Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit moving you to do something? Maybe it is a faint whisper or an audible voice. Maybe you hear it all the time or maybe you long for it and wonder why you can’t. Whatever experience is yours, we’ve all been there. I used to hear the voice a lot in college. I fought it a good bit. Well, most of the time. I tended to fight it when I had more at stake. If I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to buy a lottery ticket, you had better believe I’m going to! But the resistance came with the more difficult situations that involved risk and rejection.
One summer, I was in Mozambique on a mission trip, and I had this feeling that I should walk down the road late at night. I was petrified. We were in a rough part of town, and the roads were notorious for being extremely dangerous. I fought hard with rationalization.
“Is this really the Holy Spirit?”
“ I could die! What’s going to happen?”
“It’s hard to see at night, I’ll do it during the day and the Lord can use me more...”
I came to the realization that it was easy to obey the Holy Spirit when it was convenient. Yet, my experiences had shown me that the Holy Spirit often never moves when it actually is convenient. In the Tangible Kingdom Primer, it points out that the the majority of Jesus' ministry and miracles happened during the daily mundane. Think about it: miracle at a wedding, conversation with Nicodemus late at night, dialogue with a Samaritan outcast while getting water, raised a man from the dead at the gate of a village, and healing the lepers while walking to villages. Some extraordinary things happened by Jesus just going about his normal routine and being open to what might happen.
Think back about the times when you felt that still small voice. What were you doing? Was it convenient? What would it have cost you to be obedient? Time, a tank of gas, some leftover cash, an evening, missing a TV show, sleep, a meal? In order to see God move in our lives, we must first submit to the Holy Spirit. Then, we will begin to see interruptions and responsibilities as opportunities and blessings rather than inconveniences and stressors.
What was at stake for me to walk down the road in Africa? Safety, sleep, comfort. What would happen if I walked down the road? Who knows. And that is exciting! But not for many of us, because we have prescripted the power of God to a time and space. We can’t possibly understand the power of God if we do not see it in our everydaylives.
Did I ever walk down that road? No. Fear won out. Unfortunately, I felt like it was a little harder to hear his voice after that experience. Maybe it was months of hardening my heart. I believe many of us are at this very same point. We have resisted the Holy Spirit so often that we aren't able to operate in His power. We have clogged our heart with fear, comfort, and ultimately self to the point that we won’t know what to do with the power of the Holy Spirit or can't hear Him speaking.
How do we battle this unbelief? How do we surrender to the Holy Spirit and become a part of what He is actively doing all around us?
1. Meditate on God’s Word and believe it!
Is the word of God something we read for 10 minutes before work? Or is it what sustains us? Does it help us be a better person or does it allow us to know God more intimately? Ask God to help you believe his word and for it to be a part of your life. The word of God is active and alive! Let it penetrate your life and show you things about yourself and others that you never thought possible. Allow God to speak to you through it! This may sound a little far fetched, but John Piper gives a great scenario of this concept fleshing itself out:
In Galatians 3:5 Paul says, "Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?" Answer: By the hearing with faith. Hearing what? The Word of God. The promises of God. The good guidance of God.
For example, you change your routine and set aside an hour to be with God in the Word before work. You get alone and immerse yourself in the book of Ephesians for an hour. The Lord impresses on your mind especially 1:12 that we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. And 3:20 that by the power at work in us he is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.
Then, you head off to work. During the day, the natural occasion arises to speak a word of testimony to the praise of God's glory. But you feel weak. Two things can now happen:
One, the Word of God comes back to you—this is what you are alive for—the praise of his glory—and he is not weak; he can do far more than I can dream. It's his power at work in me.
The other thing that can happen is that in this critical moment you can believe the Word of God. Trust that God intends to do wonderful things for his glory through you. Be expectant that the Holy Spirit within you will give you power according to God's Word.
And when you believe, this belief becomes the channel of God's Spirit. God supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you by the hearing of faith . . . when you believe the Word of God with eager expectation.”
2. Pray and fast
Beg God to allow you to experience more of the Holy Spirit. Pray that you would recognize him more in your life. Prayer and fasting are ways to experience God more intimately. The more we identify with him, the more we will recognize him.
Even if you feel like you can’t. This is where we will see the Holy Spirit move. If we think we can do this on our own, there is very little room for the Holy Spirit to move. Don’t resist Him anymore. Allow him to use you! The more you obey, the more you will see His presence. God isn’t looking for capable men and women, He’s looking for willing men and women.
God turned the world upside down with 12 young men who didn’t have the greatest track record.
Imagine what he could do with you.