Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

How the Holy Spirit Helped Me Feel the Truth of Jesus

Afternoon prayer

Tuesday afternoons I’ll often walk the creek trail near my house and pray for the staff at Mercy Hill Church.

But yesterday, before I got to the staff, I was asking God to increase the work of His Spirit in my heart.

And as I prayed — something unusual happened.

Some context

I believe Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit will often make the truth of Jesus real to us in a supernatural, experiential way (John 6:35; John 7:37-38; Rom 5:5; Gal 3:5; 1Pet 1:8).

But believing that is one thing.  Experiencing it is another.

My heart usually runs from–

  • feeling-nothing to
  • longing-for-more to
  • feeling-a-little and then back to
  • longing-for-more or even
  • feeling-nothing

But yesterday God did something out of the ordinary — something unusual.

I want to share it with you so that — like an appetizer — it might stir your hunger for more of the Spirit’s work in your life.

Praying for the work of the Spirit

I was asking the Father to make the truth of Jesus more real to me by the work of the Spirit.

What often helps me is to go over Scripture — so I started thanking Jesus for his miracles —

  • turning 180 gallons of water into the best wine,
  • turning five loaves and two fish into food for thousands,
  • healing blind Bartimaeus.

Then I started praying through John 20:30-31 —

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

And as I thought about those words — prayed over those words — I felt the Holy Spirit bringing a change to my heart.

This is all absolutely true

I saw — and felt — and experienced — the truth of that verse like I had never before.

God came into the world in the person of Jesus so we could see, hear, and touch the Living God.

Jesus worked signs — public miracles — which John could see and write about in his gospel.

John wrote these miracles so I can know this is true — so I can trust in Jesus — so I can experience life in His name.


Massive historical evidence

What struck me is that God has given us all the evidence we need to trust Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and all-satisfying Treasure —

  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus miraculously healing the sick.
  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus calming a storm.
  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus multiplying five loaves and two fish.
  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus raised from the dead.
  • We have eye-witness accounts of Jesus ascending into heaven.

And what I felt as I thought and prayed about this was — this is all absolutely true.  I have all the evidence I could ever need.

How this impacted me

I don’t know how to explain this.  But there’s a difference between knowing this is true — and feeling this is true.

What happened Tuesday was that I saw and felt and experienced that this is all true.

Jesus’ signs and glory and reality were as real as if He was standing right before me.

What I felt was — “It’s all true!  You have come in Jesus!  You have revealed Yourself in Jesus!”

My heart was filled with perfect peace and joy.  Jesus Christ was my all-satisfying Treasure.

Crucial take-aways

God used Tuesday’s experience to remind me of some crucial truths —

  • The normal Christian life involves frequent supernatural experience of the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
  • What the Spirit does is glorify Jesus — enabling us to move from just knowing to actually feeling the truth of who He is (John 16:14; 2 Cor 3:18)
  • God brings this work of the Spirit to us through prayer (Luke 11:13; Eph 1:17-18)
  • The Spirit does His work through the truth of God’s Word (Gal 3:5; John 6:63)
  • Faith does not depend on experiences — it rests on God’s Word which is true whether my sinful heart feels anything or not (John 20:30-31).
  • But God promises these experiences of the Spirit (John 7:37-38), and we should long for these experiences of the Spirit (Psa 42:1-2), because they will strengthen our faith.

How have you experienced this work of the Spirit?

I’d love to hear your stories — leave a comment below.  Thanks.

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Category: Stories from My Life, The Work of the Spirit


17 Responses

  1. Ron Robles says:


    I have come a long way from the High School kid you knew who had a lot of doubt. I too have come to realize that the Holy Spirit helps us experintially know and understand Jesus. It has really helped me to read biographies of how the Holy Spirit worked in peoples lives and to know that he is more than willing to work in my life- if I allow him. I just recently finished a biography of D.L.Moody and how his journey of the work of the Holy Spirit impacted his ministry. Thank you for sharing how the Holy Spirit has recently worked in your life. Your openness and vulnerability is very refreshing and encouriging.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      It always brings me joy to hear from you, Ron. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I, too, have been deeply impacted through reading biographies of men and women who share the ways the Holy Spirit has worked in their hearts.

