I shared last week some experiences and said that making the Word the final authority in our lives is the first point and key to being able to be sensitive to the Lord's voice.
The second is to focus on this truth, I mean really, really get it, that Christ is in you. You must switch the focus of your mind daily, many times a day, back and forth between the natural world and what is happening in your spirit. Today I will share my journey and battle.
In Mark 5 Jesus, thronged and pressed and jostled by a mob, was still so aware of His spirit man he felt healing power leave him when the woman with the hemorrhaging condition touched his clothes in faith.
When He asked 'Who touched me?' the disciples thought it a stupid question because of the crowd - everyone was touching Him! But Jesus switched His attention between the natural world of the crowd and His spirit as a way of life, so that He felt the healing power flow into the woman.
You can tell the degree of this truth being part of you and your thinking if you have ever: Shouted to God subconsciously thinking He will hear you better, had the idea God lives in a church building or is more present 'at church', or must be prayed to 'up there' somewhere in space.
We have to live in the truth that He is down inside you, not 'out there', for He is in you as close as your next thought. Communion with Him therefore, is internal, in the motives and deep reasoning's of the heart. Not in a voice between the ears, but down inside, in your spirit. His is a Spirit, so the vast majority of His communication is Spirit to spirit.
How I became sensitive to His voice and presence
At first I was so dull of feeling and hearing that I didn't 'feel' anything. Words and descriptions and experiences I have had since were at the time like some fantasy, and it seemed amazing and nearly impossible that someone could have that walk with the Lord, but I wanted it desperately.
But remember, I was battling a horrible self-image, a horrible self-worth, in constant tension because on the one hand I loved the Father but on the other hand never felt good enough for Him nor that He would want me. That is what made me so hard of hearing and insensitive to the things of the Spirit. I realized I could not hold onto these feelings while also hear Him clearly. My arguments were like a smoke screen between the two of us, and anything He said was like a person in another room talking lowly - I can tell someone is talking but can't make out what they are saying. I wouldn't rest until what was making me dull of hearing was gone.
The Word versus what I felt
This is where my first and second points come together: The Word as final authority and being aware of Christ in me. I remember laying in bed as a teenager battling my emotions of inadequacy, yet wanting to find that 'wavelength' of His presence in me so that I might hear His voice and thus walk in constant conversation, or at least an awareness of Him 24/7.
After dad left money was tight. When he left I was 11 and had a summer bedspread with a 'Charlie Brown' theme, meaning Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Lucy and the others were pictured all over it. I had that bedspread all through high school no matter the season.
When I was a junior and next year a senior and the cheerleaders came to decorate the bedrooms of the basketball team before the big game, they saw my Snoopy and Charlie Brown bed. I was SO embarrassed but Mom just didn't have the money to update things and I didn't have the heart to tell her I was ashamed. I had to think Jesus was OK with my bedroom, so be happy with what I had. That thought process was a small step, but I didn't realize it at the time.
Above my bed was a window, back then 'air conditioning' meant opening a window. And I remember laying there one night hoping for a cool waft of air to make its way through the window, through the screen, and fall across my sweating body.
A great battle went on that night in my mind, a battle that laid the foundation for the rest of my life. It was then that I mentally made 2 columns in my mind. On the right side were all my feelings and reasoning for God not wanting me nor be able to use me. Dad rejected me, I was growing so fast I was a gangly and clumsy string-bean I was so thin, but with naturally curly hair and wearing it long, I had a natural afro. That fluff on top made me look like a giant cotton swab. I had no money, nothing in the natural anyone would want, and the reasons for God not liking me, let alone loving me, were piling up in that column.
On the left column I made myself remember what I'd read in the Word. Christ in me the hope of glory. Greater is He in me than he that is in the world. I am a new creature in Christ, the boy that existed at age 15 died and now at 16 I was a newborn with all things new. I kept coming back to Christ in me, Christ in me, my body merely a temple, the Holy Spirit is in me to teach me from the Father. God lives down inside my spirit.
