Article originally written for Collegiate Collective.
I sat at a conference not long ago and listened to two speakers. The first one preached and did a good job. Plenty of explanation, illustration, and application in a message to make sure the audience was informed and understood his message. He also gave very practical application points. The second speaker was a little different. His message had plenty of information, little illustration, and a whole lot of exhortation. When you look between the two speakers, you’re more inclined to listen to speaker one. He sounds a whole lot more engaging, and to be honest, more practical. However, it was speaker two that left everyone on the edge of their seat. As he finished his message everyone left their seats and began muttering, “He had a word from God!”
It was true, he did. There was something different. He was so tuned into the room, its needs, and he nailed it. Most people walked away in awe, desiring to follow Jesus more obediently. I left that day knowing there were specific things in my life that need to be reoriented around the gospel.
When I hear someone speak with this kind of anointing, it causes me to search myself, “Am I getting a word from God?”
As collegiate leaders, are you getting a word from God?
If we’re honest, many of us borrow vision for our ministry from others. We imitate our lives after others. But let me tell you this: God wants to do something uniquely through you. God wants to speak into your heart for the sake of you, the students you lead, and the students who have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. God wants to uniquely speak to you in your situation for His Glory. So, how can we begin to hear from God? Here are three questions to discern if you’re seeking the voice of God:
1. Are you practicing stillness?
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10)
It’s impossible to receive a word or vision from God if we don’t take the time to be still. Create margin in your life to be still, listen, and reflect on what God is sharing with you. If you are too busy to be still, you’re too busy. For me, stillness seems like laziness. However, stillness is an act of prayer. Many times we come to God and unload our request or ideas. We should change that. Next time you’re in prayer, stop, be still, and listen. Hear what’s on God’s heart, not yours.
2. Are you practicing repentance?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps. 139:23-24)
Maybe you’re in a place where God is silent. You try to create margin for stillness, but God doesn’t seem to show up. For some of you, unresolved sin is prominent in your life. You read, you pray, but your heart is like granite. It repels God’s word. There’s nothing. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Is there a place in your life where you are willingly being disobedient to God? Willful disobedience creates hardness of heart. Over time, this is devastating; turn from it.
3. Are you leaning on your knowledge or on the knowledge of the Holy Spirit?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Pr. 3:5-6)
Likely, if you’re a leader, you’re a learner. This means you have a fair amount of knowledge from plenty of voices. These voices hold a heavy influence over your life and ministry. In fact, these voices have constructed the ministry you’re in. But, are you leaning more on the knowledge you worked for or leaning on the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Which one are you more dependent on? Knowledge from others is a wonderful thing, and is necessary if we are going to walk in wisdom (Pr. 15:22). Please listen humbly to others. But far too often we lean on others rather than the Holy Spirit. After all, sometimes the voice of others, even with good intentions can be misleading in your situation (John 3:26). So, you must seek the voice of God. God wants to uniquely speak to you in your situation for His Glory.
Your campus can’t afford for you to not hear from God. The students of your campus are dependent on you hearing from God. They’re depending on your stillness, your repentance, and your reliance on the Holy Spirit. You are plan A to reach your campus and it only happens if you hear the voice of God.
Will you listen?
This article was originally posted on 7/24/17 via Collegiate Collective