      Let’s press on to know the Lord — for as surely as the dawn He will come (Hos 6:3).


  2. Meridian says:

    Hi, Steve. I found your blog via a Google search. Have been feeling pretty beat up by the world lately and was looking for a place to come and find some encouragement. Your blog seems like a good place to do just that. Will nose around and see what’s out here.

    Deep experiences with the Holy Spirit are few and far between for me. But I get quite a few dreams. Have had some doozies. Some have obvious messages, others I can’t quite grasp. Leaves me puzzled sometimes.

    My walk in faith is very solitary (due to my circumstances). I’m looking forward to reading more about your faith and how to survive in the ever-increasing tension of this world 🙂

    • Steve Fuller says:

      So glad to meet you, Meridian. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.

      To help you nose around, maybe you could start with the posts listed on the right side of the home page under the title “Want a Quick Overview?” That’s where you will get a sense of what I believe God’s Word teaches about living by faith.

      I’m sorry to hear that your circumstances mean your walk in faith has to be solitary. Is there any Bible-believing church anywhere near you? I just met with two other guys at a nearby Starbucks at 6am this morning and was powerfully strengthened in trusting Jesus by their love, challenge, encouragement. I will pray that you can find like-minded followers of Christ to connect with.

      And feel free to raise questions or share comments as they come up.

      In Christ,


  3. Mr. Fuller,
    I so appreciate you sharing this! I have a couple of questions in regards to this topic.

    How can you tell the difference between emotionalism versus truly the Holy Spirit working and enlightening? I understand that you have to have “feeling”, but how do you distinguish between feeling and Spirit?

    The Lord has really been convicting me for a while about my lack in my prayer life. To be really honest, I REALLY struggle in this regard. I often feel the need and desire, but fail to come. And when I do come, I struggle with feeling dead and like I just can’t get into His presence. This whole topic of communion with Christ is difficult for me. Do you have any thoughts? It is quite obvious that communion with Christ is a reality in your life. How did this become reality in your life and what would you recommend for me to make it a reality in my life?

    I so appreciate you and your ministering to others through this blog! I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    God Bless,

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Great question, Breanna.

      Let’s see. I think the main difference between emotionalism and the Spirit’s work is that the Spirit’s work will always glorify Jesus (John 16:14; 2Cor 3:18). So your feelings will not just be disembodied feelings — they will be a response to the truth of Jesus Christ — and they will focus on Him.

      So it won’t just be that you feel peace, or joy — but that you will feel peace because of who Christ is — you will feel joy in who Christ is.

      So don’t focus mostly on what’s happening in your heart. Focus, by prayer and meditation, on who Jesus Christ is as revealed in God’s Word.

      To grow in understanding what Scripture teaches about this, I’d encourage you to pray over passages like Psa 42:1-2; Psa 63; Psa 73:25-26; John 4:13-14; John 7:37-39; Rom 5:5; 2Cor 4:6; and 1Pet 1:8.

      And if you haven’t already — check out these posts —
      How to Fight the Fight of Faith
      and 6 Reasons Heart-Satisfaction is so Crucial

      And not everyone enjoys reading these guys — but I’ve been powerfully helped by reading Jonathan Edwards’ “A Treatise Concerning Religous Affections” and John Owen’s “The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded.”

      And I’d also recommend John Piper’s “Desiring God” and “Future Grace.”

      But what’s most important will be your own study of God’s Word on this topic — and your own seeking of Him through prayer and meditation on His Word — fighting the fight to trust Him as your Savior, Lord, and all-satisfying Treasure.

      I hope this helps. Let me know what He teaches you and how He meets you.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

    • Steve Fuller says:

      One other thought.

