How do you listen to God with your spirit? Discover 4 ways God may speak through yours.
Back in September, I published a prophetic picture about a heavenly corkscrew that removed a piece of my brain (you can read all about it here)!
The interpretation was about tearing down a barrier: to put aside our rational minds and learn to listen to God with our spirits.
When he read it, my friend Rob asked a very good question:
“My immediate thought and that is my mind speaking I guess, is how do we listen with our spirits? That needs to be broken down. Maybe for future blogs? How do we operate out of our spirit?” - Rob Marshall
He then made a start of answering the question himself. It was thought-provoking, to say the least.
He was quite right, of course: the question begged for a more complete treatment. After all, listening to God with our spirit is only a step away from being spirit-led.
So in this article, I’ll discuss what it really means to listen to God with your spirit.
You’ll learn 2 steps you can take to make it easier to listen to God with your spirit. And 4 ways you can understand what God is saying through your spirit.
Listen To God With Your Spirit: The Problem With Mind Over Spirit
Living as I do in a modern European nation, we place great stock on the use of our minds for, well, more or less everything.
From an early age in school, through to college and into the workplace, we’re taught to pride ourselves on our ability to think things through and solve problems.
The emphasis in education is generally placed on science over the arts and the overwhelming impression we get is this:
“It’s better to think than to feel”
This manifests itself in several ways, such as:
“It’s better to be sure of the present, than hope about an uncertain future”
“It’s better to take control of the physical world we can see and touch, than seek a spiritual world we can only see with the eyes of faith”
In other words, we choose to live our lives according to our minds (what we think) rather than our spirits (the intangible part that makes up our core and relates directly to God).
Mind Over Spirit: A Barrier To The Prophetic
As someone who operates regularly in the prophetic gifts, the emphasis on mind over spirit is a real issue. Sometimes it sets up an internal struggle within me.
It may also mean that other people may not understand some of the things I come out with, when I hear from God.
God is spirit
That’s because God is spirit and he communicates primarily to our spirits.
As it says in Thessalonians:
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And also in 1 Corinthians:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
We are meant to be spirit-led, to be driven by our spirit, not by our minds or our emotional souls. This principle is to extend even to our bodies.
Some things that God shows me in prophecy cannot easily be explained with words or pictures. I have to understand them with my spirit first.
Interesting, is it not, that most of our world chooses to live according to bodily needs and desires, instead?
Don’t get me wrong, the mind is a powerful ally and thinking helps us to process what we hear and see and to understand it. It also helps us to process what we hear from God and to process prophecy.
So it’s not a case of shutting off our minds completely, but of unlearning and re-learning a different emphasis in how we go about things.
"God is spirit and he communicates primarily to our spirits."
Listen To God With Your Spirit: 2 Ways To Make It Easier
There are 2 main ways you can make listening to God with your spirit easier: worship and experience.
1. Worship God With Your Spirit
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
This harks back to what we said earlier, but it’s also about drawing close to God.
When we worship the Lord, we put aside the things of this world and focus on him.
This gives us fresh perspective and restores relationship, but it also attracts Holy Spirit.
In other words, we not only draw closer to God, but he draws near to us.
This is where we begin to experience God’s presence.
2. Experience God's Presence With Your Spirit
When I say the word “experience” I don’t mean the type of experience we often talk about, such as a learning experience or life experience. That’s just experience over time.
Experiencing God’s presence is about meeting with and experiencing God himself. This is experience here and now.
This is important because it is possible to worship God without fully experiencing his presence.
So I would urge you to push through in worship until you truly meet with him and receive the manifestation of his spirit.
If you have the gift of tongues (the ability to speak in a heavenly language), then that too can be a great help. You can use it not only to build yourself up but to move deeper into God.
The manifestation of the spirit
This is the part I can’t really explain in words: when we worship like this, something happens in the spirit.
The intangible part is that your mind, body and soul may still be involved in the interaction.
Your mind may well be involved in your worship as you choose to sing, pray or meditate on his word.
You may feel emotions of love, joy or peace, as your soul engages with the Lord.
But your spirit also connects with him, which may manifest in different ways.
- You might receive a direct download or revelation from God into your mind.
- Maybe that joy you receive makes no logical sense, because of the situation you are in.
