A few days ago, as we were praying, I was reminded of a word a co-worker gave to the FTTA alumni brothers a while ago. He was giving a fellowship on the items the degraded church neglects and how the recovered church doesn’t neglect these items.
One of the items was letting the Lord speak. All the problems of the degraded church came from inhibiting the Lord’s speaking in one way or another. Therefore, at the end of the letter to each of the seven churches in Asia, the Lord says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit speaks to the churches.” Furthermore, to the church in Philadelphia, amidst all His praises to the church, in two places He praises them for keeping His word, in Rev 3:8 and 10.
So we all know we need to hear the Lord’s speaking. But what I was most impressed with is that the Lord’s speaking has many steps, just like when anyone else speaks:
- His actual speaking
- Our hearing
- Our understanding and receiving
- Our carrying out and respeaking
We need to permit the Lord to speak in an unhindered way in all these steps. In the first step, if we keep on talking and don’t give the Lord a chance to talk, that’s obviously hindering the Lord’s speaking. But if He is able to speak, but we don’t hear Him, even though He is apparently speaking, His speaking is hindered because it is not being received, and so the purpose of His speaking is not being carried out. Furthermore, if we listen but we don’t take it in, we don’t understand it, or we don’t agree with it, then His speaking is hindered for the same reason. We may have the appearance of allowing Him to speak by hearing Him, but our inward attitude and condition is hindering His speaking.
Finally, I feel a lot of our problem is actually with the fourth step. We may allow Him to speak, may hear His speaking, may fully receive and understand His speaking, but we may be too lazy or stubborn to carry it out and/or respeak it to others. This is also a crucial step. Much of the time when we receive a fellowship or burden from the brothers, we may be touched and may nod our heads in agreement, but when it comes time to carry it out, that’s where the burden stops. I’m not talking about simple things like offering for a need or practical service (although in some cases this still applies), but with things like the vital groups, the God-ordained way, or shepherding new ones. That’s what we were praying for a few days ago. We nod our heads in agreement, we agree that this is what the Lord is doing today, and that this is what we really need to cooperate with Him on, but when it comes time to carry this out in our daily living, the burden stops. It may seem that the Lord has spoken through the brothers, and that the church has entered in, but because of our lack in cooperation in the last step, the Lord’s speaking is hindered. He doesn’t just want to speak to us, but He wants to use us to propagate His speaking to the rest of the Body, both to existing members and to the new members. This is His purpose in speaking to us in this way, and if we do not cooperate with Him in all four steps, then His speaking is hindered.
I was touched with this for myself too. I’m in the reminder service for the GOW practice in my area and coordinate a lot of practical things related to it. I know a lot of the theory, but what about the practice? What about the absoluteness? What about my vitality and the vitality of the ones I am caring for? May the Lord intensify His work within us so that He may speak in an unhindered way.