(051) The Impact of Your Personality on Hearing God

(051) The Impact of Your Personality on Hearing God

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to hear from God every day, while others seldom hear from God? What is happening here? We know that God is talking, but is he talking to one and not the other? In this episode, I talk about these questions by discussing the impact of personality on hearing God’s voice. We’re going to look particularly at how people interpret and discern their experiences differently and how some forms of hearing from God seem to be better suited to certain personalities. 

1. Be careful not to attribute everything to God

We also talk about: 

  • The different criteria people use to discern their experiences. Some people are more likely to attribute experiences to God than others. More skeptical types are more likely to attribute an experience to coincidence, creative inspiration or intuition or memory recall. In the Catholic tradition, you need some sort of external evidence to know something is from God such as a sign or a miracle!
  • Problems come when we compare our experiences – each one of us has a responsibility to work out our own faith within the reference points of our own personality and the journey we are on.
  • When we do attribute every creative experience to God, we risk diminishing the potential of our human nature. God has gifted us with ingenuity and creativity and given us abilities that we have yet to fully tap into. We do not need to hear from God on every aspect of life. Some studies have linked diminished ego control to an over-emphasis on Spirit-leading. God’s way is friendship and partnership, not dictatorship (John 15:9-15)
  • We need to be approach God-breathed experiences with reverence and be slow to attribute experience to God. Sometimes people use the phrase “God said” to sound spiritual or to claim extra authority for their position. Making the claim to “God said” is a serious claim to divine authority – it carries the weight of heaven behind it and demands our attention. God may have spoken, but we must always test our experiences before making emphatic statements. 

2. Be open to growing in this area

On the podcast we also talk about the need to grow in this area. While studies appear to show that hearing God is an experience that is more readily received by some personalities more than others, it also seems that noticing the voice of a Spirit when he speaks is a skill that can be learned. Prayer training that teaches people ignore the distracting world and to focus on the inner experience has been shown to have positive outcomes.

Whatever your personality type, I know you’re going to find this episode helpful.

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References:

Luhrmann, Tanya M, When God Talks Back (New York: Vintage Books, 2012).

Parker, Stephen E, Led by the Spirit: Toward a Practical Theology of Pentecostal Discernment and Decision-Making (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996).

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