Progress on Purpose: Hearing From God Part 3

by Rick

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:

1.  Spiritually

2.  Financially

3.  Physically 

4.  Internally

5.  Externally

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)

3.  Prayer

I covered the first one already.  For the past couple of days, we have been looking at the second.  We will close out this point today.

So what does this mean for you today?  What does it look like to be led by the Holy Spirit and to hear God’s voice?  A few things.

1.  Walking with God requires listening and obeying His voice.  

a)  Abraham did not have a Bible to read or a Pastor to follow.  Everything of significance that happened in Abraham’s life came as a result of God’s leading.  He was led of God to do what he did.  He did not come with his own life’s story.  It was God who called him out of Ur.  It was God who said he was going to be a father of many nations.  It was God who promised to make his name great and to bless all the families of the earth through his lineage.  Like Abraham, God made plans for you before the world began.  The key to your success is the same thing that was the key to Abraham’s success: hearing from God and having the faith to DO whatever He tells you to do.

b)  The ultimate goal for the believer is to be led of the Holy Spirit in all things.  This is how Jesus lived, and this is how we are supposed to live.

c)  Paul said, “The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them.” (Romans 8:14 ERV).

d)  After contrasting the fruit of the Spirit (godliness) and the fruit of the flesh (sin), Paul said, “So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants.” (Galatians 5:16 ERV).  God delivered you from the power of sin the day you were Born-Again.  But you won’t live FREE from sin until you learn to be led by the Holy Spirit.

e)  When you read the Bible, you are reading what God SAID.  Knowing what God SAID in the past is good, but hearing what HE IS SAYING in the present is much better.  As you learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, your listening will prove critical to your learning.

2.  Revelation is the seed for faith.  

a)  Faith begins where the will of God is known.  If you don’t know what God planned or what He wants to do in any given situation, you are not equipped to release your faith for God to perform.  Because at that point, you don’t know what you are supposed to be asking for or agreeing with.

b)  Jesus said that He only said those things He heard the Father say.  He only did those things He saw the Father do (John 5:19 & 30).  This is the way we are supposed to live.

c)  Jesus made it clear that He could literally DO NOTHING without hearing from the Father first.  Jesus was not on this planet to do His bidding.  He was here to accomplish the will of the Father.  It is the same with us.  

d)  God sent us to this planet to accomplish what He planned for us before the world began.  To get it done, we will have to do it by faith.  We will have to stand on what God promised, even in the face of extreme opposition.  But that won’t happen if you don’t know what God promised and if you don’t know what He is leading you to do.  If you are not hearing from God, you don’t know what to ask for in prayer, what actions to take on a daily basis, or what to say when God sets up divine appointments for you.  Revelation is the authorization for your faith.  Without it, you may not be in faith at all.  You may simply be hoping and wishing for things to happen or pursuing selfish desires.  Remember, faith is not about what you want (what was birthed in your heart).  Faith is about what God planned (what was birthed in His heart from the foundations of the world).

3.  Hearing from God is NOT a one-time event.

(2 Corinthians 3:17,18 Easy to Read Version)

17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

18 And our faces are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

a)  The Apostle Paul talks about us beholding the glory of the Lord and then being continually changed into that very same image.  The way Paul explains it, the longer we walk with God, and the more we are changed into His image, the more glory is revealed.  The more glory we are exposed to, the more we are changed, and this process repeats itself for the rest of our lives.

b)  You cannot just hear from the Holy Spirit one time.  You must hear and then continue to hear.  Being led by the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event.  It is a lifelong journey.