      It’s clear that the Bible authors also had times where they sought the Lord and felt nothing. Study Psa 13 and Psa 42 as examples.

      What they did at those times was to keep pressing in — asking the Father for outpourings of His Spirit — and setting their hearts on the truth of His Word.

      There are times when God lovingly and wisely withholds His experiential presence from us — because this humbles us, deepens our longing for Him, purifies us, and makes it all the more satisfying when we once against sense His presence.

      So don’t be discouraged at those times. Psalm 40:1-3 will happen — in His perfect time.

      Steve Fuller

      • I so appreciate your thoughts! Very helpful!

        Thank you for sharing the passages in Scripture- some of them are favorites of mine, others that I’m not so familiar with- and also for the book resources. I was able to find all of them, except one, online free! I look forward to reading them and the blog posts that you recommended! But more importantly, I appreciate the encouragement to open the Word and study for myself and seek His face.

        I love how you explained feeling versus Spirit working. That makes a lot of sense! Basically, what you’re saying is- focus on Christ and His Word and who He is and forget, more or less, about what I’m “feeling”. And as I focus on Him, the Spirit will do a work within me.

        Mom and I have recently been discussing this aspect of feeling versus the Spirit in regards to music and worshiping God in music. I’m going to share with her your thoughts!

        Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

        God Bless,

  4. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Hi Steve,

    You said, “I don’t know how to explain this. But there’s a difference between knowing this is true — and feeling this is true.”

    Yep! I feel that’s the best sign for your experience having been a supernatural one. Every time when I find myself helpless to explain what I saw, felt or realized (for example of Scriptures’ truth), I know that the author must have been God. The worst thing about it is that I rarely find anybody to share my experiences who really does KNOW what I’m speaking or writing about. I guess this is a certain kind of solitude in this world which relates us directly to Jesus – the first one who was in this world, but not of this world. Earnestly, we are aliens here on earth waiting for the world and things to come!

    I was also inspired by the comment of Meridian who mentioned another kind of divine experience. Dreams – and visions as well – are frequently components of spiritual life and they are not easy to comprehend. Our natural reason usually is not able to do this. From my own experience, I believe that not only the Bible needs exegesis but dreams and visions too. There have been a few visions that indeed came true, and it was the very moment of experiencing the truth of a vision when I was in the midst of the situation which was predicted by the vision itself. In this case, it was a so-called aha-experience.

    As for my dreams I could give an example right now.
    More than twelve years ago, I’ve had different impressive dreams of which I immediately knew that they were of divine origin. There are different reasons for my certainty.
    First, I FELT the presence of God in the dreams, that is His love and the fear of God as well. Second, the dreams were accompanied by a supernatural kind of light which seemingly was coming from Heaven on the hand and was on the other hand at the same time illuminating the things from within. Sometimes there was a kind of “rainbow light” within everything as well. Oh yes, it is difficult to describe it…
    Third – I couldn’t forget one of the dreams. They were somehow engraved into my mind. How long? Until they have come true. Not all of them, but some did. Indeed, as I felt the truth of those dreams, my mind has opened and I saw that God wanted to show me His plan for my life beforehand, so that I could believe that everything I experience right now is part of His eternal plan for me (ain’t no doubt about it if you FEEL it).

    It is not so that God predicted love, joy and peace for me, but very difficult times of suffering I would have to endure as well. I experienced a lot of pain and I still do. I’m not speaking of difficult circumstances in my life (although there are not few of them), but from spiritual suffering which can be way more painful than anything else. However, God carries me through every valley of death and tears, and He is my comforter when I seemingly cannot bear the pain inside any more (somehow through it all God is always with me).
    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Mt 5:4)
    Alright…well spoken. Or better written. 😉

    Moreover, and here I’m referring to my dreams and visions, God somehow introduced me this year after several lonely decades of experiences with Him to a man who indeed is on the same way, and who knows what I’m talking about. I’m so thankful for this divine priceless blessing which He has previously shown to me in a sort of private revelation, that is to say, that I saw the man clearly beforehand and I recognized him at once though I had never seen nor heard of him in my life before apart from my dream. Thus I KNOW about the truth though my reason doesn’t grasp some dreams or visions yet. On this account I renounce a detailed description which wouldn’t help anyone but me.

