Chapter 1 Personal Testimony 13
Chapter 2 You Can Know God 30
Chapter 3 A New Creation in Christ 39
Chapter 4 A Good Foundation 53
Chapter 5 Preparing to Hear the Lord 64
Chapter 6 Truth 75
Chapter 7 Count the Cost 82
Chapter 8 The Two Natures 87
Chapter 9 The Trees in the Garden 98
Chapter 10 Conviction and Repentance 107
Chapter 11 Foundations for Fellowship with God 118
Chapter 12 Hindrances to Communion 129
Chapter 13 Practical Obedience 135
Chapter 14 Three Infallible Witnesses 143
Chapter 15 Important Instructions 155
Chapter 16 Mature Communication 161
Chapter 17 The Broad Way and the Narrow Way 168
Chapter 18 Practice the Basics 173
Chapter 19 Conclusion 184
Genesis 1:26-28 says, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God created Adam and Eve to live in fellowship with Him. He gave them dominion over the earth. They lived in the Garden of Eden where all living things flourished in abundance.
Genesis 3:8a says, And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. God spoke with Adam and Eve every day. They enjoyed perfect communion with Him that was not contaminated by sin.
God’s original purpose for creating the first man and woman remains true today. He created every person on earth, including you, to enjoy a life of fellowship and intimacy with Him. He does not want you to be separated from His presence.
God’s Original Commandment
God gave Adam only one commandment to obey. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). The Lord gave Adam and Eve freedom to enjoy the fruit of every tree in the Garden except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 3:1-24 tells the story of Eve being tempted by the serpent. Eve told him she could not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because God had said that if she did, she would die.
The serpent questioned what God had said. Genesis 3:1b says, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? In Genesis 3:4b-5, the serpent then said, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
When the devil spoke through the serpent, he went further than questioning God’s commandment. He said the opposite of what God had said. He told Eve she would not die.
Eve’s response to satan’s lies is recorded in Genesis 3:6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Instead of obeying God’s one command, Eve listened to satan. Then she convinced Adam to disobey God as well.
Genesis 3:22-24 says, And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the L ORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
This series of events is known as the fall of man. Adam and Eve’s disobedience was the origin of man’s fallen nature that resists God’s sovereign authority. Eve did what she wanted to do instead of what God had said. This act of rebellion contaminated man’s nature and separated him from fellowship with God.
Isaiah 59:2 explains the consequences of sin and rebellion. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God , and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
The sinful nature that originated from Adam and Eve has passed from every generation to the next. All human beings are born with a sin-corrupted nature. This is why Jesus Christ was born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). He did not receive the contaminated nature that comes through the male lineage.
Spiritual Death and Separation from God
When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they died spiritually, just as God had said. Sin separated them from God, and they no longer had fellowship with Him.
What began in the Garden of Eden is still true today. The devil continues to question and lie about God.
All rebellion against God comes from the same original sin. Instead of obeying Him, you decide what is right or wrong. Every decision you make, whether it is good or evil, comes from your fallen, sinful nature because you act as if you are a god. This rebellion separates you from the conscious presence of God.
Jesus Christ: The Only Way to the Father
God has provided deliverance from sin and your carnal nature through Jesus Christ. Total freedom is available when you confess your sins, repent of your rebellion, and obey Him.
The Mosaic Law confirmed how sinful man was. According to the Law, if you broke one command, you were guilty of breaking all of them (James 2:10). No person on earth has been able to keep all of God’s commands aside from Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the Jews sacrificed animals as a covering for sin. However, these sacrifices could not remove the curse of sin (Leviticus 9:2, Hebrews 9:12-14).
The curse for breaking the Law is separation from God (spiritual death). Galatians 3:10-14 says, For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law , being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
God’s purpose has always been that mankind be delivered from the curse of sin. Jesus fulfilled every part of the Law by obeying all of God’s commands, even though He lived in a human body. He gave His life as the spotless sacrifice to remove sin and its curse.
Fellowship with God is available to you because of what Jesus did on the cross. His sacrifice allows you to move back into the Garden so you can enjoy fellowship with Him and the Father. His forgiveness allows you to be restored to the original relationship God intended for whom He created.
Hebrews 9:22 says, And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Remission means freedom; (figuratively) pardon:—deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission (G859). The blood of Jesus provides deliverance and forgiveness of your sins.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;). Jesus paid the ultimate price so you can come into the presence of God, hear His voice, and enjoy communion with Him.
