Teach a Man to Fish
Today I want to talk about listening to the Holy Spirit, instead of relying on someone else to tell you what He said you should do. We need to get to a place in our walk where we can discern what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us, and then wait for His confirmation to come through others, not vice versa.
Jesus said these things:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 ESV).
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26 ESV).
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13 ESV).
Each time, the Spirit is teaching and speaking. Jesus said that He will declare to you the things that are to come, He will bring things to our remembrance. Knowing the Holy Spirit is interactive: we pray, He speaks and gives direction. All the great people of the Bible had to hear the Spirit for themselves because there were always others who would mislead them, whether intentionally or not.
For example, when the Lord began speaking to young Samuel, the high priest Eli did not hear it, unless Samuel told him. When the Lord began speaking to young David, King Saul did not hear it. This means that the high priest Eli could not tell Samuel what the Lord said, nor could Saul tell David, because they didn’t know. It was imperative that Samuel and David learned to discern what the Holy Spirit was saying, because those over them could not. In Acts 4:18 the religious leaders at the temple tried to forbid Peter and John to preach about Jesus anymore, but they knew better because they listened to the Holy Spirit.
There is great spiritual danger when a sheep cannot recognize the Shepherd’s voice. That makes it very easy to be misled, to be deceived, to be blown about by every wind of doctrine. There is an interesting story in 1Kings chapter 13. The Lord sent a young prophet from Judah to Bethel to prophesy there. The king Jeroboam was standing beside the altar, and when he heard the negative word that the prophet was speaking, he pointed at him and said ‘Seize Him!’ As the king did this, his arm shriveled up, and the altar collapsed. The prophet then prayed for the king and his arm was restored. It was a sign from God that this was a true prophet, and signs and wonders followed him.
The Lord had warned the young prophet to not to eat or drink anything at Bethel, so he started back home, but an old prophet that lived there found him on the road and convinced him to come to his house and eat. We pick this up in 1Kings 13:18:
And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” But he lied to him. (1 Kings 13:18 ESV).
The old prophet lied to him and said that the Lord told him to bring him back to his house. The young man believed him and went to his house. Unfortunately when the young prophet left, he was killed on the road and his story ended.
It is imperative that you learn to hear the Lord yourself, for others will often unintentionally mislead you. Times and seasons change and we need to be able to discern the will of the Spirit for us today.
Refreshing Hope is a prime example. I spent twenty years working on computer networks, web servers, building websites, playing music, and early on attended Bible college. Now the Lord has pulled all of that together and I use those skills every day in this ministry. It was the Holy Spirit’s plan all along, but that was our calling, so others could never understand why we do the things we do. A common phrase that we heard here was: “I don’t have time to sit at a computer. Too busy working in my garden.” No one in my church would have guessed what the Lord had in store for me later because they saw computers as evil, and not a tool that could be used for ministry.
Here is how to get started hearing Him yourself. When we pray, the Holy Spirit may speak to us in a thought, an impression, a vision, a dream, the words of song, or an unlimited number of other ways. He communicates with each of us differently, but there is usually a quickening of our spirit, a sudden inspiration, and something becomes much clearer than before.You just know that you know. If it is an important decision, God will usually confirm His word through other means, often from two or three different sources. As you practice listening, you will grow better at discerning His voice.
An example from my life: When He began to push me into my own computer business, He would always put me in things that were over my head, which was not very difficult at the time. Once an accountant’s office called that had a corrupted networked database full of their customers tax returns. Computers used the command line then, and this was before we had the Internet and Google. I didn’t want to go, but I prayed and felt like I heard “Go and I’ll go with you.” I reluctantly agreed to go and prayed in the Spirit all the way there, which was about a 40 minute drive.
I walked into the office and they showed me the server computer. I sat down, typed a few commands to get a feel of the system, and suddenly I knew exactly what to do. It all just seemed so natural. I successfully repaired database, brought it back online, and was gone in a matter of minutes. They thought I was a computer guru, but it was nothing but the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 4:13, when the Pharisees saw the boldness of Peter and John, they were astonished. They knew that both of the apostles were uneducated, common fisherman, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. It was the power of the Holy Spirit. This is still happening today and we need to get our inspiration directly from the source. We need to learn to come boldly to the throne of grace, to pray and to listen for His inspiration more than ever before.
You can pray this with me if you like:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please speak to me in a way that I understand. Teach me to recognize Your voice and when you are speaking. Teach me to hear Your Holy Spirit myself and protect me from deception. Please guide me into all that You have in store, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org