Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Be open to hearing from the Holy Spirit in new ways

Most of us err on the side of caution when it comes to hearing from God

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The Bible clearly tells us we can’t fathom the mind, power and deep mysteries of God (Job 11:7), yet the majority of us tend to put the Almighty in a box when we think about how He will communicate with us.  

Whether you’re a brand new believer or someone who has been a follower of Christ for many years, you’ve likely questioned at some point how to know when God is really speaking to you. 

Most of us err on the side of caution when it comes to hearing from God, and there is wisdom in that approach. God does tell us in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." 

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We must be very careful not to mistake our own instincts (which can be swayed by our flawed emotions – or worse – spirits that are not of God) for the voice of God. Yet, as I’ve grown my relationship with the Holy Spirit, I’ve discovered that there is such a thing as being too cautious, rigid, and dare I say unbelieving when it comes to hearing from the Holy Spirit; and this lack of freedom in our relationship with Him robs us of immeasurable blessings and joy that He has in store for us.  

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God gracefully began to pull me out of my unknowing disbelief in this area several years ago when my husband and I joined a church that prioritized being led by the Holy Spirit. I remember the first time a pastor asked to pray for me. She started describing a vision she was seeing in real time which, without outright saying, she implied was being given to her by the Holy Spirit as a message of encouragement for me.  

The picture she described resonated deeply within me and I found myself eager to learn how this pastor had received not only an amazing supernatural gift, but the discernment to know it was actually an image from God and not just her own imagination. I asked her these questions over coffee a few weeks later, hoping to find a clear-cut answer on how I, too, could receive this type of revelation from the Holy Spirit.  

She reassured me that my desire to fully understand this type of experience was coming from a good place, and that she herself had these same questions when she first began to seek different gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

At the end of the day, faith must play a role in our ability to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit.  

She reminded me that the Bible tells us every truly good thing comes from God; she coupled that with 1 Corinthians 14:3, which tells us messages from God are meant to be shared among fellow believers to encourage one another and build one another’s faith.  

Perhaps most importantly, she told me that when she first began to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to her in new ways (like showing her pictures in her mind’s eye), her first instinct was to question the images. Were these scenes simply being recycled by past experiences or her mind’s own creativity? 

But when she sought counsel from an elder pastor, he reassured her that when we ask God for good gifts with pure intentions in our hearts, He does not give His children a stone in place of bread. And who are we to think God can’t use our past experiences or our creativity to communicate something to us?  

At the end of the day, faith must play a role in our ability to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit.  

I decided to take her advice soon after when I prayed for my dear friend, Molly, on her birthday. I began by asking the Holy Spirit to increase His presence within my mind. As I prayed, I pictured Molly walking alongside Jesus and her dad, who had recently passed away. I saw Jesus place a crown of sunflowers on her head, saying, "This is Molly, my sunflower whom I love."  

The imagery was beautiful and simple, yet my knee-jerk reaction upon opening my eyes was to doubt what I’d seen had really come from God. I thought, "Molly has a cheery disposition and blonde hair, I’m sure my imagination simply brought a sunflower to mind because of those things."  

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Because of my doubts, I was hesitant to share what I’d seen with Molly, but the Holy Spirit reminded me of my pastor’s advice, and I decided to send what I’d seen in my birthday message to her. She wrote me back immediately, telling me she had tears flooding down her face; I could hardly believe what I read next. 

Molly told me that hardly anyone knew this, but growing up, her dad’s nickname for her was "my little sunflower!"  

I was absolutely astounded by the sweetness of our God! Not only did He give my friend a tangible piece of her father on her first birthday without him, He was gracious enough to allow me to be a part of that process, which deeply increased my own faith and encouraged me to continue pursuing words from the Holy Spirit.  

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If you are interested in hearing from the Holy Spirit in new ways but something is pulling you back, I encourage you to ask God to give you the faith you need to freely receive the gifts He has for you. You will be amazed by what happens.  

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"(Luke 11:13).  

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