John 3:16 is a verse we are familiar with, and many believers have memorized it. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 1:12 (AMPC) says, But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.
When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you became a child of God. The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, says you enjoy the full privileges of being His child as you believe in, adhere to, trust in, and rely on Jesus Christ.
God Wants to Have Fellowship with You
Most believers do not realize that God wants them to live in His presence and enjoy fellowship with Him. They have served God for years but never enjoyed their relationship with Him.
Some even believe it is wrong to have a joyful life with their Father. But He wants to have fun with His children and enjoy communion with them every moment of every day.
I have more fun with God than I do with anyone else. I can obey commands others would not want to do. As I enjoy His fellowship, peace, and joy, the most challenging situations become blessings.
You may have experienced this too. When you are in fellowship with God, the most challenging circumstances are covered by grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). Instead of struggling, you are joyful as you rest in the Lord.
1 John 1:3b says, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus gave His life to remove your sin so you can have a close relationship with God.
Titus 3:4-7 says, But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
1 Corinthians 1:9 says, God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. This scripture explains God’s plan for His children. His call to fellowship is not limited to church leadership or to those who have served Him for years. It is available to every believer.
Regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey, God is calling you to a deeper fellowship with Him. It does not matter if you have been rebellious, spiritually complacent, or have experienced little spiritual growth. It does not matter if you are a baby Christian or have walked with God for years.
The Father’s desire to have fellowship with you remains steadfast because you are His child. 2 Timothy 2:19a says, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.
Are You God’s Child?
If you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, you cannot come into God’s presence or enjoy fellowship with Him. I encourage you to stop now and confess your sins to Him. 1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This prayer may help you. Heavenly Father, I confess all of my sins to You now. I receive what Jesus did for me on the cross. I ask You to forgive me for being lord instead of submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord. Please come into my heart and cleanse me from all of my unrighteousness. I now submit to Jesus as my Savior and my Lord.
When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you move into the Kingdom of God. Colossians 1:13 says, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
Are You a Wayward Child?
You may be a child of God but lack a close relationship with Him. Perhaps you have been in rebellion or have not pursued a closeness with Him. You may have accepted Jesus as your Savior when you were young but have walked away from Him.
Regardless of your relationship with God in the past, it is not too late to repent. Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This scripture is true regardless of how much you have sinned or how long you have been in rebellion.
God’s invitation to have communion and fellowship with Him stands, even if you have not embraced the forgiveness that has been provided for you. He does not stop loving you no matter how much time has passed.
Abiding in God’s Presence
You must first enter God’s presence before you can abide there. Moving into His presence is not complicated. Simply humble yourself before Him and confess your sins. He will forgive and cleanse you. Then the Holy Spirit will teach you how to abide in Christ.
As you abide in God’s presence, your relationship with Him deepens. The ability to abide is built on two simple principles. If these principles are obeyed faithfully, you cannot be separated from fellowship with Him.
1. The only acceptable motive for seeking and obeying God is because you love Him. Mark 12:30 says, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. If you obey this first commandment, you will have no trouble obeying what God tells you to do.
2. You must submit to Jesus Christ as the literal, functional Lord of your life. When He is your Lord, you obey every command He gives you. You do not make excuses for your sins or your carnal nature.
When you obey these basic commands, the Holy Spirit will teach you how to become a faithful disciple who loves and obeys Jesus, lives in the Spirit, and enjoys consistent fellowship with God.
God Is Love
The main foundational principle of the Bible is God is love. Everything God does is motivated by love. Love is not simply what He does or how He feels; love is who He is. He wants you to hear His voice, abide in His presence, and live in communion with Him because He loves you.
1 John 4:8b says, for God is love. Romans 8:38-39 says , For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In these scriptures, love means love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast:—(feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love (G26). In the Old Testament, love is sometimes defined as …to cling, i.e. join, (figuratively) to love, delight in; elliptically; to deliver:—have a delight, …set (in) love (H2836).
As you read this book, prayerfully consider these scriptures that proclaim God’s love for you. He loves every person in the world, and His perfect love is specifically for you as an individual.
