One thing that I’ve learned specifically in counseling is that everyone needs to feel heard. Everyone needs to know that their concerns are legitimate
I am deeply honored that many of you trust me to help. I will try to answer your questions and through my email newsletters introduce you to some other amazing resources. I’m meeting new authors and ministers. One thing we all have in common is a desire to serve, a desire to help. So, when you get an email from me introducing an author or ministry, it is an attempt to provide more than I can give you alone.
But in the meantime, I will also do my very best to address the concerns that are shared with me through the questionnaire. In truth, these are the same types of questions and concerns that inspired me to start writing. These questions and concerns weighed on my heart. It bothered me that so many Christians weren’t getting their needs met already.
This week, I want to talk about knowing our connection to the Spirit. I’ve wondered as so many others do, “Is it God speaking, or is it me?” Even in ministry, I would question myself. Someone did me the service though of asking me if I was praying and seeking His help. And was I giving Him control of my life? The answers were of course. a resounding yes. John Chapter 15 talks about abiding in Christ and Him and His word abiding in us. The idea is that the closer we get to Him and the more we stay in His presence, the more we know him.
The man that famously argued with God and won was Abraham. When God was ready to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham, probably knowing his nephew Lot was there argued with God. The essence of his argument was that it was against God’s nature to destroy good men with wicked ones (Genesis 18:17-33).
The key here is that Abraham argued God’s nature. In essence, “Are you really going to do that? I know that’s not who you are.” Abraham was able to successfully argue with God because he was arguing from a point in line with God’s nature. This stands in start contrast to James contention that prayer based in our own desires will not be answered (James 4:3). One example is starting from a place of knowing God and in essence having the same desires as Him while the other is moving out of our own selves.
So, how does this relate to knowing whether God is leading us or if we are just hearing our own thoughts? Well, it’s this concept of knowing God and moving out of that knowledge.
Jesus speaks to this in the parable of the vine and branches found in John 15:1-11. Unlike some other parables, Jesus makes the meaning very clear. Those that abide in Him and He in them will bear much fruit and bring Glory to the Father. In verse 7 He specifies a method in which this connection is made. His words (in context – teachings) need to abide in us.
This means that simply reading the Bible faithfully may not be the complete answer. If we walk away from reading our Bible and don’t take anything away from our time, then what good was that time? His teachings must abide in us, they must live in us and change us. They must draw our hearts and desires to be more in line with His. Does this mean that you can’t hear from God or be lead until you reach some specific level of maturity or Holiness? Does it mean that you have to have a certain amount of the Bible memorized? No! It may be a process, but it begins with the heart. as soon as you allow Him in; as soon as you are vulnerable enough, then He can begin to work in you and through you.
So, that’s between you and God. I can’t answer for you if you have allowed Him in. I can’t answer if you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable to the Spirit to move in your life. That’s something for prayer and maybe some time spent with a spiritual mentor that knows you to help you decide. Another test is if whatever you are hearing is truly in line with the scriptures. Again, if you aren’t sure, leaning on a spiritual mentor is important here.
But the more comfortable you get in Him and living in Him, then the more that you can trust that what you hear is from Him.