(Part One of “Hearing God’s Voice”)


That’s what neuroscientific researchers claim is the average number of choices a person makes per day.

Talk about multiple choices!

I’m not the first one to write about this figure. Do a quick Google search and you will quickly see a vast array of articles on the topic related to mental health, decision fatigue, leadership strategies, dieting, creativity, or any number of areas you can think of.

Of course, many of those articles exist in order to provide helpful strategies for overcoming and success in each of these areas, and I’m sure a number of them are helpful.

Few people that I know actually experience true peace.

I’m also certain that anyone who takes a look around at the world we live in will quickly conclude that a large number of people continue to make poor decisions every single day. Likely, if you honestly examine yourself, you will also conclude that there are many decisions you make daily that you constantly question – either regretting past decisions, fearing the consequences of current choices, or anxious about future ones.

Few people that I know actually experience true peace. In fact, I would say I don’t know anyone who doesn’t experience regret, fear, or anxiety on at least some small level every day. While regret can sometimes be good in terms of helping us to make better future decisions, and fear can be warning signals to avoid danger, many times they can also overwhelmingly control us and actually cause us to make future poor decisions – thus, creating a vicious cycle of poor choices, shame and fear, poor choices to cover the shame and fear, more shame and fear, etc.

That 35,000 number, of course, is not just about the big decisions. It has to do with minute choices you make second by second, such as your choice to even click on this article or whether to continue reading past this sentence. A significant percentage are often on a much more subconscious level.

I point this out because I believe these 35,000 choices have a much greater impact on everything than we tend to realize and are ultimately at the root of every single problem we experience today. 

With so many multiple choices to make each day, is there a way to pass this test?

All of creation exists and is undergirded through God’s voice

In Genesis 3 we read about humankind’s first supposed failed test – the choice of Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Too often we get caught up in scholarly debate about the historicity of the moment, but I believe when we do that, we miss the greater significance of the passage.

In fact, I’ve personally come to conclude that the story was not meant to be a focus on what one single couple did a long time ago which caused the world to go into turmoil but rather a profound exposition of what we, as people, continually do on a regular basis that presently causes such disorder.

I won’t go into detailed exposition here (that’s for a later article), but I believe the story of “the Fall” is about the difference between making choices while in continual relationship with the voice of God, thus receiving peace and life, versus deciding to go out on our own and make choices apart from the need for God, thus committing ourselves to constant turmoil and “death.”

The result of Adam and Eve’s choice to “go out on their own” was shame and fear, causing them to hide from the voice of God and perpetuating them into that vicious cycle of poor choices followed by shame and fear, followed by poor choices, and on and on. This is a theme repeatedly demonstrated by humankind throughout the rest of scripture, as they often turned to either outright rebellion or to legalism as their “tree of knowledge of good and evil” rather than relationship with God’s voice – until Christ came to end the death cycle by removing that shame and fear (though, as I’ll explain later, I don’t think many Christians live as though that’s true).

Why is this important to understand? Because I believe God speaks continuously to each one of us every single day, but most of us today (and throughout human history) don’t know how to hear God’s voice. For many of us, due to misplaced teachings and misunderstandings about what God’s voice sounds like, we simply don’t know how to even recognize it. But even beyond that, we (myself included) often fall into fear in trusting that voice or get too caught up in our constant worry and shame to be able to slow down and listen.

I have shared many times how God, as the “I Am,” is the ground of being and that all things were created “through Christ.” All of creation exists and is undergirded through God’s voice, meaning all natural law operates according to the character of God. We, ourselves, were created and are undergirded by God’s voice. Thus, it is essential for life (just like water) that we remain connected to that voice at all times as we make our daily choices.

Think about that. If most of humankind throughout history has struggled with listening to God’s voice, that equals 35,000 daily choices made by billions of people over thousands and thousands of years that are potentially in conflict with the very nature of being. The prospective impact of that is enormous, from human relationships, to societal structure, to effects on the physical environment, to the food we intake. 

