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How can I hear from the Holy Spirit?

When we accept Christ into our lives, we receive the Holy Spirit to dwell within us from that point on (1 Corinthians 3:16). If you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, then the Spirit has already come into you to guide and teach you (John 14:26). However, hearing and obeying the Spirit is something that many find difficult as our own sinful nature conflicts with the Spirit of God in us (Galatians 5:17).

The first step in hearing the Spirit, is to ask for God’s help in hearing and receiving Him (Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit is a gracious gift from God, His presence in us, enabling us to gain a deeper relationship with Him. Continue asking Him to speak to you as you read his Word and are still before him – it is a good idea to make sure you take time out of your busyness to meditate on God’s Word, allowing the Spirit to speak through it to you. We are always at risk of drowning out His voice in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day. Patience is key – sometimes it takes time for us to hear what He is saying.

When the Holy Spirit does speak, it may not be in the way (or with the message) you expect. Elijah and Peter seem to hear Him as an audible voice (1 Kings 19:10-14, Acts 10:19-21), but we may also hear Him speaking through a conviction in our own spirit (Romans 8:16) that speaks against our sin, or fills us with strength and passion for God (Acts 1:8). We may hear Him as a burst of insight or understanding into spiritual truths as we study the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:9-14) for the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth (John 16:13).

The difficulty is discerning whether what you have heard is truly the voice of the Spirit. Often we mistake our own thoughts and convictions, or sometimes even the voice of the enemy (James 3:14-15), as belonging to the Spirit – but these thoughts are of the world and the flesh.  Similarly we can also dismiss the Holy Spirit’s voice as something else – particularly when His commands are uncomfortable! If you believe the Spirit is speaking to you, you need to test it by consulting the Bible – the Spirit will never disagree with God’s word, as He is God and inspired the very words of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), therefore He would not contradict himself. It is also a good idea to consult your Church leaders and fellow believers as they can advise you on whether what you are hearing is from God.