Imagine What Our Community Would Be Like If...
Jesus changed the communities in which he lived.
What about us?
He told his disciples that whatever we ask in his name he will do. What would happen if our lives were so immersed in the worship of our Lord that we would live with the power of God in our lives? That is God’s expectation
– that his people on earth would live lives so powerful that the people who knew them would immediately give glory to God because of their lives.
Imagine what our community would be like if we truly lived as worshippers in the power of our God . . .
Those discouraged would go away encouraged.
Those who had sinned would go away forgiven.
Those in broken relationships would find hope for reconciliation.
Those who were sick would be prayed for and begin to find healing.
Those who came burdened would leave
with the weight taken off their shoulders.
Those who came to church to give would go away
also having received.
And unbelievers would go away saying, “God is there!”
Hearing the voice of the Spirit doesn’t happen in just one way. God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. He spoke to Naaman through a little girl. He spoke to prophets in dreams and visions. He does speak. But we have to know him well enough to recognize his voice.
In John chapter ten, Jesus says five times that his ‘sheep’ will recognize his voice (John 10:3,4,5,16,27). Part of what we are given as creatures of God is the ability to hear the Creator’s voice. Before we ever became believers, we already heard the prompting of his Spirit calling us to the Father’s side (John 6:44). As we mature we must be very careful that we keep on hearing God. We cannot depend on our past experiences or knowledge. The acts of worship and listening are active.
As our faith grows, we will learn to hear God more clearly, more often. Gayle sometimes jokes around and says that she wishes God would just send her an email in the morning with the plan for the day and she would just follow the instructions.
That sounds convenient. But I know what would happen. First of all, it’s likely that she would just think that it’s spam. Secondly, there are times when the task would just seem too hard and it would be pretty tempting not to open the email at all that day. Other times, the message might be so weird that it just wouldn’t make sense to consider it.
God is trustworthy and will not lead us down a wrong path. I believe that Jesus taught the disciples and us the importance of knowing the voice of the Holy Spirit. To attempt to live our lives without nurturing a growing desire and ability to hear and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit is to invite defeat.
There are those who would argue that to attempt to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit is only to invite the enemy to lead us astray. But that is not what the Bible teaches. In John chapter ten, Jesus specifically says that his sheep will follow him because they recognize his voice. In fact, he says that his flock will not follow one whose voice they do not recognize. Jesus expects that his sheep, his followers, will hear his voice!
It’s interesting that we sometimes have more faith that Satan can speak to us and lead us astray than we have faith that the Holy Spirit – whom Jesus sent – can speak to us and lead us in his ways. The Gospel of John records many of the reasons Jesus gave us for the necessity of the indwelling, speaking, prompting Holy Spirit:
He will lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)
He will remind us of what Jesus said. (John 14:26)
He will help us to know the mind and will of the Father
and do it just as Jesus did. (John 5:19-20; 8:28)
He will help to keep our worship real! (John 4:23)
He will raise our awareness of the needs of others and give us the power to meet those needs. Jesus said that we, also, would be able to do the things he did – and greater things as well. (John 14:12)
He will show others the kingdom of God by demonstrating
his power in us who believe – just like Jesus did. (John 14:12)
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