I have been searching the Bible for about 40 years now looking at the characters who wrote it and those whom we talk about as Christians found in it. Every character in this Book had one thing in common – They heard from God! Without listening we would not have the deeds of God and His family history written down. We would not have the miracles that are demonstrated through their lives as guideposts to show us the way. Without hearing or listening to Holy Spirit, Father, or Jesus would we have anything? All that we see, God says we’re created through Him speaking.
From the first He was about relationship through covenant. (Side note. Covenant is not contract, it is commitment and takes a whole being involvement. It is about Honor, Obedience and sacrifice. God’s covenant is stronger than life. It is not so much about feelings as it is about total body, soul and spirit commitment and loyalty.) It carries the relationship through disappointments and wrongs by the commitment of our whole being to it.
We were created for relationship. A covenant relationship, like marriage, is supposed to be stronger than any element that could or does come against it. Listening and being about the other party is foundational in covenant. Forgiveness and selflessness are essential. Father coming down to walk and talk with Adam in the evening should say something to us.
Look at every man of God mentioned in the Word and ask, “How did they know what they knew without some kind of communication going on with Father?” From the beginning of the Book to the end of it we see Holy Spirit responding to God’s speaking and Him bringing Father God’s word into being on earth. Throughout the New Testament we see Holy Spirit communicates even more clearly with man, bringing all of Father and Son’s words and will to us. These scriptures create a basic foundation of all Holy Spirit does; Jn.14:26, 15:26 and 16:8-13.
John 14:26 (NKJV) 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
John 15:26 (NKJV) 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
John 16:7-14 (NKJV) 7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
Romans 8:14 (NKJV) 14“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”.
Psalms 37:23-24 (NKJV) 23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him.”
Through these scriptures and so many others we see that; “Without listening and hearing”, we cannot be whom we were created and redeemed to be! Unfortunately we take this lightly or to a point, then quit listening and decide how we should do “life in Jesus” without the relationship and listening the man Jesus lived by!
We want to see What Jesus saw while here on the earth. Our desire is to live like what we read in the book of Acts the early brethren lived. This hunger should be or is in our prayers daily.
But we have changed what it means to be “a follower of the Way”. To be “holy and redeemed” now is decided by how well we keep the traditions of men or attend weekly “services”. We have replaced the “presence and power of Holy Spirit” with that which moves us emotionally and tickles our senses. Christianity is lived out in meetings rather than through our daily lives. We have come to need to “get into His presence” through singing and meditations before we can pray. Our prayers have become long and filled with “holy words” rather than the language gained in listening and born from intimate fellowship with the Lord. There are so many things I am sure that Father cannot tell us because we are so quick to take His first sentence to us and run with it to establish what we “Think” it means, rather than ask better and more questions until we see what He is wanting to do expressly. If we only hear general instructions and then think we should do some action that we deem correct based on that general command, and then believe that our action will cause God to have to fulfill what we have decided to walk out — we have not much of a relationship with Him and are probably going to be sorely disappointed at the outcome. Father’s desire is for us to walk like Jesus – doing only what HE specifically or explicitly tells us or shows us to do in intimate fellowship!
John 10:1-11,16,27 (NKJV – emphasis mine) 1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Jesus the Good Shepherd
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep”.
6 “other sheep…I must bring…they will hear my voice…”
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”.
Where in this passage does it state that God will follow the voice of His sheep? – not there, we are to follow His!
Romans 10:9-11 (NKJV) 9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
The word “believe with your heart” is more than a mind acknowledgement of Jesus. It is more than an emotional moment. The “believe in your heart” is a conviction that produces a change. It means to adhere, rely on and trust in; to trust, intrust or commit to trust with your whole being. It is done with conviction that effects the way you go forward in life.
The word confess means to profess, to acknowledge – as to covenant. To confess is to show with your mouth the change in your heart. i.e.- I confess Dana as my wife by talking about her to others, telling others I am married to her, talking about how she moves me…etc. not just once but as I live life daily.
There is a deeper communion or conversation being talked of here. We cannot “believe in our hearts” and talk about it without some kind of communion that reveals to us the truth. Someone comes and shares the Gospel with us, then there is a revelation of the communion already going on in our heart that reveals The Truth. We accept it then begin to speak – as a result of hearing!. — Our first hearing, I doubt it. Jn16:8-13.shows that Father has to speak to us by Holy Spirit so that we can “know” what is right and true before being told by a person. Conviction is a result of some type of conversation in our spirit or soul! It is through the “listening” of our heart that salvation is found!
John 17:3 (NKJV) 3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”.
The word “know” means be aware (of), feel, (have perceived know(-ledge),, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. (This word comes from a Hebrew word that is about the intimate relationship between a man and woman). To “know” someone is to be entwined with or extremely close to them. Jesus purpose was to bring us close to Father, and Himself again! To have “perceived knowledge” is to have heard internally – communion not heard with the ears, but in the heart that is meant to redeem us to our original position in God’s creation. It was not about getting us to heaven. Heaven is a by-product of salvation and an only “for a short time” place. Redemption is about bringing us back to intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Jn.17: 20-23 states that Jesus wants us to be ONE with Father and He. We are sent to the world just like Him, Jn 20:21-23. – to reveal Father and so the world will know He sent Jesus. Jesus life was a “responsive listening”, and a trust in God’s voice.
OK, this beginning is not to get you to understand the fullness of intimacy but to get you to see the foundation of God’s vision for His people and what He is about.
The scriptures are to reveal Christ and God’s will through Him.