God’s Greatest Gift
God made His love known to every person through the gift of Jesus Christ. The following verses are a few of the many scriptures that confirm His love for you:
Even though you deserved hell, God sent His Son as the pure and spotless Lamb to redeem you from the penalty of sin. Jesus died so you can experience God’s love, hear His voice, and have a relationship with Him.
You may have had encounters with the Lord but do not enjoy continuous fellowship with Him. Perhaps you want to know Him but are not sure if a close relationship with Him is possible.
You may not believe that God loves you and wants you to enjoy fellowship with Him. In the New Testament, believe means to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ) :—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with (G4100).
God is always faithful and deserves your complete and total trust. Believing in Him and His Word is a heart choice. It is not an emotional or mental response. In the New Testament, trust is often defined asto expect or confide:—(have, thing) hope(-d) (for), trust (G1679).
Jesus’ Sheep Hear His Voice
When you receive what Jesus did for you on the cross, you become one of His sheep. John 10:2-5 says, But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
John 10:14-16 says, I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine . As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
John 10:27 says, My sheep hear my voice , and I know them, and they follow me. These scriptures confirm that when Jesus is your Savior, you have the opportunity to hear His voice and get to know Him. The primary purpose of learning to hear His voice is to develop a relationship with Him. He is your personal Shepherd.
The Gift of Eternal Life
John 17 recounts Jesus’ prayer for His disciples before He was taken to the cross. I suggest that you read and meditate on this chapter because it clearly shows the Lord’s heart for His followers.
Jesus said in John 17:20, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. This verse explains that Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is for all believers as well as the disciples of His time.
The gift of eternal life is explained in John 17:1-3. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:3 is the only scripture in the Bible that specifically defines eternal life. The gift of eternal life provides the opportunity to be intimately acquainted with Jesus and the Father.
The word know in John 17:3 is defined as to ‘know’ (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed):—allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand (G1097). The depths of knowing God are endless.
This word compares to the Old Testament word, knew, used in Genesis 4:1 (H3045). Adam knew Eve and they conceived a child. Know generally means to know and understand someone with deep intimacy, much like the way a husband and wife should know each other. It is the result of spending quality time together and sharing openly from the heart.
Before the Lord revealed this scripture to me, I thought eternal life meant I would live forever. I soon realized I was born with an eternal spirit that would never die regardless of whether I got saved or not. Every person will either spend eternity in the presence of God or the lake of fire, depending on the choice they make to accept or reject Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:14-15).
Jesus proclaimed in John 10:27-30, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
Jesus wants you to hear His voice and enjoy fellowship with Him because He loves you. He and the Father want you to live in Their presence. Living in fellowship with God and hearing the Lord’s voice should be normal for every believer.
God’s Purpose for This Book
I am an apostle by the grace and calling of God. I have sought to hear His voice in the smallest decisions as well as choices that are life-changing.
My relationship with God has continually deepened through the years, and I enjoy consistent fellowship with Him. He is and has been my first love for nearly fifty years.
God called me to write this book so that believers all over the world can learn how to hear and know Him. It is not based on theories or man-made ideas. It is the culmination of what I have learned through many years of consistently walking with the Lord.
Everyone from a new believer to a seasoned saint can know God intimately. I rejoice in the Spirit as I share with you the opportunity to personally know your Heavenly Father and your Savior. Humble yourself before the Lord and read on….
Please note: The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC), is sometimes used in this book to explain specific scriptures. It uses the literal equivalent translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text. In each reference, it is noted.
2 Corinthians 12:9
1 John 1:3b
1 Corinthians 1:9
2 Timothy 2:19a
1 John 1:9
1 John 4:8b
1 John 4:19
1 John 3:16a
1 John 4:16
Romans 14:12 says, So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Each one of us stands or falls before God as an individual. Your salvation is not dependent on your pastor or church. It is solely dependent on your relationship with Jesus Christ.
My parents would have secured my salvation long before it actually happened if that had been possible, but no one else could seek God on my behalf. My father was a godly pastor who knew the Lord intimately, but I had to go to the cross myself. I had to humble myself and receive Christ’s forgiveness for my sins.
You may praise God for what you see in my life or someone else’s, but it is not the same as having your own relationship with Him. You must get to know Him yourself.
Testimony: A Dramatic Encounter with Jesus Christ
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was a child, and I loved Him very much. When I became a teenager, I noticed how hypocrites treated my father, and I blamed God for allowing that to happen. I saw my dad’s ability to love people when they mistreated him as a weakness, not a strength. I thought he should strike back, but he did not.
