I was blessed to have been taught HOW to be aware of the Holy Spirit (although I am still learning). This weekend at our Tinley Park campus we heard our senior pastor talk about the “full ministry of the Holy Spirit”. One of the points of the message was that we need to be aware. About 17 years ago I was on stage, leading worship at Abundant Life Fellowship, in lake Charles, La. My senior pastor, Perry, came up and stood next to me. Worship was going great, spirit was stirring some things up – but he comes and stand next to me and begins to speak in my ear…
Pastor: Ben, what are you feeling right now?
Me: What do you mean “feel”?
Pastor: Right now the spirit is stirring in a direction of healing and ministering, what are you “feeling”? How would you describe it?
Me: It feels like my gut is turning. It feels like I’m sitting outside of myself
Pastor: Learn that feeling, learn to recognize it. You have to learn how to keep your spiritual antennae up so that you can lead worship and hear at the same time. Learn how to match what you feel to what God is doing!
For weeks, he would come up next to me and ask me “what are you feeling”? And each time I would see what is happening in the room while having to learn to “see” what was happening in the spirit, while learning to identify it with how I was feeling. Now I understand that I get accused of being too calculated, but can I give you some suggestions in how to listen to the Holy Spirit a little better?
1- put up your spiritual antenna – much like a radio antenna I believe we have a spiritual antenna that helps us to be more aware of the spiritual environment around us. I like what the author in Hebrews pulls out in Chapter 3 – saying that as the Holy Spirit speaks – today, as you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Be aware on purpose
2- put down your pride – I know that makes perfect sense, but the best way to learn is to be willing to be wrong and get it wrong. Too many of us have allowed fear to stop us from learning from our past or our mistakes. We end up getting caught up in defending ourselves and our intentions and miss out on the benefit of learning. It’s like a man who looks in a mirror (and seeing the truth of how he looks) and walks away and forgets (neglects) what manner (the character) of man he is.
I remember a friend of mine who was struggling with a decision on whether to leave the church where he was serving. He DID the right thing and sat down with leadership, but deep inside he felt so strongly that God was telling him to leave (even though his pastor said no). He asked me what to do, so this is what I told him – as long as you are willing to be wrong, then I would err on doing what I “think” is God. At least then you will miss it trying to hear HIM. It ended up being a bad decision and as promised, he allowed God to teach him in the process. Wait, how do you learn from that???
Simple, don’t trust that “feeling” anymore as being concretely God. How awesome is that? Even in “missing” it, we can learn to hear God better – that is the gift of grace!
3- put it to practice – sounds simple but I’d like to get honest with the “body” of Christ right quick. Give room for mistakes, and honor the pursuing of the Holy Spirit. Prophetic people have to learn the “feelings” too, preachers need to learn how to walk in revelation knowledge, apostles need to learn how to lead and plant, evangelists need to learn how to not offend and not to be offended – there are a lot of places that the church should extend the grace given to us. However, we need to put in to practice the understanding and learning of how the Holy Spirit speaks and operates in your life (and others).
Jesus gave us the power gift of the Holy Spirit so, learn how to listen, obey, and pour out. So go for it –
1 Corinthians 14:1 – Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy.
Hope this encouraged you
Now, go be “fully aware” today!