Today we continue our new series, “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” The point I am making, as we kick off the new year, is that we must be intentional about making progress in 2021. I am calling this “Progress on purpose.” God is saying, “New Levels” are available for us. But if we don’t pursue divine progress ON PURPOSE, we can surely miss out on what God is declaring for this season.
With that in mind, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
I told you that for area #1, we would take about recommitting ourselves spiritually in three areas:
1. The Word of God
2. The Holy Spirit (hearing from God)
I covered the first one already. Yesterday I started to teach on hearing from God. Today we will flow in that same vein.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God can speak to you in a myriad of ways.
— We looked at Paul, as an example, yesterday. God spoke to Paul audibly, through an inner witness, through visions, through His Word, and through other people. God still speaks today, but there is no “canned” way He does it.
— God can speak to you with an audible voice (even though I have never heard it) or through a still small voice in your heart. He can speak to You while you are reading His Word or while you are running on the treadmill. He can speak to you while your Pastor is preaching or through the person sitting next to you in the pews. He can use a prophet to you pick you out of a crowd and give you a Word, or He can use your child to give you a Word in the car on your way home. He can give you a dream while you are sleeping or an open vision while you are wide awake.
— The point is that if you are listening, God is speaking, and He wants to lead you. If you are looking for Him to lead you, you will find that He is.
2. You have to make sense of your thoughts.
Our minds are constantly flooded with thoughts from either (1) ourselves, (2) the adversary (satan), or (3) God. We must learn to discern which thoughts are which so we can know which ones to receive and which ones to reject. This is critical because thoughts lead to actions. Every action, good or bad, starts with a thought. One quick way of knowing a thought did NOT come from God is when the thought is contrary to God’s Word. The Spirit of God will never lead you, contrary to the Word of God.
Beyond checking your thoughts against the Word, you must also learn to discern the voice of God. This requires spending time with the Holy Spirit.
— In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul explains that you cannot know the thoughts of a man unless someway, somehow, the man was able to put his spirit inside of you. That is not possible. But if it were, you would be walking around with your thoughts and also the thoughts that came from the man who put his spirit inside of you. While this is clearly NOT possible with man, it is certainly possible with God. God put His Spirit down inside of you. This means that you now have access to His mind, His thoughts, His will, His ways.
— You are literally walking around with God Himself IN you. And 1 Corinthians 2 says that God gave you His Spirit so you can know what He planned for you.
— Wouldn’t it be a shame if you made it to heaven only to realize that you had God’s Spirit inside of you for 10, 20, 30, 50 years, and you never talked to Him?
— In this season, please renew your commitment to spending time with the Holy Spirit. As you learn His voice, you will quickly discern which thought to receive and which ones to reject.
3. The Holy Spirit is an inner witness.
— While I know people who have heard an audible voice from God, and others who have had visitations from angels or even Jesus Himself, I have never had such encounters (yet). When God leads me by His Spirit, most of the time, it is through an “inner witness.”
— God’s inner witness is like an inner-knowing. It is basically a thought I know did not come from me. This thought is an inner leading that guides me in the way I should go. I believe this is what Paul and Silas heard (Acts 16). This is not an external or audible voice, but rather an inner witness. It’s like the still small voice God spoke to Elijah about (1 King 19).
— As you prepare for 2021, please make time to spend quiet time with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. You will receive that inner witness. You will hear that still small voice.
4. The Holy Spirit will lead you in whatever you have the Grace to do.
— Paul and Silas were out on a missionary journey, so the Holy Spirit led them concerning where to go and what to say when they got there. But don’t think the Holy Spirit’s involvement is limited to church-related activity. In addition to being called to ministry, I am also a technology professional. I have heard from God concerning a meeting related to communications, just like I have heard from God concerning what to preach.
— Whatever God expects you to do, He equips you to do. So yes, the Holy Spirit is just as apt to lead you concerning what to say in a business deal as He is when you are witnessing to someone about Jesus. Why? Because God is concerned about every aspect of your life.
— God wants to lead you to maximize the purpose, and potential He put down inside of you. And since only a small portion of the population is called to preach, that means the Holy Spirit is just as capable and willing to lead a nurse, mechanic, cab driver, politician, or waitress, as He is to lead a Pastor or minister. So whatever you are facing this morning, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you concerning it. He can give you divine insight (by revelation) that will amaze those who are considered experts in your field (by education).
5. You won’t hear someone you don’t know personally.
— Just like you have to develop a relationship with someone in order to be able to recognize their natural voice, you will need to develop a relationship with God in order to hear and recognize the inner witness (voice) of the Holy Spirit. If you never spend time with Him, you never turn off the TV and radio, you never put away your mobile device, you never slow down long enough to tune out the world so you can tune Him in, it will take you a very long time before you get to the point where you discern His voice.
— I recently had a conversation with a couple of young believers who were frustrated with the notion that a Christian can actually hear from God. They told me they had never heard God, but they also acknowledged the fact that they have only ever given God a chance to speak to them a few times, and then only for a few minutes. Believers today can spend 2 hours watching a movie, 3 hours watching a game or 4 hours at a BBQ, but they can’t spend more than 5 minutes in quiet time with God. The bottom line is: if you don’t spend time with God, you won’t get to know Him, and You won’t be able to hear Him when He is talking to you. Make spending time with God a priority in 2021.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for reminding me that I can and should hear from You daily. You took the time to make plans for me before the foundations of the world. You already have plans for 2021. So while I am making plans, I slow down long enough to ask You about the plans You already made for me.
Success for me is not about houses, cars, money, positions or titles. Success for me is simple. It is about completing Your assignment for my life. That is the only thing I will be judged by, so that is my singular focus. I don’t waste time comparing myself to other people because they have their own divine assignments, and they will be judged accordingly. I only have the grace to run my race, and I am determined to do so.
While I pursue my purpose, I know I must be led of You. I used to allow the devil to drive me from day to day. But I am no longer driven by him. I am led of You. I allow Your Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct me in the way I should go. You speak to me and listen. I learn to discern Your voice, and I do exactly what You say.
You speak to me through an inner witness, an internal knowing, while I am going throughout my daily routine, and I am sensitive to Your leading. You give me words to say when I need to speak, and You tell me to keep my mouth shut when I don’t. You lead me while I am awake, and You speak to me while I am sleeping, in both dreams and visions. I am Your child, I hear Your voice, and I am led of Your Spirit. I am ready for NEW LEVELS in 2021! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!