussed it with our friends, we've made a plan, the who, what, when, where, how, and why. And we have accountability where people are going to check in with us on that next date. And then, now, we're acting on it. 
Dorianna James: 

 Yeah, we're doing it, we're just doing it. We're following through. And sometimes it's that small degree of change in the right direction that makes all the difference in our future, and our future with Jesus, our future with our family. And I think this is something that's powerful, because that's bringing people in as accountability partners. And then that's when you know, I'm serious, and I need help. And we're doing it. So the last part of it is, just act. Do what you said you want to do. Do what you said you were going to do. 

[22:30] Recap

 Listen, if you skip any one of those six steps, you're not going to have a healthy relationship with learning, you're not going to have a healthy relationship with hearing God's voice and acting in obedience. We need all six of those. "What are you hearing God's saying?", and, "What are you going to do about it?" Did you observe? Did you reflect? Did you discuss it with somebody? Now, do you have a plan? Do you have accountability with your Christian family? And are you acting upon it? So that's the lesson, or that's the word, the podcast, the episode for today. If you walk away from this episode, and you're like, "Wow, that was a little bit overwhelming, I know he repeated himself a million times, but I wish he would've just typed it out," we did type it out. And we have it for you in the show notes. 
LaShaude James: 

 So if you go to the episode description of this podcast episode, you'll see kind of a skeleton of what we were talking about. If you want details, you want pictures, you want videos, you want resources, then click the link that's in the episode description. And you'll actually go to the show notes that are on our page. And we will really resource you with all of the videos, and all of the content, and the pictures that this information is coming out of. If you like reading books, there's a book by Mike Breen, called Building a Discipleship Culture, that this content is coming out of. But if you need more, we've written it all down for you, so no need to stress about that. 
LaShaude James: 

 Listen, this podcast is a free gift from us to you. But there is one thing that you can do, please rate, comment, and leave a review. It helps us to reach more people. So step number one, let us know how we do, go leave us a review. Encouragement means a lot, so please share your thoughts. Step number two, this podcast supports over 3,000 marriages in the US and abroad. And if this podcast has been any benefit to you, please consider supporting the content that supports so many others. Make your next move your best move, join the Phenomenal Family- 
Dorianna James: 

 The Phenomally. 
LaShaude James: 

 ... Inner Circle. And you can get access to all of our training courses on communication and all of our premium episodes that you might've heard so much about. 
Dorianna James: 

 Yes. Now, we promised you that over a few minutes, we'd give you a few tips to fortify the future of your marriage, and I think we did just that. 
LaShaude James: 

 I think we did just that. Okay, until next time. We love you guys. 
Dorianna James: 

 Bye. 
LaShaude James: 

 Bye. 

  
 

 

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