What voices do you listen to? Who do you go to for counsel and advice? What books do you read the most? Who is your favorite politician or government official? Your most desired preacher? Your most beloved sports figure? Your preferred news show? Who do you believe the most? The least?
The Power of God
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 1 Co. 2:1-5 NASB
So many people who call themselves Christians may begin well with God, but then they revert right back to following the flesh and to nurturing the flesh rather than the Spirit. And, so the voices they are listening to are also of the flesh of humans rather than of the Spirit of God. They put far more trust in the words of humans than they do in the Words of God. For, humans can say to them what their itching ears want to hear, whereas God is going to tell them what they need to hear, which they may not want to hear.
Not everyone who calls himself a preacher of the gospel is operating in the Spirit and not in the flesh, and is telling you what is of the Spirit rather than what is of the flesh. Many preachers, in fact, are very fleshly, and worldly, and many are even addicted to or are engaging in sinful practices. Many are smooth-tongued, who charm you with their words and with their worldly persuasions, but truly they are feeding only themselves as they are busy building their fleshly and worldly kingdoms which they call “church.”
Those who are truly men of God, men of integrity, humble servants of the Lord, who are walking in the Spirit, and who are preaching in the power of the Spirit of God, and not in the flesh, appear to be few and far between. Those who are preaching the whole counsel of God also seem to be few in number. So many have gone the way of the world and have diluted the gospel message to make it more appealing to human flesh in order to gain followers after themselves, rather than to gain followers after Christ.
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Co. 2:6-9 NASB
This is the wisdom we should be listening to, rather than the wisdom of this world, which is often disguised as godly wisdom. If Christians would understand and would heed this wisdom, they would not live like they have not been delivered out of slavery to sin.
For, they would understand that Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They would realize that he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who gave his life up for us. And, they would know, as well, that Jesus went to that cross for you and for me that we might walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to our flesh. For, if we walk according to our flesh, we will die in our sins, no matter what we profess with our lips.
Taught by the Spirit
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 1 Co. 2:10-13 NASB
This is so critical that we get this! We need to make certain that we are being taught by the Spirit of God and not by the flesh of man. So, how do we know the difference? Well, if we are truly in Christ, by faith in him, and we have died with him to sin, and we have been raised with Christ to newness of life, to be lived to his righteousness, then the Spirit lives within us. And, the Spirit teaches us all things pertaining to Christ and to holiness. But, everything he gets is from the Father and the Son, which he then passes on to us. So, it should also agree with the Father and the Son, too.
Yet, most everyone reading this probably has a Bible, too, or they have access to the Word of God via the internet, which is where this is being posted. And, so we must be in the Word of God daily, too, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. And, when we listen to men (or women) teaching the Word, we should be testing what they teach against the Word to make certain what they are saying is the truth. But, we can’t do this by pulling a few scriptures out of context. We need to read scriptures in context so that we get their full meaning, and so we understand what God really has to say on any given topic, but especially with regards to our salvation.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Co. 2:14-16 NASB
If a person has never made a profession of faith in Christ, he is natural man. Yet, many who have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ are also natural man, for they are still living according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, and thus they don’t accept the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to them. Those who walk according to the flesh will often feel the need to be in control of their own lives, to take matters into their own hands, and to try to resolve their own problems, their own way, instead of submitting to Christ and to his ways. Pride keeps them from this submission.
But, we who are Christ, by faith in him, should no longer be operating in the flesh, doing what our flesh desires, and thinking like natural man with the same types of attitudes, beliefs and reactions to life’s situations. For, because God lives within us, we have the mind of Christ also living within us, speaking to our hearts, guiding us into all truth, and teaching us to walk in the ways of the Lord and no longer according to the flesh.
So, because we have the mind of Christ, and the Spirit lives within us, we should also be in tune to the Spirit’s voice, and when we hear God speak, we should listen and then we should follow (obey) him in doing what he says and in going where he sends us and in saying what he gives us to say.
My Sheep / An Original Work
June 24, 2012 / Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Friday, February 2, 2018, 12:58 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Help us to listen and to obey you in all things. Amen!