Out of the Abundance of the Heart: Listen Carefully

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

I was talking to a pastor friend about the chaos and clamor in the world today. We agreed; it seems that people’s lives are in more of a mess than in previous decades. She made this statement, “I want to teach people to hear the voice of God. I think that’s the key to victory in this season.” I agree wholeheartedly. That is not to detract from the importance of learning the Word of God. The Word is key to knowing the voice of God. It is spirit and life, and it is the only sure way to test the leading of the Lord. He never violates His Word. But my friend and I both observed that there are a lot of folks who have been under the teaching of the Word for years, can quote all the wonderful promises, and can even pronounce those tongue-tangling Hebrew names in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, they are not living in the blessings they so adamantly profess. Its just not real to them.

I am convinced that part of the problem is we have taught doctrine and promises without emphasizing the absolute necessity of following the Spirit of God as we exercise our faith. For example, many years ago I was having back pain. I had been healed of back problems in my early walk with the Lord, so I proceeded to follow the formula that had worked then. I rebuked the pain and began to confess that I was healed by the stripes of Jesus. After a few weeks, I’m still having pain. I got my wife to agree with me. No help. Finally, as I was fixing lunch one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Not an audible voice, but a very strong inward statement: “Quit drinking iced tea.” That was quite an order for an old Okie boy who was weaned on iced tea, but I knew it was the voice of God, so I did it. Within two days all pain went away. The problem was my kidneys, not my back, and I was causing it myself. God knew, I didn’t. He told me. I adjusted. Case closed.

Somebody Said: ““while theology should inform a Christian’s relationship with God, it should never take its place.” Henry T. Blackaby

Scripture Reading: “The LORD will always guide you and provide good things to eat when you are in the desert. He will make you healthy. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water or like a stream that never runs dry.” (Isaiah 58:11 CEV)

Faith springs from the Word of God, but the actions we must take to walk out that faith may vary from one situation to the next. The difference between victory and empty ritual is often hearing the voice of God. Take time to be in His presence, to worship Him and pray in the Spirit. Take time to shut up and listen. A vital life of faith is more like a conversation than a lecture. Listen, question, clarify, obey. It paus to hear His voice and to know it when we hear it.

Pastor Virgil Stokes
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745

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