Take an object that is next to you right now and pick it up. It might be a stapler, a book, or your phone. Hold it in your hand. Is there any doubt in your mind that what you are holding truly exists? Not at all! You can see it with your own eyes, touch it, smell it, taste it, hear it. By doing these things, we have first-hand knowledge that this item is real.
The more experience we have with the item, the more we learn about its characteristics and what special things that it can do or teach us. Easy right? We’ve been applying this logic our entire life to learn about things.
But what about those things that are not tangible… like God, Life After Death, Heaven, and other spiritual things when we cannot apply this same pattern of learning? How do we know for ourselves if they exist, or are true?
Just like the steps that you apply to learn of things that surround you, there are also learning steps for spiritual things that we cannot see. Are you ready to learn what they are?
Before we begin, I would like to share a flawed concept that many people have when it comes to learning about God. “Just show me a sign, or let me see you God, and then I’ll believe.” This logic fits into our current method of learning of tangible things, but likely will not work in our spiritual learning. Let me give you an example.
Moses was a prophet of God who lived on the earth about 3500 years ago. He lived in Egypt and was a leader of the Hebrew people who were under the rule of an evil king.
Moses finally got the green light from the king to lead these people to a new life, and freedom.
They all left Egypt. However, their journey was interrupted when they arrived at the shore line of the Red Sea. Looking on the horizon they could see the king’s army in hot pursuit racing toward them. It was clear that the king had changed his mind, and the army had intent of killing all of them who the king felt had betrayed him. (Are you ready for the “show me a sign, and then I’ll believe part?”)
Through the power of God, the Red Sea parted allowing these people safe passage to the other side.
When the army followed them, the sea walls crashed down upon this army and THEY were destroyed.
A miracle! They saw it with their own eyes. They walked on the seafloor observing the ocean on both sides. They also witnessed God destroying their enemy for good, allowing them safety for the remaining of their journey. And yet, even after witnessing these things with their own eyes, it only took a matter of days for them to forget what they had been a part of. They put all of that aside and began worshiping a golden pagan calf, doing wicked things despite what God had just done for them.
So why doesn’t the principal of “just show me a sign” work when learning spiritual things? Be patient, and I’ll answer that question later.
Here are the steps to spiritual learning:
Take something spiritual that you would like to know is true, like God, or Life After Death. Now apply this first step. “I HOPE that God is real.” I HOPE that there is life after death.” Hope is a simple principle to apply. It is a desire.
It is also a very successful first step in our spiritual learning. We have to have a desire first to know these things. When we HOPE for these things, we are preparing ourselves to be observant of events in our life that will lend credibility to our hope, and then advancing to the next step.
Spiritual things have likely happened to each one of you. With our spiritual radar set on Hope, we might even have associated these spiritual things and identified them for what they really are. We are hopeful of something and then have an experience with that hope which moves us to a belief, rather than just a hope. “We can then say, I BELIEVE!”
Let me give you a personal example.
When I was young, I remember seeing my dad kneel with the family at night to have family prayer. During his prayer, sweat appeared on top of his bald head.
His prayer was intense. My thought at the time was, he must really feel that he is talking to God, and not just saying random things to make the family feel good. “Is God real? Is my dad actually talking to God right now? I HOPE so! I HOPE that someday I will know if God is real and hears our prayers.”
One weekend, I picked up my bride-to-be and traveled several hours to an excluded fishing spot for a date. Oh, to be young again. =) After an entire day of sheer bliss, I dropped her off at her house and continued my journey home, which was about 30 miles from her house.
I happen to be driving my mom’s brand-new PINTO car. I was exhausted from the day and found myself starting to swerve on the road, not being able to stay awake. My thought was back to that moment when I had seen my dad “talk to God”. Perhaps leaning a bit on my dad’s faith in God, I closed one eye out of respect and uttered my own prayer…with conviction and genuine intent.
I asked Him to help me stay awake, so I wouldn’t crash Mom’s new car. I had a warm feeling as I prayed. It was almost that I knew that God would help me with my dilemma.
After my prayer, I saw something immediately in front of me on the road, and after trying to avoid it, I hit it with the front and back tire. I HAD JUST RUN OVER…A SKUNK!
I had NO problem staying awake through the remainder of the drive. The smell was awful, but even more overpowering was my JOY. God had heard me. He had also answered my prayer, and He did it in a way personal to me. (I must honestly say that I feel that God has a sense of humor.)