When I was thirteen years old, I decided that no one was going to treat me the way my father was treated. I said, I don’t know what I will be when I get out of school. But I guarantee you one thing: I won’t be a preacher. That decision started my prodigal son years.
I ran from God because I was afraid He would make me be a hypocrite like those religious leaders. I also did not want to be treated the same way my father was.
Even though my heart was hardened toward God, He loved me enough to bring me to brokenness. When I was in my twenties, I went through a time of extreme pressure. A young minister of music shared his testimony about God’s love with me. As he shared, the Holy Spirit flowed over me.
When he finished, he pointed his finger at me and said, If you were the only person left on earth, Jesus would still have died for you. I don’t care what you have done. You may have done this and you may have done that. Then he talked about some of the specific sins I had committed.
He said, Jesus loves you. He wants you to quit fighting against Him. Admit you are wrong and ask Him to forgive you. Not only will He forgive you, but He also won’t remember your sins anymore.
As he continued to share, the Holy Spirit flowed stronger and stronger. I broke before the Lord and cried out for Him to forgive me. I expected Him to respond harshly. But as my heart turned back to the Father like the prodigal son, He reached out to me just like the prodigal’s father did (Luke 15:11-32).
I felt God’s love as the Holy Spirit flowed over me in a strong way. All of my walls crumbled and He continued to pour His love on me. At that moment, I fell in love with Him.
When I regained my composure, I said to the young minister, Anyone who could love me the way God just loved me—I want to know Him. I don’t want to just know about Him. I want to know Him in a personal, intimate way, the way I know my wife. How do I do that? He replied, Read your Bible, so I asked him where to read. He said to read the Gospel of John because it is about God’s love.
Then he gave me some excellent advice. He said, Don’t pull something out of the air and try to believe for it. Find clear, plain scriptures for what you want. Then release your faith into the Word of God, not some bright idea .
I identified three major needs if I wanted to know God:
1. I needed to find clear, plain scriptures that authorized me to know God in a personal way.
2. I needed to get in God’s presence and learn how to stay there.
3. I needed to establish consistent, two-way communication with God.
I overcame these obstacles nearly fifty years ago. I have had consistent fellowship and communication with God ever since. The Lord authorized me to write this book so you can have the same relationship with God that I do.
God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). If you meet the same conditions I met, you will get the same results. I can give you the vision, knowledge, and wisdom you need, but I cannot be a doer of the Word for you (James 1:22).
The ability to hear the Lord’s voice is not enough. If you want to know Him, you must love, trust, and obey Him. The most important thing you will ever do is seek God with your whole heart.
Testimony: Basic Foundations Set in Place
A week after that initial breaking, I had an appointment with the senior pastor of the young man’s church. I shared with him my desire to know God intimately and asked him what I should do.
He told me I needed to read the Bible but to read in a specific way. He shared several important scriptures I needed to believe and obey.
He first explained that the natural mind cannot understand the things of God. He quoted 1 Corinthians 2:14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
He then said, Before you read the Bible, pray and make sure there is no sin between you and God. As you read, the Holy Spirit will quicken what you need to know and do.
From that moment on, I never used my natural understanding when I read the Bible. I embraced God’s revealed Word and the conviction from the Holy Spirit. I repented of each sin He exposed and obeyed God’s instructions.I only sought to love God; I had no other goal. My time and energy were focused on being a good student as the Holy Spirit taught me.
The pastor then shared John 14:26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you .
He quoted John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
After he quoted these scriptures, he said, The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He will lead you into all truth and teach you all things. This is what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do.
Then he asked, Do you believe the Holy Spirit will do what Jesus said He would do as He teaches you how to learn truth? I replied, Of course!
He then shared that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to bear witness to the truth and quoted 1 John 5:6b. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. He said again, This is what the Bible says the Holy Spirit will do. Do you believe the Holy Spirit will do what Jesus said? Of course, my answer was, Yes.
He concluded his counseling with 2 Corinthians 10:5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
He said, When you have a thought or come to a conclusion, ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness whether or not it is the truth before you release your faith. If He bears witness, believe and obey it. If He does not, do not believe or obey it.
The pastor then said, From this moment on, you should never believe a lie again. Before you release your faith to believe anything, ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness before you believe it as the truth .
