I look for signs and omens. You probably do too, but you might not know it, or you might not want to admit it. In the church we call it ” confirmation from the Spirit” or “a word from the Lord”. Wait a minute, wait a minute, missy! I am TRYING to follow God’s will here and I’m TRYING to hear from Him and I’m TRYING to do my best to hear what he might have to say to me.
I know. And I want you to stop. We cannot look for signs and omens. Danger is afoot when we do.
I have been a follower of Jesus for a very long time. I have been to church pert near out of the womb, youth-grouped myself into oblivion, and went to Bible college where I met and married a pastor. You’d think that after all these years of Bible knowledge (and I have it in spades) that “hearing” the voice of God, or knowing His will would be second nature. You’d think, that because I know a lot about the Bible and what’s in it that this life would be an easy peasy walk in the Garden of Life from here on out.
Not the case.
So we search and wonder and look for God to confirm things on commercials and billboards on the highway. We close our eyes, sigh a prayer, and flop open the Bible to see if maybe, just maybe, He spoke to us. Then we are disappointed and kind of mad when we land on the land allotments to the twelve tribes. We might hear someone say something that we have been “praying about” and be like, “Yep. That was for me. I hear ya God” as if He is some sort of side-lined crowd member trying to yell over the noise.
We are desperate to hear the voice of the Spirit and we often wonder, “Is that my voice or His? How can I tell?” We want to know that we know that we have the Spirit of God speaking to us, teaching us and living in us because we have all these evidences.
But, that’s not faith.
Having the assurance that what Jesus said about the Spirit living in us begins with taking Him at His word regardless of how we feel or what we think we hear or don’t hear. Jesus didn’t say that the Holy Spirit would come to us and we would know because we felt pretty awesome on the inside. He said that Holy Spirit would dwell in us and that His dwelling comes by faith, not feeling.
God always dwells in the deepest place He drops in on. The inner-inner room of the old Temple (called the Holy of Holies) was His first place of mystery. Sacred. Shrouded in incense. Heavy with holiness. The exact place His glory would fall. Then, by His Spirit, He dwelt among us in the mystery of the God/man Jesus. And now, the greatest mystery of all, His Spirit now lives in us. Sacred. Kept in heaven. Heavy with holiness. We should not think that He will act the way we do, or operate the way we want Him to, or talk to us like we think would be best. He is the Unique Mystery is doing His work, His way, and all we have to do it believe it.
Believe it. Faith in the hope of what is Unseen is the very thing that will unlock what you think you need from the Spirit (because what you think you need might not at all be what you need. Let go of what you think you need.) We must believe that because Jesus said He will teach us everything, and that He is the power of God, and that He knows the mysteries of God’s mind and we have that mind, that it is TRUE! And with that knowledge of that holiness, we are free to release ourselves from trying to figure Him out, or trying to make our spiritual lives some sort of well balanced mess.
We must just believe in His life in us. He will take it from there as we go in faith to His Word, as we go in prayer to His feet, as we walk and talk with our friends. He is there.
Andrew Murray says this:
When contemplating the promise of the Spirit, Christians want some idea as to how His leading is known in their thoughts; how His quickening affects their feelings; how His sanctifying can be recognized in their will and conduct. They need to be reminded that deeper than mind, feeling, and will, deeper that the soul, where these have their seat, in the depths of the spirit that came from God, there the Holy Spirit comes to dwell.*
We are free to let God do the work, all the work of making us holy, of making us like Christ. We bow in humble willingness to be at our weakest so He can be our strength. We move to self-denial, and we walk away from using our minds and flexing our muscles of knowledge to feel out Christ and His life in us. He gave us the life, we can no more make it do what we want than we can make the sun stop setting. (I am not saying we don’t use our minds. I’m saying we stop relying on our minds to assure us of His presence. He said He dwells in us, we must believe it in faith.)
We are literally at His mercy. Let us stay there. Begin now with a simple acknowledgment of His presence in you. Don’t look to “feel” anything or “experience” anything or receive anything outside of the sweet belief that He has condescended into your deep spirit, and has come to bring His light all the time.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Believe it and you will find that He is your soul’s occupant, your mind’s fixation and your heart’s bliss.
*Andrew Murray, The Indwelling Spirit