Friday, September 12, 2014

The Voice

Do you remember your first encounter with the Holy Spirit? I do.  I was probably around 14 years old. The Jesus Movement that started on the west coast of California was sweeping across the nation. We even felt the effects in the small town in South Carolina where I grew up. Our youth pastor began talking to us about the Holy Spirit, and I remember feeling intrigued and stirred. He led our small group of youth to begin praying together, letting the Holy Spirit lead us 'conversationally'.

I remember one particular Sunday evening we had gathered in a small room after the Sunday evening service to pray together again. As we began to pray, something unusual happened. The Holy Spirit's presence moved into the room in a tangible way and none of us wanted to leave or quit praying. This was not a normal experience for us! I remember laughing and crying and feeling so alive for the first time. We didn't want to do anything to stop what the Holy Spirit was doing in our midst.

Then, the hour became late and parents were worried, calling the church to find out where their kids were. So, the meeting ended. After that, all of us were eager to have another prayer meeting......anything to experience again what we had felt in the room that night.

But, not everyone was excited about this new Holy Spirit activity, and so there were not too many more meetings like that.  But, I could not forget what I had experienced. My heart was set on a journey to search for the more of God that had broken into my world.

For years, I thought of the Holy Spirit as an 'it'. I had little to no concept of Him being a person or being able to have a real relationship with Him. I loved Jesus and the Father as much as I knew how, but the Holy Spirit seemed somehow more difficult to connect with, and not as necessary for me to know or understand.

But, Jesus' words to His disciples indicate the opposite is true. He tells them, "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you." Jesus makes it clear that having the Holy Spirit with them is even better than Jesus Himself being with them.

Jesus was at that point fully God, but had taken on the limitations of being fully man as well. He was not yet omnipresent. He knew that His leaving by way of the cross would open the way for the Counselor to move into the heart of every one who named the name of Jesus. He could be with everyone all the time.

Now, that is good news!  But, it gets even better.  Check out the Comforter's job description we find just a few verses later in John 16:

  • He will guide us into all truth (vs. 13)
  • He will only speak what He hears, and tell us what is yet to come (vs. 13)
  • He will bring glory to Jesus by taking from what is His and making it known to us (vs. 14)
  • Since all that belongs to the Father also belongs to Jesus, the Holy Spirit will make that known to us as well (vs. 15)
This not only boggles my mind, but makes it even more evident that we have been given an amazing gift in the Holy Spirit, who resides in us as Believers. 

There is a popular TV show on NBC called "The Voice." I mention this only because it is a name that I have come to associate with the Holy Spirit. There can be many other voices that speak to us; our voice, the voice of others, the voice of the world, and the voice of the enemy. But, there is only one voice that really matters....His voice. The Voice. It took me a long time to realize that The Voice is always speaking to me.(and you) He has so much to say! Remember, He has access to all the information, knowledge, wisdom and spiritual riches that belong to Father and Jesus, and His job is to make that known to us. 

I think much of our journey here on earth is about learning to recognize and hear The Voice, and then walking in the truth and realities that He shares with us.  Sometimes He shares amazing revelation with us, and other times He is very down-to-earth and practical. I can't tell you how many times He has reminded me to do something I've forgotten,  prompted me to take care of something that needed to be done, or helped me find something I lost. When I pray, He is constantly responding if I will take the time to listen for Him. Sometimes He speaks quite loudly, but mostly He speaks to me in a still small voice.

It is His voice that shares words of wisdom with us when we face difficult situations, and His voice reveals to us words of knowledge and prophetic words so that we can reveal His heart to those around us. The more we understand this gift, the more we come to value the treasure we have been given.

We show the value that we have for His voice by the amount of time we spend listening and pursuing Him. There have been many times that I have cried out to Him to let me hear His voice more clearly. One of those times He answered quietly to me Jer. 29:13, "You will seek me and fine me when you seek me with all your heart." Another time He encouraged me to "look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure".(from Prov. 2:4)

Our Father hides spiritual riches for us and there is nothing greater to me than hearing Him speak, revealing those riches. I believe The Voice within longs to share the secrets of Heaven with us. It reminds me of Prov. 25:2 "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; and the glory of kings to search it out."  We were made for this.  It's written into our DNA to desire to hear His voice.

And remember, it was Jesus who said, "My sheep know my voice". (Jn. 10:27a)

Then He said, "go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; an after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 19:11-12