John 5:39-40 (AMPC) “You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me! 40 And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life”.
This passage eludes to something deep we do not look at. V.40 – and still- denotes that before scripture came to us His voice has been attempting to draw us to Him!
The reality of relationship is in the conversation and the key to deep conversation is – LISTENING. Thus, our lives and our commitment to being redeemed is about trusting and relying on Jesus. How can we do that without hearing? Our communion with God is founded in being like Jesus and our fruitfulness is wrapped up in our “knowing” HIM. Jesus demonstrates man’s place in and with God as HE is the second Adam or created man. HE is the example of who we were created to be and how to be who we were created to be.. Jesus, the son of man, did nothing unless He heard from Father! NOTHING! He says He only spoke what He heard or was taught by Father. He says He could do no mighty works – that it was The Father who did the works. Will we believe The Word’s revelation of Jesus or believe what men have said it means? Father does not care for religion. He was always about relationship! HE came to walk with His first created man, Adam, in the evenings.
Were they having a religious meeting? Did they sing the right songs together or say the right prayers before they walked and talked? Was their conversation theologically sound or the sermon well laid out?
Of course not, religion had not been created or invented by man yet. How about Abraham? Was His relationship with God theologically sound? Was their relationship pious or profoundly intimate? When Moses is called and sent, those who followed him started coming up with religious demands- a king, rules, etc… So Father gave them what they demanded. And the degradation of God and man’s relationship found footing.
Religion came into being and no matter how much religion continues to fail us we still follow it and demand others to do the same. Jesus came to set us free, not to box us into a new religious order!
Restoration to the truth and life as it was created to be came through Christ and His sacrifice! He came to deliver us from religion. He revealed relationship and calls us to it. We are brought to an even better place than those I have mentioned as man cannot annul this covenant drenched in the combined blood of man and God.
My foundation in the Lord did not come from the Bible nor from a church experience. From an early age, God and I became friends. I was raised on a ranch where we first raised sheep, then cattle and horses. He was my help when I had a need! He was my friend and guided me at work, showed me favor, never imputing my sins against me. He loved me without reservation nor judgment! I was “saved” so many times in my early life it is mind-boggling! I was healed of a broken neck, delivered from 3rd degree burns, delivered from becoming a felon, from being dragged to death by a horse I was breaking, etc… It would take me several pages just to list my physical and emotional “salvation encounters with God”. Throughout my living God was always there saving me, guiding me, teaching me and loving me in spite of myself! We were an unending conversation together – and still are! Before I ever picked up a bible at the age of 30, He was teaching me about what it said.
I did not learn how to have a religious conversation with God until I went to Church. It was there they taught me about the do’s and don’t’s of a pious, righteous relationship with God. (Not putting them down, they only were doing what they had been taught from the generations before them, trying to protect God’s ways.) God just does not do well in boxes!
The reality of it all is that God is about life with us. He wants to show us how to do our work better, be better parents and friends. He wants to be involved in US!
HE wants us to be naturally supernatural as He is and to live for others. I still encounter Father more as I do life than when I attempt to be religious. Jesus came to set us free, He wants to know us and be known by us. (Mt.7:21-23 and Lu.13:24-27). Then He wants to be seen by others through our lives lived in and with Him.
Jesus says; (all quotes from NKJV)
- “the son can do nothing by himself…; I can of myself do nothing, As I hear, I judge…”Jn 5:19-20,30
- “I came down … not to do my will but the will of the One who…” Jn 6:38
- “I have many things to say…and I speak ..which I heard… ” Jn 8:28-29
- “For I have not spoken on ..The father who sent me…gave me a command, what I should speak… I know that His command is everlasting life… whatever I speak -(saying exactly-AMPC) just as the Father told me – so I speak.” Jn 12:49-50
- “…I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me…works.” Jn.14:10
- “The Holy Spirit shall…” Jn.14:26, 15:26,16:13
- “Sending you just as I am sent”… Jn20:21-23
All of these scriptures tell us something special; Father wants us to live like Jesus, in a profoundly deep, powerful, close, dynamic, personal and cooperate fellowship with Him which is summed up in the words,”an intimate relationship with God”, (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) !!!
Intimacy is more than a conversation, it is a communion of souls entwined together as one. Thus we come to “Listening as a way of life”.
Your identity (how you see yourself, how you perceive yourself and others in the hidden place of your heart) affects the way you see others. It effects how you speak and interact with those you encounter. It filters all you hear and how you hear. It also affects the way others see or hear you.
Your perspective (how you view what you live) comes from your identity or is in direct relationship to your self-identity. Others will be affected by their perspective of you as well, (that is the way you look from where they stand, from their identity).
Your position (your place in the body of Christ and in the world around you) is always viewed and lived out through your identity and perspective.
These three things are a part of every conversation, every endeavor, and every encounter with other people that you have and the things you put your hand to. Your confidence, or lack of it comes out in the words you utter. Your view of others is seen in the words you speak and how you speak them. What your words produce is a result of these three areas that are at the foundation or all of your choices!
Intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, – that is, knowing them and listening to them always, changes life!
What if life was a listening? What if we surrendered to His great love and faith in us? How would the world see Him if we trusted Him? What if our faith was truly founded in Love? (Gal.5:6).
What if we lived responsively to Father like Jesus? What if we did not need to strategize or plan, but could just be children listening, trusting and obeying?
What if being “a house of prayer” and to “pray without ceasing” is simply to live out a life of ‘responsive listening” at all times, Just like Jesus?
Just saying, neil