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3 Ways to Discern the Voice of God

Do you want to be set free?

When he is teaching on Discernment of Spirits, Dan Burke often says that “not all of the voices in your head are from you, and you don’t have to listen to them.” Find out how to learn more about discerning the voice of God via this post!

“If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

Do you believe that the Christ has the power to set you free? Whatever you are struggling with, whether it is addiction, loneliness, habitual sin, low self-worth, pride, or anger, Jesus wants to set you free from it, and He has the power to do so. Sometimes we fail to believe this.

If Christ wants to set us free from our sin and temptations, why do we feel as if it is an impossible task to be set free from what we are struggling with?

Becoming free from our chains can be difficult because we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The devil is constantly enticing us to listen to him, to believe the lies that he has infiltrated our culture and our mind with. Too often, the devil’s lies go unrecognized in our own heads. We mistake them for our own voice or even the voice of God. The devil is a liar and an accuser, but he is also clever, and he can get those who are not alert to fall into his traps. That’s why Scripture tells us:

“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.”            – 1 Peter 5:8-9

Lest we feel that we are fighting a losing battle, Christ has equipped us with all that we need to fight the battle against sin darkness. Firstly, he has given usdiscern the voice of God His grace. We are totally dependent upon his grace, and the more we realize this, the more we open ourselves up to receiving it. We remain open to his grace through daily mental prayer and through reception of the sacraments. Secondly, God has given us Sacred Scripture to help us navigate our way through the journey. Thirdly, God has given us the wisdom of the great saints who have come before us, from Paul and to Augustine to Teresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux, the saints lived deep prayer lives and imparted great wisdom upon us. All of these saints wrote extensively and, in their writings, we find rich wisdom on how to discern God’s voice in our lives. Perhaps one of the more insightful writers of all is St. Ignatius of Loyola, who wrote fourteen rules for discernment of spirits. His fourteen rules were based primarily on his own experience but correspond remarkably to the truths witnessed to by all the other saints and Doctors of the Church. Ignatius’ rules serve as excellent guidelines to help discern the voice of God.

The Avila Foundation seeks to make the wisdom of the saints known in a world that has its own misguided sense of wisdom. We don’t want you to be alone on the journey, so we are here to help. We offer several ways for you to learn about the wisdom of the saints that will help guide you on the path of discerning God’s voice and obtaining the freedom He wants for you.

First, we have regular posts here on where we cover a wide range of topics that will help you to discern the voice of God more clearly in your life.

Second, we have the Avila Institute, where you can take courses in the School of Spiritual Formation like Discernment of Spirits, Foundations of Prayer, History of Catholic Spirituality, and more, all with the purpose of guiding you in the spiritual life. You can find out more and see a list of upcoming courses by visiting our website.

Third, you can listen to Divine Intimacy Radio on EWTN Radio on Sundays at 6:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 11:00 pm Eastern time where Dan Burke and Melissa Elson discuss the wisdom of the saints.

These are all ways in which you can learn about Discernment of Spirits and other topics to help guide you in your spiritual life.


Art for this post on ways to discern the voice of God: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Peter Paul Rubens, 1600s, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec was formerly an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

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