When I got home, I ran up the stairs calling out to my mom… “He’s real! God answered my prayer, and He is hilarious!” I took her into the garage to show her what had happened. “What’s that awful smell?” It was a smell that led me to BELIEVE that God was real and that He hears and answers my prayers.
There is one very important principle that is necessary to “BELIEVE”. I had a spiritual experience with staying awake; The Hebrews had a very spiritual experience as described above. But what was the difference? This is the most important point of this post.
It is essential that when we are in a state of HOPE, and these spiritual events happen in our life, that we receive a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost confirming that what just happened to us is indeed from God. Let me explain this further.
The Holy Ghost is part of God’s team. It is a spirit. The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to communicate with our spirit. It speaks, or witnesses to our spirit in a communication of spiritual learning. Doesn’t this make sense?
Unlike our mortal brain that has to learn and understand things to know what’s real on this Earth, it is our spirit inside of us that is our source of learning and knowing if spiritual things are true. Our spirit has to know first, before we can make a statement that we believe in something spiritual.
Visual events can influence our spirit into feeling that these things witnessed are true, but we must also have a spiritual connection associated with it to believe in its truthfulness. Our spirit inside of us knows the Holy Ghost as being God’s voice. That relationship was established before we were sent to earth to get a body. When our spirit connects with the Holy Ghost through spiritual whisperings, we receive a witness that this spiritual thing is true. This is what all of you are looking for, so that you can KNOW what spiritual things are true for yourself.
This is what was lacking with the Hebrews in witnessing the miracle of God which was soon forgotten. They saw the miracle with their own eyes, but lacked the spiritual connection which would have given them a testimony of God’s power, and His actual existence.
My hitting the skunk will forever be a testimony of the existence of God because of the witness that I had when that happened. The feeling inside of me… even today as I write this, is a continual witness of its truthfulness. We must have this confirmation from the Holy Ghost in our spiritual learning to advance us to the next step which is…
You have heard people say, “I know that God is real”. And, in your mind you question, how do they know? When you follow these steps of HOPE, BELIEVE, (having a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost), then you too will KNOW.
Let me close this post by telling you something. The spiritual principles that I KNOW to be true, have a greater conviction to me than my mortal knowledge of things that I have learned, and here’s why.
Throughout my life, I have learned things to a point where I am fairly confident in discussing them with others. I feel that through my research and study I have earned the comfort level to express the things that I KNOW about the topic. But there have been MANY times in my life when I have changed from this knowledge into knowing the same thing in a different way than what I had professed to know about it previously. Additional study, new advancements, etc. can change our beliefs in our mortal knowledge.
There is also the concept of illusion in this mortal life. As one who loves magic, I can show someone an amazing trick up close, and they are convinced that it actually happened exactly as presented, when I know that it was an illusion or slide of hand. In the coming months, we will see the illusions of the Anti-Christ as he attempts to mislead us.
Spiritual knowledge is consistent. I can never deny the spiritual things that I have learned through the witness of the HOLY GHOST. They remain the same and are unchanged.
A word of caution here though. The adversary is aware of this powerful connection that the Holy Ghost has with our spirit. Satan cannot match this power of learning to convince us otherwise. However, his plan is to push us into doing sinful things, trying to turn us away from God.
If we continue trying to do our best, we will always have the influence of the Holy Ghost. If we choose to go against what we know is right, the Holy Ghost becomes dim inside of us, and if our sinful ways continue, can disappear entirely. When this happens, we no longer have this spiritual knowledge to the level of “I Know”, but are sent into a fog of doubt. Be aware of Satan’s tactic to draw you away from the teachings, and power of the Holy Ghost communicating with our spirit.
I bear witness to the steps of spiritual learning that I have shared with you. I KNOW that this is the way for you to learn and know of things that you cannot see. To know for yourself, and not to just lean on others who have this same testimony.
I invite you to join me again in a few days right here on this website, as we continue the journey of “Getting to Know Your Maker.”
I am praying for you all. I want you to know for yourself the answers to the spiritual things that you are questioning. I want you to know God as your Heavenly Father.
So, as I leave you for a few days, I would like to invite the Holy Ghost to teach you something else about our Maker. Listen to the song below. There is a message in the lyrics. Prayerfully listen to each word, 20 times if you need to, and you will receive a spiritual witness of……?