5 Ways to Better Hear from the Spirit

How does the Holy Spirit lead today?

And not just today, but in our everyday. Day in, day out, does he guide us? And does he actually want to communicate with us? If so, how? This is something many of us who have followed Jesus for a while could answer, and probably flippantly, but these questions matter.

If the Holy Spirit has direction for your day, your work, your love-life, your friendships, your family, wouldn’t you want to know?

So the question is, what does it look like to be led by God in the day to day?

Here are 5 ways to better hear from the Spirit:

1. Become an apprentice of Jesus.

Often times following Jesus gets reduced to, “I believe in Jesus, I’m going to heaven when I die.” Or, “I believe in Jesus, I go to church every week.”

An apprentice learns a trade from a skilled employer. He imitates his master until he can perform like him. Going to Coava doesn’t make me a barista. I would need to be trained. I would need to learn from an experienced barista before I attempted my first latte art.

Jesus said, “everyone who hears the words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock.” (Matt 7v24)

We must study scripture, learn from the life of Jesus, and put his teachings into practice in our own lives. How would Jesus live as a husband and father of three in Portland? How would Jesus live as a PSU student working part-time in a restaurant? Or as an employee at your company?

Learn from Jesus.

2. Pursue holiness.

Hearing from the Holy Spirit requires holiness.

Is there static on the line? Is there anything hindering you from hearing the Holy Spirit?

Sin and addiction can hinder you from hearing from God. If you are stuck in any sin get help, confess your sins, get healing.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4v31-32)

Have you been holding onto a grudge you know you need to let go of? Have you asked God to reveal your sin or are you afraid of what he will say?

Are you living in an environment where God can speak? The music, the movies, the friends, or speech that you surround yourself with will effect you (Phil 4v8). Live a life that is “dedicated to him.”

3. Create space to listen.

Do you have regular time in your day to listen to God?

It is really easy to be distracted by our phones, twitter, instagram, and television. We are so constantly “plugged-in” that it has become uncomfortable to be a quiet room.

For many of us, we are afraid to listen to God for fear of what he will say. Often I am actually afraid, feeling condemned or guilty.

But God says, “approach with confidence!” The Father’s love is for you! God is for you.

Draw close. Spend time. Go for a walk. Journal. Fast. Take off the headphones. Turn off the radio in the car.

4. Obey the little things you hear.

When the Holy Spirit speaks it is not always a life changing conversation.

Often, God has small requests for our lives. If we want to create a strong connection with the voice of God, we must obey the little things we hear.

Practice. Exercise produces results.

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” -Brother Lawrence

“Faithful with the little, faithful with much.” (Luke 16v10)

5. Step out in faith.

When you hear the Spirit lead, follow. This may require risk at times. You may also have uncertainty of the results. But God has your best interest in mind. So take that step in faith.

How do I know if the Spirit is the one leading me?

The Holy Spirit’s voice will always align itself with scripture. As an apprentice of Jesus, you should be familiar with his teachings. So test what you have heard against scripture. The Holy Spirit will always be in agreement with the teachings of Jesus.

Consider Wimber’s grid for knowing what is from God: He always wants us to share Jesus, pray for healing, and help the poor.

These five ways to better hear from the Spirit are an invitation, not obligation.

We get to hear the voice of God! There is more to life than living by your own plans. We get to hear God and be led by him.

So let’s not stop. Keep asking, praying, knocking. Keep pressing deeper. If God is showing you a new normal, don’t go back.

Ask God to speak.


Author: Gerald Griffin

Gerald Griffin is the Pastor of Missional Communities and Leadership with Bridgetown Church.