One night as I was pondering and praying about our innate ability as children of God to “hear” and “know” Him, the Lord spoke to me. He said:
The Church has become consumer driven and
Christians have become as consumer oriented as American society.
When thinking of consumers, the world of retail comes to mind, where it is all about supply and demand; about discovering what the consumer wants and providing it. Even in the church, our willingness to hear and know Him has been swallowed up by our desire to have our needs met, in our own way, in our own time, and at our own convenience, and we are demanding the Church provide it or else we will go somewhere else.
As I continued to listen to the Lord, He said the Church is not looking or functioning much different than the world. Churches are spending their time targeting specific groups of people based on age, race, socio-economics, marital status, education, or interest all in an attempt to meet their specific wants and/or needs. We ask questions like: What will get or draw people into church? What will speak to them where they are at? What can we do to make them feel comfortable? We want to maintain their attention and make sure they do not get “bored” in church. We must have the latest, greatest light show, the best bands, the most talented musicians; all the support and specialty groups, the greatest nursery and children’s programs so our kids can be trained up and we can catch a break while at church. We wrap it all in a neat package believing we are giving people relationship instead of religion. What we are giving them is what they want, not necessarily what they need.
As consumers, we simply eat, drink, or use up whatever is available. As knowers, we will hear and know what the Lord is saying and seek, speak, and share Him with the world. God is not a God of consumption! He is not a consumer, people- driven God. Last time I checked, He is not so interested in targeting specific groups of people because He already knows He created us uniquely and meets every need perfectly when the whole body functions as one. He is not concerned about catering to our wants or making us feel comfortable. He is very confident He can draw all men to Himself. His message is timeless, speaking to each person right where they are at. He does not need to put on a show, for He is the main attraction. He is definitely concerned about relationship and He proves it every moment of every day by being genuine, authentic, and real. He already knows what we need so He drives us where we need to go. He does not look at the Church and determine what He needs to change in Himself in order to attract her or to bring people into the Church. He already knows! He has already established and paid the price for relationship to exist, develop, grow, and last!
As consumers, we will travel great distances, pay registration fees, and give freewill offerings to learn how to prophesy, hear the voice of God, evangelize, heal, or any number of “how-to’s”. We want to “learn” how and what to do with the things of God and we want impartations or prophetic words. With the consumer mentality, whatever we want can be found if we look hard enough. And we want it “now”, in our own time frame rather than investing in God, being in relationship with Him, and letting the gifts flow out of that relationship.
As knowers, we realize how we are “learning” is not what and how Jesus taught. He did not teach people how to hear Him. In John 10 Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear Him and follow. We know we are His sheep and we naturally and supernaturally hear His voice. As knowers, we embrace the gifts of God, according to the grace given to us and we operate in the gifts through the body of Christ, under the guidance of our shepherds. (Romans 12:6) Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14 to desire spiritual gifts but does not go on to teach how to “do” them. There is a “dependence” on God when we know Him and simply use the gifts He has provided to further His Kingdom.
Rather than being consumers of what God offers, we should be seekers of what He freely provides, and knowers of God and His will. There are NO shortcuts to this relationship! Being in relationship with God requires time and devotion but our faith will skyrocket as we realize our innate ability to hear and know Him. We cannot nor should we desire to bypass an intimate relationship in order to “learn” how to “do” the things of God or coerce Him to do His work through us.
We will learn “what” to do with the things of God
when we stop trying to learn “how” to do them!
This happens because we will be with the One who does them through us!
When we are in relationship with Jesus, we receive an anointing, a gift, a calling, or an impartation. Holy Spirit stirs these possessions in us and they are released out of love, intimacy, and passion. Learning about the things of God comes out of knowing Him, not out of simply consuming information so we can use them.
In the Gospels Jesus encourages us to know Him. He gives illustrations and examples of how to live with eyes focused on heavenly things, believing and being in relationship with Him. In the Epistles Paul encourages us how to live in Christ, in relationship with God, to love, obey, serve, and seek Him. The Word teaches us to know God, not know “about” God or simply spend our time learning “how” to do the things Jesus did. The Word reveals to us His Spirit will be poured out on us in the last days and we will dream, have visions, and prophesy. We do not make it happen or learn how to have dreams, how to have visions, or how to prophesy.
