In early May, I felt what I believed to be the stirring of God’s Spirit telling me that it was time to make a change in a situation in my life. I did not want to deal with this thing and the choice I felt the Spirit impressing on me was one I knew would involve real sacrifice. So what did I do? I shared the thought with several friends and asked them to pray with me. I invited their counsel. After a couple of weeks, I knew the answer and set about preparing myself for the change. Then, last week, I suddenly was confronted with an urgent call to do the very thing that I felt God had asked me to do weeks ago. God knew what was ahead and prepared me. I am so thankful that I listened, so when this change was ‘forced’ on me, I was emotionally prepared.
“God told me” is a phrase that always gets my attention. I want to pay attention to what He says and I believe that HE still speaks today. Sometimes I hear people use God to justify their own decision. They want to change jobs and suddenly they decide that God told them to do it. They want to leave their church and instead of just saying “We want a change,” they claim that “God told me.” Then, much more positively, there are times when the Spirit-filled person simply knows that the Lord has spoken and that they must follow His direction. Paul says, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25, NLT)
If somebody claims that God spoke to give them a special exemption from moral imperatives of Scripture so they can abandon responsibility for their family, or step away from discipleship, or break with spiritual authority – urge them to seek help! They are either deceived or actually mentally unbalanced. However, if a growing Christian believes he is hearing the quiet insistent voice of the Spirit urging a choice for spiritual service, to deal with some life-crippling habit, or to invest himself more deeply in spiritual matters – encourage him! That person may tell you that he is ‘having a crisis’ but often God calls us out of the ordinary by bringing circumstances into life that drive us to our knees.
Do you expect God to speak when you ask Him to guide you?
Do you pause to listen?
That Christian who knows the voice of the Lord is a courageous, steady, dedicated, and effective servant of the Kingdom!
The Scripture is our gold standard of Truth. The Holy Spirit will not speak to us in ways that contradict His moral law. To claim ‘new revelation or new light’ is a dangerous thing, especially when the person claiming it is isolated, in rebellion, or struggling with some overwhelming situation. A sudden lurch into some ‘new truth’ that God has supposedly revealed can and does lead people over a cliff of self-destruction. Every cult on the planet started when someone claimed that God had shown them new truth!
But, if we keep our hearts open to Him, if we are living in close supportive fellowship with other mature Christians, if we are full of the Word of God – we can hear His voice. He will guide. He will comfort. He will call. He will challenge. So, pray that the Spirit will speak to you about things like how you can better show love to your family, about the places in your life where you have grown careless about His purpose, about the things you have come to love more than you love Him, about who He wants to love through you, etc.!
Here is a word from the Word. Word of God, speak! “The Holy Spirit says, “Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear . . . So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.” (Hebrews 3:7-13, The Message)