It should not shock us then as we discover many of the choices we have made throughout time have turned out to have so many negative effects upon us (e.g. building materials that cause cancer, food that gives us health problems, actions that impact the environment), that human relations continue to struggle (e.g. war, racism, abuse, etc.), or that mental health problems persist. 

This is not to say that all suffering is due to our own individual choices (i.e. you got cancer because of something you did, you were abused because of your actions), but rather the impact of generation upon generations of choices made over centuries upon centuries. The field of epigenetics has even shown that choices by ancestors can end up having genetic (and mental health) effects on descendants way down the line. Even false ways of thinking, perpetuated generation after generation, can get us so off track that we no longer recognize them as false.

This is also not to say that all 35,000 choices are always wrong. As the common saying goes, a broken clock is right at least twice a day (and I suspect most people get a lot more than two choices right per day or we likely wouldn’t even survive the day). Plus, as I intend to argue in a future article, I believe we actually all do hear and respond to God’s voice a lot more than we think – we just don’t know how to recognize or credit it.

But I do still believe, as evidenced by all the continual problems in the world and by our constant lack of experiencing true peace, that we make a lot of poor decisions, even ones we don’t ever realize.

You literally have access to the author of life

Why is it important to stay in a continual relationship with God? Number one, because you literally have access to the author of life, the one who existed before the beginning of time and, therefore, knows all things. Life is complicated and not one of us has all the information for making the best decision – but God does and you can rest in the comfort that God can give you wisdom for every choice.

Does that mean that God will give you direct instruction on all 35,000 choices? Of course not (believe me I’ve tried), because God also gives you a huge amount of freedom of choice – thus, why in Genesis 2, it shows God giving Adam the choice to name all of the animals. But this brings us to reason number two: you cannot remain near to the voice of God without being changed. Scripture shows the voice as a “consuming fire” that conforms you into God’s character when you are close. Thus, having been changed by the great “I Am,” you can be at peace in making free choices that coincide with the very nature of being itself.

And third, when you remain close to the voice, you begin to hear God’s constant expressions of unconditional love and favor. Thus, for the up to 35,000 potentially wrong choices you could make, there are well over 35,000 expressions of God’s grace awaiting you to take away the fear and shame.

Truthfully, though, I think even many Christians today (myself included) who claim that God speaks and that Jesus removed the fear and shame, do not live as though that is actually true. Constantly still trying to earn our way, we often resort to legalistic means to achieve “right living” rather than stay close to the vine as Jesus instructs.

Many have made a stiff reading of the Bible itself their new “tree of knowledge” as a substitute for being in a dynamic relationship to God’s voice. They use it to develop lists of “good and evil” in order to judge others for their “obvious” sins – all while God is thinking, “That’s cute. Meanwhile, you’re missing out on recognizing the grace I offered for the 15,000 sinful choices you made yourself earlier today all because you refused to remain in relationship with me.”

As Jesus, the very Word of God, said to the religious leaders of his day that were apparently failing their multiple choice test, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40, NIV).

To pass the multiple choice test, we have to first start by choosing to pursue and listen to God’s voice. By doing that, you will never fail. You will find life.

This is part one in a series on “Hearing God’s Voice.” I come not as an expert on the subject but as one who is on a journey of discovery. I became a Christian after hearing God’s voice, but like many, I have continually struggled to maintain hearing it. Add in the fact that I have gone through deconstruction since I first heard that voice and it has caused me to rethink much of what I was taught and believed. At the same time, that rethinking has helped me to find deeper and richer understandings than I’d ever known before. In future articles I will share what I’ve discovered about obstacles to hearing God’s voice, recognizing what God’s voice actually sounds like (it’s different than what you think), and how to separate out the other voices in our heads.

Thanks for starting this journey with me.


Did you enjoy this article?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Signup today and receive free updates straight to your inbox.
Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else. You can cancel any time.