Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” At the beginning of the year, I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” I also told you that if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. So, to lay a strong foundation for the year, for the past four months, I taught you about “Leveling Up” in five areas:
I am bringing the series to an end. To do so, we will briefly recap some of the lessons we learned in each area. Today we will go back and glean some nuggets about Leveling Up spiritually.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. One of the ways to Level Up Spiritually is to renew your commitment to God’s Word.
— 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. Reading God’s Word is good, but you must also Level UP your commitment to hearing God’s voice.
— 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.
3. God can speak to you in a myriad of ways.
— 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 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 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.
4. 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 somehow, the man could 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.
5. 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, it is mainly 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 seek to make the most of 2021 and beyond, 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.
6. 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. Level Up your commitment to spending time with God in 2021.
7. Never put your life on autopilot.
— 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.
— 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 are used to doing this “thing” repeatedly, 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.
— 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.
*** 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 Level Up my commitment to spiritual growth and development. I meditate and mediate on your Word day and night. I am open to Your voice and sensitive to Your leading every moment of every day. I filter through my thoughts. I discern which ones to receive and which ones to reject. I live my life in pursuit of purpose, on purpose, completely intentional. I will not allow habits or routines to cause me to TUNE YOU OUT. Your leading is stronger than my human impulses. 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!!!! I experience NEW LEVELS in 2021 and beyond. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!