Jesus tells us we hear and know His voice. In John 10:3-4 the Greek word for “know” is “eido” which means to see with the mind’s eye, signifying a clear and purely mental perception. In other words, we as Christians perceive His voice with our minds. “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” How encouraging to know our minds perceive His voice because God created us with this ability. Beloved, we hear and we know because we are His! Can we grasp this truth for ourselves and for others who are called into His fold? When we do, we will despise the consumer mentality choosing to cater to Him rather than cater to the wants of people. This then displays our trust and confidence in the One who draws all men to Himself and we will stop trying to “attract” people to Church, knowing He is the Attractor!
This hearing, knowing, and confidence is summed up in 1 John 5:14-15 where “eido” is used again for “know”. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us whatever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” This confidence we have in Christ Jesus is energizing! Notice it does not say the confidence we “can” have in Him but the confidence we “have” in Him. It does not say “when” we have this confidence but it says “Now this IS” the confidence! Let us eido this confidence!
Because we have this confidence we can ask “anything” according to His will! Because we have this confidence, He hears us! People of God, these are two huge faith builders! We can ask ANYTHING according to His will and He hears! We generally throw prayers out to God something like this: “If it is Your will Lord, then let this or that happen!” Or “If You want me to do this Lord, open a door. If You do not want me to do it, close the door!” If challenged on this “iffy” prayer, the comeback is usually, “Well, I do not know what His will is for me in this situation so I am leaving it up to Him.”
Beloved, then seek His will through prayer, His Word, and His Spirit! Then pray and ask specifically instead of simply leaving it up to Him, praying “if” requests to God. He already has said “if” and given us the result “if” we do as He has said. According to this Scripture, we can ask anything according to His will. Once we ask “anything” according to His will we must “know” He hears us, “whatever” we ask. Not only does He hear, but we “know” we have received what we have asked.
All of the “knows” in this verse are “eido”. We have the mental ability to perceive these truths. It is not something we need to learn, imagine, or hope for. We have the ability to perceive these truths! It is within us! Knowing and hearing belong to us as children of God!
Do not miss God’s two “ifs” in this Scripture! “If” often seems to bring the extravagant should we meet the conditions. The first one is “IF we will ask anything according to His will”. Beloved, if we do not ask according to His will, we can expect nothing. If we continue to fall back on the excuse we do not know His will, we are simply excusing ourselves from spending time with Him, as much time as it takes to perceive His will. The next one is “IF we know He hears us”. Again, this implies the mental ability to perceive He hears us. If we do not embrace this knowing, we are not embracing the truth that it is not something we need to learn but it is within us!
Because we know He hears us (it does not say “when” we know He hears us), we know we have the petitions we have asked according to His will. We receive with a knowing heart.
When we KNOW His Word, we will KNOW His will, we will KNOW He hears,
we will KNOW we have whatever we have asked, we will KNOW His power,
and we will KNOW our victory.
When we embrace being knowers, and stop being consumers, Church will again be the place people simply come to meet Jesus! We will stop “taking” and ”using” the things of God and live in the reality of “hearing”, “knowing”, and ”giving” ourselves to the Lord! Knowing Him will move us out of consumer mentality and into relationship mentality!
Father God, we thank you that you speak and when we speak, You hear us! Forgive us for our consumer mentality. Forgive us for wanting church our way. Forgive us for wanting You quickly and efficiently, not desiring to put time and effort into our relationship with You. Forgive us for being caught up in our wants and needs, and not caught up with You! Forgive us for trying to make church appealing, instead of simply sharing the Gospel and leading people into a personal relationship with You, their Creator, Redeemer, Lover, Encourager, and so much more! We repent of not living in the reality that we hear and know You, and today, we choose to walk in the renewed revelation that we hear You and we know You Lord Jesus! Speak Lord! We are listening!