I instantly released childlike faith into what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit teaching me and leading me into truth. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes childlike faith as resembling a child or that which belongs to children; becoming a child; meek; submissive; dutiful; as childlike obedience. )
From that point on, I expected the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus said He would do. I believed the Holy Spirit would reveal what I needed to know as I read the Bible.
I went home from that meeting and prayed until I knew I was in God’s presence. As I felt the Holy Spirit move on me, I said to Him, The pastor showed me in the Bible that one of Your jobs is to bear witness to the truth, but he did not tell me how You would do that. I never want to believe a lie again, so before I release my faith into any conclusion I have come to, I am going to ask You to confirm whether or not it is the truth.
I need to know for sure that it is You who is bearing witness. My first experience of You moving on me was when You flowed over me very strongly when I repented of my sins and completely surrendered to the Lord. When I ask You for confirmation, will You flow over me strong enough that there is no doubt it is You?
Immediately, the Holy Spirit flowed over me very strongly. I quickly asked, Would You do that again? Instantly, He did. I did this several times until there was no doubt in my mind that the witness of the Spirit worked.
From that moment on, I tested every thought and conclusion to see if it was truth from God. When I read the Bible, I made sure I was in God’s presence. I waited for the Holy Spirit to bear witness as I read.
I believed the Holy Spirit would reveal the truth I needed to receive. I held tightly to childlike faith and grew quickly using only the Bible and the witness of the Spirit.
I also used the witness of the Spirit to make decisions. I simply asked, Should I do this or not? The Holy Spirit directed my steps because I checked with Him about everything. Luke 16:10a says, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much . God saw my heart as I obeyed, and He blessed me abundantly.
One day, I realized that it would be nice to know if I should read in the Old or New Testament. I was then able to receive the Spirit’s witness for where I should read in the Bible.
All of this happened before I had two-way communication or received in-depth answers to questions. Because I was faithful to instantly obey when the Holy Spirit quickened truth to me, the Lord spoke to me in detail in a relatively short time.
The Lord did not allow me to read other books apart from the Bible and a concordance. Later, He said to read different books, but I did not assume that everything I read was the truth.
I used the witness of the Spirit consistently, so I only received the truth. I rejected false and misleading doctrines. I did the same when I listened to someone minister.
Do You Believe?
Many believers have heard me preach or have read one of my books. They believe that a close relationship with God is possible and accept that they can receive the benefits of John 17:3.
However, when they try to process all of the spiritual principles I teach, they find it hard to move from believing the truth to practically applying it. This is because they believe with their minds, not their hearts. Heart belief produces spiritual victory.
I had the same problem at the beginning. I claimed the promise of John 17:3. I knew the Lord would speak to me (John 10:27). I knew these promises were available to me, but they did not seem to work.
I made no excuses for not receiving what God had promised. I knew God’s Word was the truth, so the problem had to be in me. There had to be reasons I could not come into God’s presence, stay there, and hear His voice.
Deep repentance was needed because I was the problem, not God. I said to Him, I repent of not obeying Your commands in the past. I will obey what You tell me to do from now on.
If you have struggled to hear the Lord, you are the problem; God is not. You may have tried to hear His voice but have given up because you were unsuccessful. You may have stopped seeking Him for answers because you assumed you were doing everything right. Perhaps you subconsciously blamed Him for your lack of success and falsely believed you were not the problem.
I have heard many say, I have done everything I know to do so I am giving up. I am now waiting on God to move. The truth is, God is waiting on you! When you meet His conditions, you will have no trouble hearing His voice and getting to know Him.
I strongly encourage you to memorize and meditate on the first scriptures I learned. They set a solid spiritual foundation in me. They will do the same for you if you believe and obey them.
First of all, I cannot over-emphasize the need to believe from your heart that your natural mind cannot understand God’s Kingdom. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal it to you.
Secondly, you must maintain constant, unwavering faith in God and His revealed Word . In nearly fifty years of teaching people how to hear and know the Lord, I have found that most believers think they trust God but they do not. Confidence in themselves, their abilities, and their limited knowledge of God confirms that they do not trust Him completely.
Proverbs 3:5 says, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. The end result of absolute trust in Him is that you do not depend on your natural understanding or abilities.
The definition of trust is properly, to hie (to hasten) for refuge; figuratively, to trust, be confident or sure, ...put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust (H982).
