Sunday, July 29, 2012


Many of us are familiar with Isaiah 26:3:
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 

About ten years ago I was surprised to learn that the word mind in Isaiah 26 could easily have been translated as imagination. (1)

Romans 6:13 in the Philips New Testament (2) says:
And no longer lend your faculties as unrighteous weapons for Sin to use. On the contrary surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your several faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right.

God has gifted each of us with a human body that is fully equipped with a long list of faculties. One of those faculties is the mind or imagination.  Each of us possesses the ability to yield these faculties to one of two diametrically opposing entities: the flesh or the Spirit.

When the faculty of the imagination is yielded to fleshly activities such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, the worship of false gods, witchcraft, hatred, jealousy, anger, rivalry, envy, drunkenness, and things like this it gives birth to carnality and alienation from God and His character.

Interestingly, in preparing for a time of listening to God, as a person prays through the Listening Prayer Guidelines, he or she is actually engaging in a process of systematically yielding their members and faculties to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

          1.     Come fully present before God
Fix your attention fully on Jesus and away from distractions. Heb 12:2
          2.     Exercise Christ’s authority over all other voices
Pray similar to, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all other voices to be silent.” Jas 4:7 & Acts 16:18
          3.     Ask the Three-in-One to reveal Himself in a special way
“Come quickly to rescue and help me, O Lord.” Psa 70:1
          4.     Ask God to search your heart
Talk to Him about what He reveals, confess any known sin. Psa 139:23-24
          5.     Ask Jesus to communicate with you
Speak, Lord, for I am listening. 1 Sam 3:10, John 16:12-14
          6.    Wait in silence
My soul waits in silence for God only. Psa 62:1

Oftentimes, like the Prophet Habakkuk (3) , people who deliberately listen to God are often asking God a question. It can be as simple as Jesus, what is Your word for me today? – or, it can be more like a complaint, God, why did I get so angry during my conversation with my wife? Or, what are you trying to teach me in this situation?

What if the God who has chosen to reveal Himself to us is not only willing, but eager to communicate with needy, hurting, and desperate everyday people like you and me? What if listening to Him is really as simple as yielding our capacities to the Holy Spirit, asking Him a question, and since His Spirit resides in our innermost being, (4) allowing Him to communicate with us by the thoughts He projects across the screen of our mind? What if our western intellectual, scientific, skeptical, conservative evangelical, rational worldview has made spiritual life much more complicated for us than it was to the spiritual worldview people of Jesus’ day. Many non-western cultures are much more comfortable with the supernatural than the average western conservative evangelical. The people of Jesus’ day asked who sinned that a man was born blind (John 9)? We would have never asked a question like that. We’d have looked for a scientific, medical explanation to his malady.

Walking in the Spirit is meant to be a supernatural experience where we place our trust in the Holy Spirit rather than in ourselves. It is the key to moving away from carnality and being more and more characterized by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance).

Being led by the Spirit is a combination of surrender and sensitivity to His presence, gentle urgings, and still, small voice. John 16:12-15 NASB is one of the best passages on what Jesus has in mind for us as we walk in deep intimacy with Him:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you”

"God is more eager to speak to us, than we are to listen." (5)

1)      Mind is Strong’s Concordance # 03336 = Hebrew = yetser. Used 9 times in the O.T. and translated in the KJV version as follows: imagination 5 times, frame 1 time, mind 1 time, thing framed 1 time, work 1 time. (Source: Brown Driver Briggs Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon.)
2)      1972 New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Philips.
3)      “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1 NIV
4)     "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.” John 7:37b-39a NASB.
5)      Unknown source.

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