A Word by James W. Goll
Around the globe I have taken an unofficial survey. I often ask the attendees, “What does the Holy Spirit do? What makes up the ministry of the Holy Spirit?”
I always get great answers such as the Holy Spirit is the gift giver, sanctifier, bears fruit, brings conviction, speaks to us, intercedes through the believer, magnifies Jesus, releases dreams and visions and so much more.
But one answer I have never heard from anyone anywhere.
The Holy Spirit Listens!
One of the ongoing activities of the Holy Spirit is listening and then communicating.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us what He hears: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13).
One of the most overlooked ministries of the Holy Spirit is that of listening—He listens before He speaks.
We need to take some lessons from the nature and character of the Holy Spirit! Before He speaks, He listens.
We would all benefit from learning more of this lesson in the School of the Holy Spirit!
After He Listens, He Speaks!
Yet, the question persists among us. Does God really speak today? Will He speak personally to me? If I listen, will He speak in such a manner that even I can understand?
Thank God, the answer is yes! And, believe it or not, God Himself wants us to hear what He is saying—more than we do!
Each of us was created with a deep inner longing to hear our Master’s voice.
He didn’t make us to be mechanical robots that just march around, doing preordained things. Our Father God created us to have fellowship with Him.
It is our birthright to have an active, living relationship with our God.
If our yearning for an intimate relationship with the lover of our souls is to be fulfilled, hearing His voice is a must. We cannot grow in our relationship with God unless we draw near to Him, trusting that He wants to speak to us personally.
From my perspective, the greatest need in the Church today is for believers to clearly hear the voice of God for themselves.
For us to reach our potential for an intimate relationship with God, we must be able to communicate with Him.
Communication with God goes two ways: (1) talking to Him and (2) listening to Him when He talks to us. To have good communication, we must learn how and when to speak up and how to push the pause button in order to listen.
Most of us seem to do okay on the first one. But the second one can sometimes be a challenge.
We must take the time to learn the lost art of listening to Him expectantly.
Fellowship is not a one-way road. It takes at least two, with both parties—in one another’s presence—sharing attentively in some kind of communion.
Our relationship with our heavenly Papa was never meant to be a long-distance telephone conversation.
“Available” is God’s middle name. He is just aching to spend time alone with each of us. He yearns to hear from us. He wants us to know how attentive He is.
What Are You Hearing?
Yes, we acknowledge that God still speaks today! But are you listening as He listens? What are you hearing? Is your faith growing as a result of your interpersonal communion with God?
While we agree that the canon of Scripture is closed, we also believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (see Hebrews 13:8). What He did before, He continues to do.
God has spoken, God speaks and God promises to continue to speak to us.
Let’s take a quick look at this Old Testament verse quoted by Jesus in the New Testament:
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 8:3
The first half of this verse is essential to grasp in order to receive the promise stated in the second half.
Look at these progressive steps: first comes humility; second comes hunger; third comes being fed fresh manna; and last, you are made to understand.
Spiritual hunger is what it is all about. Are you hungry for God and His ever-proceeding word?
It is the hungry who are fed things they formerly knew nothing about. There are always new things to learn from God. There are always new things in God’s heart He wants to share with His people.
Satan himself confronted Jesus, and Jesus overcame the devil by declaring the written Word of God. Matthew 4:4 states, “But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”’”
You see, man lives by the ever-proceeding word of the Lord. God has spoken. God speaks and God will continue to speak in the future. This requires a listening relationship on man’s part—one like the Holy Spirit has with the Father and the Son.
As For Me and My House
As for me, I want to hear His voice and intimately know Him, not just on a casual basis, but also on a daily, vibrant one.
Join me and thousands of others who are learning to hear the Master’s beckoning voice by leaning our ears toward Him. Come with me and let’s go on a journey together of beginning to hear (and love hearing) God’s voice.
The Holy Spirit always listens before He speaks. God is still listening and speaking today! Are you listening before you speak?
James W. Goll
(This article uses excerpts from the book Hearing God’s Voice Today—Chapter 1: “As It Was in the Beginning.”)
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