I was tired of the arguments in my head, the constant fear, stress, uncertainty that was the battle between the 2 columns in my mind. I settled it once and for all that night by making a choice, a firm decision, that God's Word and what He said would end all arguments. I would make my world revolve around the truth of the Word - if He said it that settled it no matter what I felt, or how I had to humble myself, or what circumstances said. Though I didn't feel Him in me, I knew He was there because the Bible says so. Period. Paragraph. Over and out.
So I told myself that Christ was in me whether I felt Him or not, and I was going to start searching for His presence because He was in there somewhere - that settling of it, that the Word was final authority, has guided me my whole life and opened the door to my walk with Him to this day.
At first I was like a person with a flashlight (torch in the King's English) in a huge dark warehouse that was my inner man, searching here and there for what I didn't exactly know. My thoughts of inadequacy in the right column would flood my mind and I would respond to myself, 'That's a lie, I reject that because the Word says Christ is in me (and I'm going to find Him if its the last thing I do), and kept right on searching down inside me.
I didn't really know what I was looking for that night, but I remembered after I committed my life to Him that I felt different inside, a sense of peace way down inside that I could barely sense, so I looked for that. At first the peace was like that man with a flashlight finding something the size of a mouse in the corner of a huge facility. But as soon as I realized that was Him, I was able to forget the darkness that was my old thoughts of inadequacy, and devote myself fully to that peace, though it seemed so small that night.
But the more I stayed on that thought- my thoughts would stray and I'd internally yell at myself - Stop it! Stop it! Who cares if you forgot a page of homework! Concentrate Fenn! Then I'd still my mind again and stay disciplined on that peace. I found worshipping helped, so I worshipped quietly, keeping my mind listening to what I was worshipping - instead of worshipping with my lips by my mind thinking about school tomorrow or what clothes I was going to wear, etc.
At that point the peace became a light and vanquished the darkness - I became 100% aware of Him inside me and from that point on I could filter through all the other thoughts and feelings and go right for that 'wavelength' that is His presence and peace.
By switching my attention to that peace I could 'check in' in a sort of 'Are you still there Lord?' inquiry, many times a day. That was the wavelength I had been searching for - His peace in my spirit. From that peace would flow all He would say to me, and lead to seeing things in His realm.
Flash forward to today
When I wake up, and I mean first awareness I'm awake, I start praying in tongues under my breath - Barb can't hear me though she is right next to me - it is so light.
Like anyone first thing in the morning, we might take stock of our bladder and squint one eye open to see if the sun is shining (lol), but usually before or during that time I switch my attention to my spirit, down inside me, to feel His presence - that is always SO good to feel, that peace, that warmth, that presence at first awareness of consciousness. At that point I ask 'Father, is there anyone/anything you want me to pray for?'
When I do that, immediately someone will come to mind, gently floating in like a suggestion, like a distant memory called upon from a hazy past - but their name, or memory of them floats gently to my mind up from my spirit, so I pray for them in tongues and in my mind at the same time. Often I am clueless what their needs are, so that Presence inside morphs into whatever their need is - a sense of battle raging, a heaviness about a decision, confusion, fear, healing - and I will pray through until that lifts and the peace returns. That's how I know the day has been won for them.
Your own battle
Sometimes I'll get an email, Skype, or instant message from a person who battles if they are really saved or not. Sometimes a person will email with a belief in a tradition of man or some preacher instead of the very plain chapter and verse in scripture. Sometimes the battle is emotional, feelings of fear, inadequacy, rejection, loneliness.
But the answer is the same, Christ is in you, and God's Word must settle all issues in our hearts. You must make your thoughts, emotions, and world view revolved around these truths. The written Word first flows from the Living Word. Without having that revelation from the Living Word inside, Christ, people try to believe the written Word with no real revelation. Next week I'll share how to get that 'rhema word', that word directly to you, from the Father.
Until then, blessings,