The word heart means the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything (H3820). Your feelings, decisions, intellect, and the very essence of who you are must be fully entrusted to God’s care and control.
If you take control or decide what to do, you do not trust the Lord with your whole heart. You have confidence in yourself instead of Him.
Living in God’s Presence
Abiding in God’s presence comes before any specific type of communication. In order to hear Him consistently, you must move to where the Communicator is! All methods of communication from Him are valid and important. Some forms are immediate, while others require a process because they are more complex and detailed.
You can have communication with the Lord right now if you will confess your sins, repent, and move into God’s presence by faith. The Holy Spirit bears witness in a noticeable way when you are in His presence.
When you move into God’s presence, stop! Stop thinking, planning, or figuring out what to do next. Be quiet and still and wait for Him to communicate with you. 1 Kings 19:12 says, and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
If you struggle to hear the Lord or come into the presence of God, always check your basic spiritual foundations. Perhaps your love for the Lord has been polluted by other motives. They may appear to be spiritual but are self-righteous. You might have taken over lordship without realizing it.
If you focus specifically on the ability to communicate rather than the simplicity of loving and knowing God, you may be led into ideas and plans that appear to be righteous but are merely religious. Many believers begin in God’s presence but then lose fellowship with Him because they focus on religious methods instead of seeking Him because they love Him.
Galatians 3:3 says, Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have you been foolish in your Christian life? Have you struggled because you do not have the fellowship with God you used to enjoy?
Ask the Holy Spirit what is in your heart that convinced you to help God do His work in you. Then lay down your religious methods as you repent.
Testimony: A Pure Motive and Right Attitude
People often wonder why my spiritual life changed drastically in a short time. The reason is simple: I made the decision that Jesus was my first love and the literal, functional Lord of my life . I have never changed my mind.
I have never had a secondary motive for seeking God. I love Him with my whole heart, and I maintain an attitude of complete submission to Him. I took back the faith I had released into myself and satan’s lies and gave it all to Him. I chose to trust Him to do what He needed to do in me.
God gave me eyes to see that each one of my sins was connected to the root of my lordship. Instead of making excuses for those sins, I asked the Holy Spirit to process each one to that common root. He showed me how each sin had gotten access to me and how to repent until it was no longer an issue. I repented until the habits of my flesh were completely broken.
I did not repent of a few sins every week or month. I repented of many sins to the root before I went to bed each night. I refused to consider any thought, motive, or attitude other than complete love for the Lord and the desire to obey Him.
Because I did this at the beginning, I was able to do the first works. The first works are to humble yourself before God, repent of your sins, and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 2:4-5 says, Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Is Jesus Your First Love?
You may faithfully labor in the church, but is Jesus Christ your first love? If you have any motive for seeking God other than love for Him, your motive is not pure. The proper motive and attitude toward Him must be maintained no matter the cost.
Falling in love with the Lord and submitting your life to Him does not take weeks, months, or years. You do not need to make a career of moving in and out of the Spirit. Make the decision now to repent of having mixed motives and obey the Lord simply because you love Him.
Sadly, most believers are double minded. They love the Lord to a measure and also love their flesh. They are not fully committed to Him.
Testimony: Total Surrender
Luke 9:23-24 (AMPC) says, And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death].
When I broke before the Lord, there was no resistance in my heart or mind. I happily surrendered my life to Him. I obeyed these scriptures without reservation. The depth of my initial breaking set the foundation of loving the Lord with my whole heart. I knew what a great debt I owed Him, so I committed my life to love Him in return.
Have You Surrendered?
If you try to obey the Lord but fail repeatedly, the problem is your lack of total surrender. I often preach about the Lordship of Jesus Christ because it is through His Lordship that you are able to live in the Spirit and obey God’s commands.
If you want to live in God’s presence, Jesus must be your Lord. John 13:13 says, Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. In this verse, Lord means supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title):—God, Lord, master, Sir (G2962). If you do not love and obey Him, He is not your Lord.
You may have spent your Christian life moving back and forth between your carnal nature (also referred to as the flesh) and Christ’s nature. This is why you do not abide in the Kingdom of God or enjoy much spiritual growth.
