We often use pat phrases that sound good but leave the serious followers of Jesus feeling confused and vaguely guilty. They have no clue what these phrases mean or how they are to apply them to their lives. For example: lean on Jesus, trust in him, rest in grace, or listen to the still small voice.
Maybe I can share my recent experiences on a mission trip to Montreal. This is one of the darkest of all mission fields. Asking people to turn from idols and demons to Jesus is pretty simple compared to talking to people living in a modern city driving nice cars and finishing college. Especially as these people have rejected the version of Christianity found in the Catholic church. They believe that science has proved that there is no need for God and that “all that stuff is just a crutch”.
As I have often shared, I am very shy and one of the hardest things for me is “cold calling” on doors. So I jumped in the deep end and delivered invitation cards to about 600 homes.The Lord “talked to me” through helping me feel my weakness and letting me know that where I am week he is strong so why not go in the direction of most resistance. So here I am passing our cards in french, and my french is 40 years old and rather mediocre. The cards are saying “come to our church and don’t trust in works religion” These people have no religion at all and would be loath to “waste” a sunday morning going to some strange church. Now in Michigan it is against the law to put fliers in mail boxes but you can ring door bells. In Quebec it is against the law to ring doorbells but you can put fliers in the circular mailbox which is on almost every home. So I’m getting in touch with my insides and talking to the Lord, “these fliers are a bit irritating and will probably just be tossed, so why am I out here dropping these off?” He spoke into my head that he agreed that the fliers were not really great but they did have the plan of salvation on them and he was capable of preparing hearts and causing people to stop and read. He then put the thought into my heart that I should do my calling following the rules he gave the disciples in the Bible that if one was received then let “YOUR” blessing come on the house. He pointed out that he was blessing me with abnormal, “for me” peace and joy. So at each house I stopped and asked God to bless the people within. This changed my view from being out there “irritating people for Jesus” to being out there spreading Gods blessings and making his work in hearts and minds easier. When I was asked by people what I was up to, I could truthfully say, in french, that I was a soldier of Jesus Christ out asking him to bless them and their homes and their street and city. They all responded with “merci beaucoup” This was very encouraging. Then he placed the idea in my head to pray outloud because the devil can’t read minds and he wanted the devil to hear me as I prayed than God would “jetter le diable loin d’ici” which I think means. Throw the devil far from here. (that was the closest I could get in french) Then I came to a house where the box read , PAS DE CIRCULAIR, or NO CIRCULARS! Now what? The lord suggested I shake the dust off my feet and move on as they were not open to me. I felt kind of weird doing this as I did not have much dust on my feet and it did look weird, but that is what the Bible suggests. As I moved on from one such house the people drove up so I went back and had a nice chat with them so I guess God had a special reason for that contact. I enjoyed spreading light and peace in a place of darkness and tension. At one house the lady Julia came out to find out what I was up to and we got to talking. It didn’t take long to find out that her English was better than my French. She struggles with depression and had been putting together a collection of helpful prayers to encourage her. I was able to do some counseling and connect her to my blog site. So pray for her.
So hearing from the Lord happens as we are ENGAGED in life and are being REAL about the difficulties of the situation and the limitations of our tools and abilities, then we need to be STEEPED IN THE WORD, and ideas RELEVANT to the task will come into our heads and the MORE WE GIVE THEM A TRY the more ideas come and we find the tension fading and service is a joy.
Maybe you could share how he talks with you.