I Kings 22 – The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.
I Thess, 5 – Do not say quench the Spirit. (Do not resist His influence, like trying to smother a fire.)
Daniel 4 – Nebuchadnezzar said to Daniel, “…but you are able [to interpret the dream], for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”
Psalm 45– “Therefore God , Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness…”
Listening for God’s voice and speaking the words He gives me sounds grandiose, doesn’t it. I mean, when I think about how to explain to anyone why I believe a certain way, make seemingly insignificant choices or major decisions, speak assertively or refrain from letting the words fly, I almost want to minimize the importance of seeking God. How many times have we heard televangelists spout prophecies that do not come true and serve only to sell books or garner large donations? How many kooks do we see standing on the corner shouting that everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent? Have you ever felt queasy from manipulative pastors who say, “Thus saith the Lord,” before convincing you to get involved in the church – ministries where no one wants to volunteer (think children’s ministry), duties that the church doesn’t want to pay for (think lawn care or renovating the parsonage), or leading Bible studies in your home?
So I hesitate to add my insignificant voice to the clanging symbols of those I discern to have ‘lying spirits.’ Oh, and yes, listening to God and speaking His word sometimes means taking a stand against religious nuts.
So what is the litmus test for knowing the Spirit of truth and hearing the voice of God? I am certainly no theologian, and I can only speak from my personal spiritual walk, yet I do use a method, if you will, to hear from God and to choose when and what to say.
First, I go to the Source. God, the Father, Christ Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit of God are but a heartbeat away anywhere, anytime. With each breath and pulse I consciously and unconsciously reach for the Trinity. Beginning with praise and letting go of any illusion of control, I begin to surrender spirit, soul, and body.
Next, I confess my biggest fear. What could be worse than that I miss hearing God, mishandle His word, and bring harm to another? Nothing; therefore, I am sometimes fearful to the point of passing over the tasks He has prepared for me. Yet, I stay surrendered to His will.
Finally, I agree to be a fool. This is the hardest step for me to take given my need to look smart and sound reasonable. My ways, my perspective, the world’s expectations – all may have to be thrown out in order to let God have His way with me. By this point, there is no way to smother His all-consuming Fire; the Holy Spirit will speak when I am willing to give Him my voice.
I wish I could say my method works every time, but I belong in the category of fallen man, redeemed, nonetheless. So forgive me when I err and praise God when I do His will. I am under a mighty compulsion to listen and speak to our great God, regardless.