I am going to assume that I am not the only one who has made a decision, based on believing God was leading me in a certain direction, only to realise I had got things terribly wrong.
Many of us face seasons in our lives when we are at a crossroads, and hearing the voice of God during these times is vital. One would assume that after 20 years of serving God we wouldn’t have a problem in this area. Recently, however, I have been challenged on my ability to hear God clearly.
Could it be that, after serving God for many years, we start to take Him for granted? Or perhaps it could be that we don’t really know God – we only know of Him. What a hard pill to swallow after 20 years!
I believe that it is possible to be a Christian and not really know God. The disciple Philip, after following Jesus for many years, said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father,” and Jesus replied: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me?”
Paul made two requests at the end of his life: first, he desired to know Christ, and second, he wanted to know the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). I love how the Bible helps us to understand the true meaning of the word ‘know’: “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch” (Genesis 4:17).
This is talking about intimacy. It is Easter, so it is right that we talk about resurrection power. The power that raised Christ from the dead is available to all of us, not just a chosen few and, in order to discern His voice, we need to know God.
Don’t we all want to move away from fellowshipping with Him on a rota system? One week on, one week off… Come on, it isn’t just me! We have seasons of fervency, when we hunger after Him, but situations bring us to our knees quickly! As mature believers, we get sophisticated with our quiet times, and exchange prayer for a YouTube teaching of our favourite preacher, or listening back to the Sunday service, and we pat ourselves on the back. We attend Bible study every week, and naturally assume we are on the fast track to Heaven. Gold stars all round.
This isn’t intimacy, however; it is routine. We will not be able to hear the voice of God clearly regarding our lives, based on other people’s revelation of who He is. Your pastor spent time with Him to deliver that sermon, so did your favourite preacher.
Paul spent time with God. Ephesians 3:14-21 is an awesome template for walking in the power of His resurrection and, as a result, being able to discern His leading. It says:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power, through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Paul kneeled before the Father – he didn’t listen to a teaching video. He spent time with God and was strengthened in his inner man. To experience the resurrection power of God in our lives, we must do the same thing.
Why does the devil fight with us over our quiet times with God? If we did a straw poll in our Sunday services, there would only be a fraction of the church who hit the ground on their knees and spend quality time daily. The devil hates this, so he makes us busy and fills our lives with distractions – such as social media.
He knows the threat we will be to the kingdom of darkness, if we overcome the flesh and drag ourselves out of bed in the early hours.
As we begin exchanging our strength for God’s strength, and our ability for His divine enablement, we will see His resurrection power begin to flow through us.
I love Easter. It is a great time to remember the price Jesus paid for us, and the power available to us to live with purpose and passion.
As we dive into our chocolate eggs and bunnies, and walk with that spring in our step that the change in weather brings, let’s recommit ourselves to knowing God and to becoming intimate with Him, so we don’t waste time fishing in unprofitable waters and are able to hear His voice clearly. After all, His Word encourages us: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). God bless you.