One of my favorite Christian vocalist and man of God is Donnie Mc clurkin. I want to begin this blog today with his “Speak to My Heart” Lyrics:
Speak to my heart, that’s what I want You to do.
Speak to my heart, ‘Cause I’m waiting to hear from You,
Speak to my heart, that’s what I want You to do.
When the church in Antioch gathered for worship, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Does the Holy Spirit speak to us today? Can we hear what He says to us today like the believers in Antioch?
I can remember when I was a young boy who could look out from the back of my house and see a wilderness that covered the vastness of my eight-year-old imagination. There was a barrier preventing me from exploring the horizon however; my mom and dad. Then again, I was a young boy and boys do what boys do. I would rebel with the ‘hardy boys’ or neighborhood fellows and disappear into the adventure, hopefully un-noticed. I would enter into a far-reaching canyon when I would stop, cup my hand to my ear while the blood was draining from my face turning it white. “What’s wrong,” someone would ask and I would respond; “I can hear my mom whistling”. They would laugh at me and say, “You can hear your mom from this distance. That’s impossible!” Nope, I could hear her while I turned, heading straight for home. Sure enough, waiting at the edge of the canyon rim’s exit, there she was with a ‘switch’ in her hand, WAITING! Could I have actually heard the recall signal of a ‘whistle’ from great distances? Yep, I could because subconsciously, I was listening for the call all the time I was in rebellion. I had been instructed what was permissible and what wasn’t and the consequences thereof.
The Apostle Paul tell us that those who are led by the Holy Spirit are the children of God (Romans 8:14). We should expect the Holy spirit to lead us and we need to know how He does it. Does He whistle for us? Probably not but He does know how to get our attention.
IN DIFFERENT WAYS
God works in different ways with different people. He spoke in different ways to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Samuel, Elijah, Mary and Paul. He can speak in different ways to us in the church today.
Just as the Holy spirit decides to give different abilities to different people (1 Corinthians 12:11), He works with us in different ways. A person with the gift of miraculous words, is likely to hear the Spirit in a different way than a person with the gift of compassion. The Spirit will lead a teacher in a different way than a server. He has different jobs for each person.
Dianne and I had three children to raise up. Each child responded very differently to our corrections and guidance. Our oldest daughter would melt into a puddle of tears from a stern look; no words were spoken. While our other daughter would storm off to her bedroom, close the door and pass a note from under the closed door that would read: “I am sorry I disobeyed. I will stay in my room forever if that’s what you want me to do. I don’t need to eat either.” She certainly had the flair for the dramatics. Our son, that’s a whole another blog. However, his teenage years turned into a spiritually led adult who applied the words of Solomon in Proverbs 22:17, 18: “Listen (consent and submit) to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them in your mind [believing them; your lips will be accustomed to [confessing] them.” He has confessed and appologized for his rebellion growing up.
For some people, Holy Spirit speaks subtly; in general principles. For others (like me), He must speak with unmistakable details. Each person must listen in the way that God made us.
Let me relate an instance of five years ago that might give you an example “for others like me“. I received a phone call from the pastor of the church I was attending at the time. He wanted me to pray for and come up with a possible idea of writing something creative for Easter services. I told him I had absolutely no experience in such creativity, but I would let him know God’s answer. I began to pray as soon as the conversation had ended but, nothing came. The next best thing I rationalized, maybe I could do it by myself; with God’s help, of course! Still…NOTHING and time was running short.
Then one night while I was asleep in bed, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder. I looked at the clock on the nightstand and it was 3 A.M. I rolled over and went back to sleep. I felt the touch again and this time a still small voice said, ‘Get up and grab a pen and notebook and write down everything I tell you to write.” I went out to the kitchen table at 3:20 A.M. (I looked at the clock in the kitchen), and finished enough pages by 8 A.M., for a 3-Act play entitled “Mercy On Trial“; including hand sketched details of the stage design. God had spoken to me with ‘unmistakable details’.
The important thing is, that we are listening; that we are ready and willing to hear what He says. We should be looking for His leadership, His guidance; not ignoring it. Even at 3 A.M. in the morning!
THERE ARE DANGERS
There are several dangers that can arise as we are listening for direction. The first danger is when sorts of people have claimed to be directly hearing from Holy Spirit, when He didn’t really speak to them; false prophecies and foolish advice. I have been directly exposed to this deception and left a church fellowship because of the danger signs demonstrated. If God did speak to them as they said, they badly misunderstood what He was saying. How did I know this? Because of the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment my wife and I had received during this time. Thank You Jesus. So there is a danger of “hearing” things that God never said. Being careful in your hearing is crucial, because you don’t want to use His name in vain; “God said” when He didn’t say!
The second danger, is when some people are afraid of hearing incorrectly and refuse to hear anything at all. Joyce Meyer once said, “Years ago, when I first started walking more intimately with God, I used to wait for a word from God for everything I wanted to do–until I learned that His spirit abides in me to do good works. In the early years of walking with God, it was on my heart to give a woman in need ten dollars. I carried that desire around for three weeks until I finally prayed, ‘God, is it really You telling me to give this person the money? I’ll do this if it’s really You!’ He answered so clearly, ‘Joyce, even if it isn’t really Me, I won’t get mad at you if you bless somebody!” (from Knowing God Intimately by Joyce Meyer).
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7, 8a).
Holy Spirit speaks in the words of Scripture. He does communicate to us today convicting us of what we should do; guiding us in how we should serve God.
A third danger is seeking the Holy Spirit for selfish reasons. Some people want Holy Spirit to make their decisions for them. Tell them what job to take, a person to marry, when to move and how to live. They want the Holy Spirit to be like a Ouija board or horoscope; to save them the trouble of thinking or making decisions.
God wants us to grow in maturity in learning by experience what is right and wrong.
“For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness, for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! BUT solid food is for grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Many of our decisions we face are not matters of sin and righteousness. They are simple choices. God can work with us no matter what we choose and He leaves the choice up to us. So the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak on everything that we want Him to.
Some people would like Holy Spirit as a conversational companion; to keep them company; they want to chat. The Holy Spirit isn’t involved in idle words.
“BUT the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener) comes Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me” (John 15:26).
Holy Spirit doesn’t want to call attention to Himself. He is often silent at times because He has already given us enough information and advice. He wants us to use what has already been given; He has been training our spirit to respond rightly to what is facing us. Now that doesn’t mean we rely on ourselves, but to rely on God; what He has already done in our lives and what He has already taught us.
Part 2; “The Rhema Word and the Logos Word”