c)  Abraham heard from God clearly.  God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22:2).  Abraham obeyed God.  Even though he and his wife believed God for 25 years for Isaac to be born, he was willing to do whatever God was leading him to do, even though this was a hard ask.  The next morning Abraham, his son, and two servants took off.  Abraham did not know where he was going, but he was being led.  On the third day of the journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  He knew in his heart it was the place.  He said to his servant, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”  Notice that Abraham said, “we.”  He did not know how it was going to happen, but he believed he and his son would go UP the mountain and he and his son would come DOWN the mountain.  He was doing this by faith.  So Abraham and Isaac got to the top of the mountain, Abraham prepared his son for the sacrifice, Isaac cooperated (that was faith too!), and the big moment came.  Abraham had his son on the altar.  He had a knife in his hand.  He had a Word from God.  He was obedient to the Word.  Verse 10 says, “Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.”  Just then, at that moment, Abraham heard from God again.  The angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!  Do not lay a hand a on the boy!”  We know the story.  Isaac was spared.  Abraham was tested and he passed the test.

My point in sharing this story juxtaposed against the passage in 2 Corinthians 3 is that we must hear from God and then remain continually open to hear what God says next.  If Abraham did not remain open to CONTINUE TO HEAR from God, he would have killed his son.  Fast forward to today.  We are not like Abraham.  We don’t need the Angel of the Lord to speak to us.  We have the Holy Spirit.  God is living on the inside of us.  We can hear, and continue to hear, on the inside, every day… and every moment of the day.  So enter this day ready to hear what God is saying.  And while you are launching out, in faith, ready to obey that Word, remain open to what He says NEXT!  Spirit-led living one-time event.  It’s a lifelong journey!

4.  Some questions to ask yourself about your commitment to hearing from God.

As I get ready for 2021 and I am making plans, am I seeking God concerning the plans He already has for me?

When I believe I heard from God, and I am moving out in faith, do I remain open and sensitive to hear from God concerning what I should do next?  Or even how to do what I believe I am being led to do?

Have I made it a habit to continually be sensitive to the Holy Spirit?  

Am I in the practice of keeping my heart attuned to what heaven is saying?

As I go throughout the day, am I cognizant of the many ways God can speak to me?  And am I looking for Him to do so?  Or am I just doing my own thing, living as a mere human?

Be honest with yourself.  You will never address what you are not willing to confront.

5.  Never put your life on autopilot.

a)  As New Testament, Born-Again, Spirit-filled believers, the goal is to be led by the Holy Spirit every day.  However, if we would be honest with ourselves, we do many things out of habit, or based on our past experiences, that we really don’t get God involved in.  Sometimes we even struggle with things for a while, only to have God say to us, “You have not even asked me about it.”  When those situations happen, we must be quick to repent, to get God involved, to seek His face, and to follow His guidance.  But it would be better if we simply got God involved every day and if we sought His leading and guiding in all things.  

b)  One of the bad habits many of us have is putting our lives on autopilot in certain areas.  If you are good at something and you are used to doing this “thing” over and over again, you may tune God out when He is trying to lead you to do it a new way.  You must continually be OPEN to God and to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes we don’t even realize we are closed. 

c)  Be open to the Holy Spirit.  Be willing to shift if He leads you to shift.  Be open to change if He wants you to change.  This is how you make intentional progress.  This is how you align your life with God.  This is how you experience heaven on earth.

d)  Life becomes easy when you boil it down to this: “Father, I will say whatever You tell me to say.  I will go wherever You lead me to go.  I will do whatever You tell me to do when I get there.  My life is not about me.  My life is All About You!!!!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I declare that I am open to Your voice and sensitive to Your leading every moment of every day.  I will not allow habits or routines to cause me to TUNE YOU OUT.  I want Your voice and Your leading to be stronger than my human impulses.  I want to get to the point where I am so sensitive to the impulses of the Holy Spirit that I am continually aware of what You are saying and how You are leading me.  Every day, I live with my heart open to receive, with my ears open to hear, and with my eyes open to see.  I will say whatever You tell me to say.  I will go wherever You lead me to go.  I will do whatever You tell me to do when I get there.  My life is not about me.  My life is All About You!!!!  This is how I will experience NEW LEVELS in 2021.  This is why I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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