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. We cannot put our lives on autopilot. It’s great that I believe 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:
Once again, as I discuss these five areas, please take this as a time of introspection.
— Carefully and prayerfully consider your life (where you are and where you are not).
— Take self-inventory (what is working and what is not).
— Be honest with yourself. You will never address what you are afraid to confront.
I started to address area #1 yesterday, with an emphasis on the importance of the Word of God. We will flow in that same vein today and talk about the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Hearing from God, by His Spirit, is critical to living a successful life as a believer.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Renewing your commitment to God’s Word is important.
— Many believers can recall a time when they were committed to reading God’s Word on a daily basis. But for whatever reason, that commitment has wained over the years. This is a good time of the year to renew that commitment.
— When I first gave my life to Christ (1995), I devoured the Word. I wanted to know how God thinks. I wanted to understand how He would approach ‘this or that.’ In short, I wanted to learn His ways. The Word of God is excellent for that. The Word of God contains the character, attributes, and nature of God Himself. The more Word you get down in your heart, the better you position yourself to walk with God in ways that are pleasing in His sight because you will know what He has said about any given situation.
— The Father expects us to read His Word daily, to meditate it day and night (Josh 1:8, Psalm 1), and to stand on His Word.
— When you read what God said, and you believe it in your heart, you are then able to exercise faith to experience it.
— Having a steady diet of the Word of God is key to the life of faith. Comes by hearing and hearing (over and over again), the Word of God (Romans 1:17).
— I am glad you read Today’s Word. This is a good way to receive a steady diet. But please, make time to spend time in God’s Word yourself as well. This is a good time of year to renew your commitment to the Word of God.
2. Renewing your commitment to hearing from God is critically important.
This is a major point. So I will not finish this point today. One of the questions I get all the time is: “Rick, how do I hear from God? How do I know the thoughts I am getting are from God?” I will discuss this over the next few days. As I introduce you to the discussion, we will use something that happened in Acts 16 as an example.
Paul and Silas were on a missionary journey and they were being led by the Holy Spirit as they went. At one point they were headed to Asia, but the Bible says, “The Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.” So the team traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia. When they were done there, Paul and Silas came to the borders of Mysia and they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but once again, the Bible says, “The Holy Spirit did not allow them to go there.” So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
The night the team arrived in Troas, Paul had a vision. Paul saw a man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” This was more than the dream. This was a word from God that came to Paul in a dream. The next morning Paul wasted no time. He and Silas concluded that God was calling them to preach in Macedonia, so they took off in that direction. The two men boarded a ship at Troas and sailed to the island of Samothrace. It was a day’s journey. The next day the team landed at Neapolis. From there Paul and Silas traveled to Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. They stayed there several days, as they were seeking to be led of God concerning what to do next.
Here are some things we can glean from this passage:
a) Paul and Silas were being led by God.
— While it might seem like Paul and Silas did not have a plan, they actually did. Their plan was to align with God’s plan.
— They knew God had made a plan for their trip before the foundations of the world.
— They were doing the best they could to make a human alignment with a divine assignment.
— As believers today, this is exactly how we are supposed to live. While we are planning out 2021, we must remember that God already made plans. So our goal should be to hear His voice and discern His leading.
b) God expects you to be led on your life’s journey.
— The devil wants to drive you, but God wants to lead you. You have a choice. You can either allow the curveballs of life the devil throws your way to drive you off God’s course, or you can allow the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct you, despite the challenges you face along the way.
— Being led by God does not mean you will not face challenges from the devil or that you won’t feel the pressure to get off course by pursuing your own lusts and human desires. What it means is that God cared enough about you to make plans for you before the foundations of the world and He sent His Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct you towards fulfilling those plans.
— I don’t know what process you use to make decisions, but in 2021, if that process does not include hearing from God, then to be blunt, your process is broken.
— We were not designed to live life without God. He wants to lead you in all things.
c) You have the Grace to hear from God.
— Just like God Graces you to do everything else, He has given you the Grace to be able to hear from Him. Jesus was led of God daily. He only did those things He saw the Father do and said those things He heard the Father say (see John 5:19,20; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49,50; 14:10).
— In John 14:10 Jesus said, “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.” Two verses later He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” And in John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
— Jesus was led of the Father daily, by the Holy Spirit, and He taught that we were supposed to do the same. We saw how Paul and Silas were being led by the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit told them where to go and where NOT to go. That same Holy Spirit — who was in Jesus and in Paul and Silas — is IN YOU! You have the ability (you have been Graced) to hear from heaven. Have you been tapping into this power? Without hearing from the Father you will have a hard time fulfilling His Kingdom plans and purposes for your life.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for reminding me that I can and should hear from You daily. Jesus was filled with Your Spirit and He heard from You every day. He made it clear that He was not here on His own mission. He was committed to only doing what You led Him to do and to only saying what You led Him to say. Jesus also said that I would do what He did. Well, I can’t do what He did if I don’t hear from You. Like Jesus, I am filled with Your Spirit. And like Jesus, I am committed to fulfilling Your will in the earth. So Father, like Jesus, I need to hear from You. The Holy Spirit led Jesus, He led Paul and Silas, and He will also lead me. I am Your sheep, I hear Your voice, and the voice of a stranger I will not follow. I make time to decouple and detach myself from this world long enough to slow down and hear from You. Hearing from You is vital to my success and by faith, I declare that I hear from You daily. You lead me in the way I should go. You give me the words to say. You open doors for me that no man can close and You then bless me to say whatever I need to say once I get in the door. You expect me to make a mark in this world and You have equipped me with Your Spirit, and blessed me by Your Grace, in order to make a mark that can never be erased. So as I enter this day, I declare that every meeting, conversation, and activity I engage in today is blessed. You lead me concerning my schedule and also concerning how to do what I need to do. Greater is coming for me because I am going to LEVEL UP my commitment to hearing from You! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’s name, AMEN!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!