Listen, Then Act

LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Philippians 3:4 – 6 If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;  6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

Recently I was talking to a friend about a really tough experience he had been through. In the course of the conversation, he admitted that as the events started to unravel he heard a voice in the deep recesses of his heart that told him the outcome would not be good and to prepare himself for the worst. But he chose not to listen to that voice and proceeded as if all would be well. Now, in retrospect, he knows he should have listened.

That got me thinking about my own experiences, and wondering how many times I have heard the voice of the Holy Spirit and ignored it because of my own desires or my lack of faith. I discovered, at least in my heart, a serious flaw in my faith. The essence of the flaw can be found in this nagging question: Why do I believe that God needs to be validated by human experience? Or in other words –Why do I believe it was God speaking only after my experience proves it?

When I read the stories of the New Testament apostles I am amazed at their level of faith to take action based on the voice of the Holy Spirit within them. Peter preaches to the Gentiles after the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to him in a dream about unclean animals. Paul refuses to go to one part of Asia because the Holy Spirit told him not to, then He travels to Macedonia at the word of the Holy Spirit in a vision. On a boat trip that is doomed to destruction and death, Paul assumes leadership because he has heard the voice of God giving him specific instructions on how to avoid catastrophe.

In all these situations, no test was performed to prove the validity of the voice: no futuristic faith was promised based on experiential outcomes. The activity of the flesh was not the basis for belief, but instead pure faith became the basis for the activity.

I am deeply convicted by the number of times I have heard the voice of God giving direction and I have not listened. I have chosen to stick to my schedule, keep my appointments, and stay in the comfort zone of my personal experience. But what I have really done is stated to God that my faith in myself is greater than my faith in Him.

Please listen to Him speak right now. Our faith has been corrupted. We have been deceived into believing that we are being wise because we analyze everything according to the criteria of our own experience. We have become nothing more than rational followers of God who serve Him only when it makes logical sense. We find a degree of encouragement and satisfaction in the stories we hear of people whose outcomes proved the voice was real, but we call people fools who immediately act in faith when they claim to have heard the Holy Spirit’s voice. We even have a name for such faith – we call it blind. Even our terminology denotes it as negative and unacceptable.

We justify our position with questions that seem valid: But how do I know it’s really the voice of God? Or What if it doesn’t turn out right? Or we loosely interpret verses from the Bible that call us to wisdom and careful planning. All these justifications avoid the real issue – Do we believe that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that His words to us are the marching orders of God, and that we cannot fail if we obey them?

My friends, we must become humble and admit that we have not walked by faith but we are walking by sight. We have heard the voice of God in our hearts but we have chosen to qualify it by our own knowledge and experiences. It is time to start acting on God’s Word without having to prove it. The need to prove His Word is nothing more than disbelief and distrust of who He is. We must repent of this, and commit ourselves to obedience even when it doesn’t make sense to us. It always makes sense to God, and we can trust His unfailing love.

Listen – He is speaking! Now act!

Pastor John

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