[Column] Listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit

Listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

We have to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. John 10:3 states, “and the sheep hear his voice.” If you and I are God’s sheep, we must be able recognize His voice. To do so, we must have a clean heart.  A philosopher named Kierkegaard once said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” If you and I indeed possess purity of heart, we do not will two things.

Jeremiah 29:13 assures us, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” If you purity of hear to adore God and listen to His voice, the Holy Spirit speaks to us. The path through which the Holy Spirit communicates most frequently is the Bible. We read and meditate on the Word of God.  In silence, listen very carefully what God tries to tell you and what God wills. Carefully examine the Word. Interpret it correctly in context and record the message it gives us to us and church. This is how God makes His message known to us.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through dreams. The dreams that God gives us are vivid.  Numbers 12:6 reads, “If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Ordinary dreams and God-given dreams are different. In God-given dreams, we remember even the smallest details. If we dream such dreams, we must seek the Holy Spirit for interpretation. It is necessary to record dates, locations, and contents of dreams.

A woman in the U.S. had a dream in which her husband died while on tour. Thinking of it as a bad omen, she insisted that he not go. He ignored her plea and went on a tour. Eventually, he died there. There are many similar incidents around us. God gave Pilate’s wife an ominous dream. Yet he ignored it and crucified Christ.

If you have a dream about a given community, God wants you to intercede for that community. At times, God notifies us in advance for undertaking tasks through prayers can make a significant difference. Apart from God’s intent, however, we sometime grow prideful when we receive revelations from Him. While it may benefit many to let know of your dreams sometimes, at other times it is necessary to keep them secret. Joseph in Genesis casually disclosed his dream when he was seventeen. As a result, he was ostracized and conspired against. Of course, God used all things to ultimately achieve good in everything. Nevertheless, we must know how to keep the dreams within us even when we have been given Divine revelations. We must learn to wait until His will is completely done.

The third channel through which the Holy Spirit speaks to us is vision. Countless prophets heard God’s message through visions. Zechariah saw a vision of the golden lamp stand. As he is about to head to Asia, St. Paul sees a vision of a Macedonian man appealing to him in the words, “Come over here and help us” Then Paul departs for Europe, not Asia. God did not talk to his ears directly.  As he ministered through prayers and dependence on God, He showed him visions.

The fourth path of the Word is the image that comes to our mind. When we see a person and ask God, “What is the message you have for him?” there appears a thought. It may be a picture or visual representation. At a ministers’ gathering, I prayed for a pastor there and could not help but conjure up an image. As the pastor was running a long distance, a group of young people followed with torch and started flame. I had a hunch that God would use this pastor to start a young-adult ministry. He already had had a vision for a young-adult ministry. As this case demonstrates, God sometimes speaks to us through pictures and images that come to our mind.

Lastly, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through rhema. Logos is the recorded Word and Rhema is the Word given us by the Spirit. God may speak to us in audible voice but that is extremely rare. Rhema usually comes to us in consciousness. Rhema is the prayer for Divine inspiration and the Word. The word rhema is used in the New Testament more than seventy times.

Luke 5:5 is the verse in which the word rhema is used: “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” Trusting in the Word, he let down the net. The words of the Lord which instruct Peter to go to a deeper region and let down the net are rhema. Obedience to rhema produces incredible fruits. Rhema also brings answers to prayers. John 15:7 tells us, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” If rhema is present with you, all your prayers will be answered.

Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” In this verse, the word “word” is also synonymous with rhema. When we hear rhema, we can have faith. Some may read the recorded word and have faith while others may read it only to not understand or have faith. How do we train ourselves to receive the word of rhema?

First, we must focus our hearts and views on God. When praying, we must be able to see in our mind’s eye that God is before and next to us. Second, we must ask God, “God, what is the message in the Bible you want to give me?” or “God, do you want me to intercede for this person? If so, what should I pray for him about? ” Then, God gives us inspiration and natural thought comes to our minds. That thought becomes the word of rhema. God gives us peaceful and positive thoughts but Satan instills in us destructive and negative thoughts. While man tends to think analytically, God thinks spontaneously.

Third, we must distinguish rhema through logos. To determine whether or not suddenly arising thoughts are rhema, we need to test them against the Word of God. For example, there was a marriage counselor who received a sudden flash of thought saying, “Let them file for divorce” after asking God for advice in helping the troubled couple. When this is tested against the Bible, it is instantly proven wrong. Therefore, it cannot be considered rhema. This is the thought instilled by Satan. The authenticity of rhema can be determined in light of Scriptures. This means to receive rhema you must be well-versed in logos too. To receive rhema, you must memorize and meditate on the Word of God, the Bible. Rhema should be tested against logos. This is an important principle.

The foundation of recognizing the voice of God is the undeniable fact that God speaks to us at this time. You must not resort to the notion that God will speak to you at least two or three times during your lifetime. God desires to speak to you at this time. You must listen to His voice as you fellowship with Him intimately because God the Holy Spirit is a personal being and possessed of intellect, emotion, and will. Past experience is not needed. Neither is future expectation. You must be attentive to His voice now.

God also speaks to us through circumstances and people. God subjects us to certain circumstances to shape our character. As a married couple learns to love and be patient with each other, their character is mended.  It is unfortunate that people pursue comfort more than they do excellent character. If God is allowing trials through your circumstances, you need to embrace and obey. We may not be able to fathom the enormity of God’s plan in our suffering. Nevertheless, we must obey. If a child says, “Dad, give me the knife. I love to play with it,” what kind of father would give him the knife? The father may tell the child why he cannot play with the knife but the child wouldn’t understand. Likewise when He instructs us, we need not understand everything but just obey. God instills is us the thoughts that bring hope and courage. On the contrary, Satan gives us the thoughts of judgment and contempt. We may want to speak evil against others and feel bitterness toward someone. Such thoughts are not from God.  If we reproach and loathe a person, we must drive away such thoughts in the name of God and pray for him. James 5:9 tells us, “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” When the thoughts of resentment enter into our hearts, it is important to block them and arm ourselves with the thoughts of God.

As we listen to the voice of God, we can internalize the fourth dimensional spirituality. Earnestly seek to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit with all your effort. You will be the powerful person of the Holy Spirit.

Leave a Reply