How Do You Experience God?

Kerri Ash, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | April 12, 2024

Keep being compassionate to those who still have doubts.
Jude 22 (TPT)

In my Spiritual Direction practice, one of my favorite questions to ask my clients is “How do you experience God?” Often, folks will answer with things like “I see Him in nature,” or “He gave me my children.” Our circumstances, or in other words, things happening outside of ourselves, can indeed reveal God in beautiful ways. But what I love to hear about most are the ways that they experience God within their spirit, soul, and body.  

Our relationship with God and our experience of Him reside in the unseen places within us and go much deeper than the circumstances around us. Romans 8:16 tells us that once we have accepted that Jesus took the punishment for our sin, God’s Holy Spirit connects with our spirit to confirm to us that we are indeed His children. This connection with His Spirit, which is felt differently by each of us, continues to grow as our relationship with our Father deepens. For example, one of the ways I experience God is when a thought comes up that is from Him, I feel a ball of emotion well up in my chest that can bring me to tears—subtle yet indescribable tears and emotion that feel very different from those that come up as a result of my circumstances.

If we allow the circumstances surrounding us to define our experience of God—instead of what we experience in our spirit, soul, and body—we can open the door to a spirit of doubt. For instance, if something terrible happens in our life, we may be tempted to doubt God’s goodness or His affection for us. But if our inner connection with Him defines our experience of Him, we can be at peace no matter what the circumstances. That is why noticing our inner experience of Him is so important. 

We are all susceptible to doubt—even Philip and Thomas, who knew Jesus personally, required visual, physical proof that He was the Son of God. And Jesus was patient with them, loving them through it. In today’s passage, Jude reminds us to have compassion on those who doubt, as well. We can do this by loving them as Jesus does and asking God to gift them with a profound inner experience of Him that is all their own.

Next Steps

How do you experience God? What do you sense or feel when you know God’s Holy Spirit is connected to your spirit? Perhaps you receive an inexplicable sense of peace coming over you,  an inner knowing, or a prompting. Maybe you have even “heard” a word(s), but not with your ears—or had a dream or vision. If so, take a moment and thank God for revealing Himself to you. If you have not yet noticed how you experience Him in your being, take some time to be still and pray, asking His Holy Spirit to reveal His presence within you. Afterward, review what you experienced in your body and spirit while you were praying.