- Or maybe you experience a powerful sense of peace in your body, rather than in your mind.
4 Ways You Can Listen To God With Your Spirit
When I experience God’s presence, I commonly feel some kind of effect on my body.
Sometimes I get a feeling of peace and wellbeing deep in my chest.
Other times, I can feel Holy Spirit hovering over me and it feels like he has placed his hand lightly on my head.
However, it’s important to know that different people experience God’s presence in different ways.
Some experience these physical manifestations on a regular basis, while others never experience them at all. Most people probably fall somewhere in between.
Your personal experience of God is, therefore, likely to be very different from mine.
However, I believe we can break those experiences down into 3 or 4 broad categories:
- Feelings and impressions
- Thoughts, words and images
1. Feelings and impressions
When you spend time with God, you may get a general sense or impression of what he is saying, without it forming into actual words.
This may be expressed as an emotion, such as joy or peace, or even sadness about a situation. This may be the Lord expressing his feelings to you through your spirit.
Separate to those emotions (or as part of them), you may understand a direction of travel.
What I mean by this is that you might feel a specific action suggests itself. This action may be as simple as a burden to pray about a situation.
The important thing here is that we should not simply dismiss our feelings and emotions or these general impressions. Ask God if they are from him and if he is revealing how he feels to you.
Praying like this can open up the way to fully formed thoughts, words and pictures.
2. Thoughts, words and images
Another way God can speak to you is by making a direct connection between your spirit and your mind.
When he does this, he can plant thoughts straight into your mind, without you having to think it through first.
These thoughts may appear in different patterns, taking the form of words, bible verses or pictures.
Some people are more visual than others, so don’t worry if you never get pictures - or if you only get pictures!
However, we do need to test words and pictures, just as we should also test general impressions. And that leads us on to discernment.
At its most basic, discernment is the ability to know the difference between your own thoughts and God's thoughts. It's understanding whether God is speaking or your own mind.
There are 2 aspects to this: general discernment and the gift of discernment.
This is where you engage your mind and thinking process (in the right way) to test words, pictures and emotions.
You test them against the measuring rod of the bible and against what God has already said to you.
This kind of discernment is really wisdom and also includes asking someone you trust to discern for you.
The Gift Of Discernment
This type of discernment is a spiritual gift and hence it cannot be known purely with the mind, it has to be known through the spirit.
We are treading on more intangible territory here!
However, when God gives you the gift of discernment at a given moment, you will know whether it’s from him, deep down in your core.
General discernment takes practice, but the gift of discernment can only come from the Lord. But like the gift of prophecy, we can ask him for more!
Finally, God can speak to you through your dreams.
This is one way that God can make a beeline into your spirit, without your own noisy thoughts getting in the way.
He may choose to give you this gift, specifically. Or you can ask him to speak through a dream when you are struggling to hear him by other means.
And other times, he will speak to you in a dream as an expression of his sovereign will.
As with the other methods, we must still utilise our minds in getting to grips with what he is saying.
But we need to be ready to submit mind to spirit, as he directs.
How To Listen To God With Your Spirit
It’s difficult to understand precisely where and how God speaks to our spirit. That’s because we can’t pick apart the body, mind and spirit in the way he can.
As I said earlier, God speaks to different people in different ways, so your personal experience of all this will be unique.
Some people will start with a general impression, just as we have described, and move from there into a fully formed word from the Lord.
Others may hear God speak words directly into their mind, through their spirit, without any sense of feeling or emotion attached to it.
Therefore, it’s important to learn and understand how God speaks to you, personally.
Worship him, spend time in his presence and get to know his voice deep in your spirit, however he expresses his voice to you.
When you do that, you will become more connected to God in your daily life. And you will break through from the natural into the supernatural more often.
Over To You
How does God speak to you, specifically? How do you hear God with your spirit?
Let us know in the comments below.
Listen With Your Spirit ...And Prophesy
The 4 Steps Prophecy School helps you connect up how God speaks to you personally with the gift of prophecy.
It will enable you to hear the Lord more clearly and minister to others with confidence.
Why not get a place on the School as a Christmas present for yourself or someone you love?
I’ve put together a 20% discount for the festive and New Year period and there are no codes this time: just register for the School and the discount will be applied automatically.