When you repeatedly alternate between Jesus’ Lordship and your lordship, you always struggle spiritually. When you truly surrender your life to Jesus Christ, He works in and through you to bring you into consistent, close fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit shows you how to repent of every sin that hinders you from abiding in God’s presence.
The Main Hindrance to Complete Surrender
Many believers want to completely surrender to the Lord but find it difficult. They are unable to surrender because they do not trust God with all of their heart. This is often because there are areas they are afraid or unwilling to face.
As an example of this principle, think of your heart as a one thousand room hotel. Consider each room to be a different area of your heart. You may trust the Lord’s work in many rooms of your hotel but have hidden rooms you do not want Him to examine.
The Lord wants you to give Him the master key to every room in your heart. When you give Him the master key, every area that has not yet been exposed by the Holy Spirit is covered by God’s grace. Those areas do not separate you from His conscious presence.
One of satan’s tactics is to remind you of the hidden areas you are afraid to look at, so you hesitate to trust the Lord. The truth is, the Lord knows every detail about what you do not want to be exposed, and His love for you remains the same. He focuses on these issues for your benefit. His timing and motive are always perfect.
Facing these areas will not be as painful as you might expect because of God’s grace. His primary goal is to deal with what is most important in your relationship with Him.
You can obey the first instruction in Proverbs 3:5-6 (trust Him with all of your heart) even when you do not yet trust Him in every specific area. When your faith is in Him, you trust that He will deal with each issue at the right time.
Embrace the Process
When you are in the elementary phases of learning to hear the Lord, do not lose sight of what will come later. Live by faith and expect the Lord to speak to you. Appreciate where you are!
The purpose of hearing the Lord is so that you can obey Him because you love Him. Your level of hearing is not nearly as important as your motive and attitude about hearing.
If you struggle to believe that the Holy Spirit will bear witness to the truth, you are hindered by doubt and unbelief. With a repentant heart, ask the Lord why you cannot completely release your faith into Him. Repent of any hindrance He shows you and expect the Holy Spirit to move on you.
Testimony: How I Began to Hear
Many believers hear me preach or read my books and assume I had in-depth conversations with the Lord when I first began to walk with Him. This is not true.
I focused on loving and obeying the Lord. I practiced abiding in God’s presence and feeling the flow of the Holy Spirit on me to confirm I was in right standing with Him.
I asked the Holy Spirit how to read the Bible because I wanted revelation that was specifically for me. I relied only on the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truth and then explaining it. It was as if light flooded my heart and mind.
I believed the Holy Spirit would bear witness to the truth because He is the Spirit of truth. Bear witness means to be a witness, i.e. testify (literally or figuratively):—charge, give (evidence), bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness (G3140).
Proverbs 23:18b says, and thine expectation shall not be cut off. I expected the Holy Spirit to reveal the Bible to me, so He took the initiative to speak to me. I released my faith that I would receive revelation, so I did.
I released my faith to ask yes and no questions. When the Lord answered my simple questions, He sometimes took the initiative to explain His Word to me, even though I did not ask for details.
I was faithful to listen and obey at my level. That opened the door for me to hear the Lord more clearly. I obeyed everything the Holy Spirit showed me in the Bible each day and made good progress.
Within days, I received tremendous revelation from the Word alone.
Testimony: Changing from Natural to Spiritual Learning
As I said earlier, one of the most important principles I learned at the beginning was that I could not learn spiritual principles from a natural perspective. I laid down my old system of human reasoning and embraced God’s method of learning by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:13-14 says, Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I rejected every idea, concept, principle, and doctrine I had believed in the past. I asked the Holy Spirit to expose every false belief and teach me how to learn the truth.
I accepted God’s personal revelation for me. I set every truth as a goal that I pressed toward. If I was unable to obey, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me why I could not do what God had said.
I embraced God’s standard of righteousness without making excuses. Repentance and consistent obedience set solid spiritual foundations in place that have never moved.
I chose to trust the Lord with all of my heart regardless of what happened (Proverbs 3:5). I did not depend on my abilities at all because I knew natural methods would pollute the purity of my relationship with Him.
Loving and trusting God with my whole heart was not a future goal I set for myself. It is where I started! This is the main reason I have been able to walk faithfully with God for so many years.
If you do not settle the basic foundations of love, trust, and obedience, you will never have a consistent relationship with God. The following questions will help you examine where you are spiritually:
I encourage you to lay down your past mistakes and religious efforts. Confess your sins and the hidden (or blatant) rebellion in your heart. Come before the Lord in humility and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to hear and know God.