    I’m so sorry, Steve, that I cannot provide an interesting or thrilling story here, but that’s the way the story goes…

    Be blessed all the more,

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you, once again, for sharing your thoughts, Susanne.

      I agree that there are many different ways God can work supernaturally by His Spirit — gift of His Spirit, dreams, visions. I see no reason biblically to think He has stopped working in these ways.

      I distinguish between the normative experience of the Spirit that is promised to everyone who trusts Jesus — and other gifts which God can give but which vary in degree and kind from believer to believer.

      The normative experience which we can all have includes rivers of living water satisfying our heart-thirsts (John 7:37-38), God’s love being poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5), and a supernatural revelation of the light of Jesus’ glory shining into our hearts. This experience is not constant. But God will give it in response to faith as He sees fit.

      The other gifts include dreams, visions, and so forth. I believe God still works in these ways — but, like I said, none of this is normative or promised to everyone.

      But it does sound like God has blessed you powerfully through dreams. What a mercy to have Him show you trials ahead of time. He is such a loving Father!

      May the Lord bless you today, Susanne,

      Steve Fuller

  5. Alan from Sydney says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog and find it very helpful. I should add that 50 years ago my wife and I and our six young children used to gather around the radio and listen to your grandfather’s program. What a blessing that was! I might also draw your attention to a really great non-vocal rendition of his theme song ‘We Have Heard the Joyful Sound’ on the Small Church Music website, played by a small band to the tune ‘Jesus Saves’ rather than the tune ‘Limpsfield.’ I am sure that Charles E. would have loved it.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      It is so good to meet you, Alan. What a privilege to meet someone who listened to my grandfather 50 years ago.

      Thank you so much for introducing yourself. And I am glad that you are finding this blog helpful.

      Feel free to comment or interact with what I post at any time.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  6. Bill Schuler says:

    This is a very popular topic lol! I believe the reason is because somehow deep inside we know in our spirit that His presence is “Home.” The absence of his presence is what’s wrong with us, and everybody knows that there is something wrong or missing that nothing can fix or fill. Like Christmas morning God is so excited for us to open the present of His presence, but we have to wait until heaven’s Christmas morning to completely open it. However because he is sooo cool he lets us peek under the tree and open the wrapping paper just enough to excite and encourage us as we see and feel our gift to come, which cannot be described ever! The best I can do is say over and over “your so beautiful” Thank you Steve for mentioning that many times as you seek his presence you feel nothing. I have been so disapointed lately as it has been along time since I have experienced His loving presence. I have to say I probably haven’t been seeking him with my WHOLE heart, so maybe that’s why. Why I haven’t is also discouaging to me.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      As always, it’s a joy to hear from you, Bill.

      I just got back from speaking at a retreat on “Fighting the Fight of Faith” — and much of the emphasis was on fighting — by prayer and meditation on God’s Word — until we feel the Holy Spirit changing our hearts so we love Jesus Christ more than anything.

      It was a very powerful, and encouraging time.

      Lord bless you, brother,


  7. zaima says:

    I am so glad to read your experience, yes, when god’s word comes to us as knowledge it has no special effect, but when it comes to us as revelation, it makes the difference … I had many experience like that, with many Scriptures. Longing of our heart for him, is so intense sometimes, but there are times we feel emptiness. I try to make every day as special as I could, knowing that I am living on this earth with Jesus, there is no need for sadness in my life, I want to enjoy this life with Jesus as much as I can, I want to be happy with what I got, I want to be thankful, I want to remember always I am very blessed because of him… I do not want any discouragement to take over me…

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Zaima,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I love your hunger for God, and longing to experience Him in His Word.

      Press on, brother, and thank you for your encouragement.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

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