Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice

       After high school I was going to head off to a big state college and study real estate economics and finance.  However, two weeks before classes started the school called me and said, “We ran out of room in the dorms, you have to get an apartment off campus.”    Distraught, I contacted my back up schools just to find out that it was too late to get in there.  The only school I knew of that I could get into last minute was a small Bible college.  So, I went there with the intention of just staying one semester and then transferring to a school I actually wanted to go to.  However, I brought my high school habits of cheating with me.
       About two months into classes I saw a video of a tribe of people living in a remote location hearing the gospel for the first time.  Many of the tribe believed instantly.  What stood out to me was that they had joy and excitement.  My first thought was, “I have been a Christian since I was a kid and don’t have that joy.  Either I am believing something different or I am doing something wrong.”  
       That thought caused me to dive into reading the Bible like I had never before.  I was excited!  ..Until I read for about one hour and a still small voice inside my head said, “I want you to tell on yourself for cheating on your first test.”  I pushed it off.  “No, I’m not going to do that.”  But the more I read the Bible, the stronger the voice got.  “I can’t tell on myself.”  I would reason.  “If I do that then I will get kicked out of this school!  I actually want to be here now so I don’t want to get kicked out.”  The voice replied, “I want you to trust me and tell on yourself.”  
So, did I go tell on myself?  Not yet.  I spent the next two days reading through most of the New Testament with the thought, “There has to be a way I can justify not telling on myself.”  Ultimately, I came to 1 Timothy 1:19, “Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”  I instantly realized that the quiet voice I heard while reading the Bible was the Holy Spirit’s voice.  He was speaking to me, but I didn’t want to listen.  I thought it would be okay not to listen, “Just this one time!  Next time I will…  I won’t do it again!”  The verse in First Timothy was like a 2x4 to the head.  Not keeping a good conscience will result in suffering a faith shipwreck.  It will ruin you.  God gently came aside me in that moment and said, “I have replaced your conscience with my Spirit.  If you want to grow closer to me then you cannot push aside that voice any longer.  Listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice is how you grow closer to me.”
       So I did.  I told on myself for cheating.  It was hard.  I got a zero on the test, but I didn’t get kicked out.  I learned that even though it was difficult and humiliating I still got joy out of doing it.  Not because it was fun but because I knew it pleased God to listen to and obey Him. During this process I realized I had heard that voice for years telling me that I should read my Bible instead of watching a movie or that I should go talk to the guy in my class who is visibly hurting or to go talk to someone about Christ.  However, I don't think I ever wanted to admit that it was God's voice because not doing it meant I was disobeying Him.  It is easy to justify not going along with some idea that popped into you head, but when you admit that God is telling you do something it is blatant disobedience not to.  I must admit that I voluntarily lived ignorantly for years not listening to His voice.  That is why I never had the joy that comes with knowing Christ.
       Do you want more joy?  Listen to God's voice and obey Him!  It is difficult, but you will experience peace and joy like never before.  Please pray this month that the Body of Christ would learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and that they would obey Him.  Also, please be praying with us that those who God desires to partner with this ministry would listen to His leading. 

I Samuel 15:22
Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Praise God with us!  We had one of our financial partners increase the amount they are giving and we may have had one new partner join our team today!  (Many times we don't know until the following month if it is a one-time gift or if they desire to partner monthly.)  

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