As you seek the Lord, do not be afraid or discouraged when your sins are exposed. Ask Him how to repent so that your sins are completely removed and can no longer hinder you.
From this simple beginning, you will develop an intimate relationship with your Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As you trust God with your heart and life, you will receive the wonderful blessings He has for you.
Love and Obedience: Keep It Simple
One struggle I had at the beginning was that I believed you could hear God directly, but I also doubted that He would speak to me. Unbelief kept my faith from activating. My motive was to love Him, and I became frustrated because I did not know how to love Him in a way that touched His heart.
I asked Him, What can I do to show You I love You that will move You the way You move me when You show love to me? In my frustration, I forgot to doubt He would answer me, and my faith released into Him.
He quoted John 14:15 to me when I did not know it was a scripture. If you love Me, keep My commandments. I then received a very strong witness of the Holy Spirit. There was no doubt in my mind that God had spoken to me.
Because of my immaturity, I thought, This does not make sense. I imagined saying to my wife, Honey, you know I love you. What can I do to show you how much I love you? I imagined that she answered, That is easy. Keep my commandments.
While I had those foolish thoughts, I did not realize God was listening. He interrupted my thoughts and said, Son, you asked Me and I told you. ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’
God told me that His ways are not man’s ways; they are much higher (Isaiah 55:9). God challenged me as a baby Christian to simply obey what He said.
I challenged God in return and said, If obeying You will show You that I love You, give me a commandment. I will do whatever You say. Even though my response was bold and foolish, He saw that I wanted to love Him.
The moment I obeyed God’s first command, the Holy Spirit flowed over me strongly. I immediately asked for another command. This continued for a while. I asked for many more commands and He responded in the same way.
I began to seek God about everything in my life. I did not care about what type of instruction He gave me. I did not realize I was sowing love by obeying God, but I quickly began to reap abundant love from Him because I obeyed (Galatians 6:7-8).
After a time, the Lord began to speak more challenging commands when the consequences of missing Him could be severe. He allowed me to face life-threatening situations. If I had not already learned to recognize a strong witness of the Spirit, I would have been killed by gang members who repeatedly threatened me. Obviously, I needed to be certain that I had heard the Lord in that circumstance!
I took no initiative to move the Spirit. I did not decide how to deal with the people who were determined to take my life. I waited for the word of the Lord, a strong move of the Spirit on me, and the peace of God. Then I obeyed the Lord and He moved on my behalf. He miraculously removed the threats to my life.
That I May Know Him
In Philippians 3:8-14, Paul explained the attitude each child of God should have toward Him. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus .
You are called to continually abide in God’s presence. His ultimate goal is that you never disconnect from Him by moving into the flesh.
God communicates with you even when you are in the flesh. Obviously, that type of communication is different than what you experience when you are in the Spirit.
There is also a difference between occasional communication and constant communion. (I define communion as communication with pleasure.) When you are in the Spirit, you feel God’s presence even when He is not speaking to you.
You enjoy communion as you abide in the Spirit. You do not have to talk all of the time. Simply stay yielded. You can enjoy consistent communion as a baby Christian. The Lord will lead you with peace and joy. You will feel the Holy Spirit moving on you even when you cannot hear detailed answers. The same principles that enable you to hear yes or no answers continue and develop as you mature.
Many believers assume that you must come before the Lord in a quiet place to hear Him directly. They believe you must read your Bible, sing, or do other religious works before He will speak. The fact is, you will hear the Lord instantly if you believe you can hear Him.
Matthew 9:29b says, According to your faith be it unto you. Proverbs 23:18b says, and thine expectation shall not be cut off. James 4:2b says, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
John 15:16 says, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
I encourage you to seek the Lord about what has been made available to you through salvation. Enjoy the Kingdom as a baby and rest in the Father’s lap. You have to crawl before you walk or run! A baby who abides in the Spirit has more advanced communication than a doctor of theology who functions in the natural realm.
Listen and obey at the level you are, but always expect to move to higher levels. Expect the Holy Spirit to train you in the ways of righteousness. The Lord continues to build on the foundations He has already laid in you as you move forward spiritually.
1 John 5:6b
2 Corinthians 10:5
1 Kings 19:12
1 Corinthians 2:13-14