God said to – One of the symptoms of being in touch with our hearts is that we are free to articulate our desires, and we have great authority when those desires overlap with the desires of God’s heart for the Kingdom.
I recently attended a conference where a really talented painter created a remarkable work of art during the worship. She was invited to share her testimony and it was simply, “God told me to paint so I did.” It was obvious she enjoyed her painting… and made good money doing it. The work she created in 40 minutes was normally $1500 but sold for half off as a conference special. She was that good, and the painting was worth the price. I was wishing that she could admit that she wanted to paint and enjoyed it.
Here’s my thought – too many believers have no language for the desires of their heart. In fact, servants don’t have their own desires by definition. They simply execute the commands of their master. That theology doesn’t define spiritual maturity. Our painter was in a charismatic setting where the preaching is usually centered on what God is saying and how we’re cooperating with that direction. The evangelical version is what the Word says and how we’re living our lives consistent with what the Bible tells us. I’m totally good with obeying the voice of God and living the precepts of scripture.
The truth is that one of the primary ways that God communicates with us to find His will is through the desires of our heart. Most believers don’t have a language or a theology that allows them to express that truth. It sounds more spiritual to say “God told me” or “the word says” than to say “I really want to or I really enjoy _______.”
Mistakes happen – The second point is that we can make mistakes in choosing our direction. If I simply tell you what I’m doing and why, it’s much easier for you to give a constructive comment than if I cloak the same thing in “God told me to.” It’s even easier for us to discern our own hearts and direction if we allow ourselves to say it as a desire of our heart. If it doesn’t sound like it’s in God’s heart, then we can change it until it does. But, if we say to ourselves, “God told me to” or “God wants me to,” then we don’t feel permission to change it even if we got it wrong.
Practically prophetic – I don’t think of myself as a prophet, but I have a decent prophetic gift that I rely on to minister to people. Here’s what I learned. We never get the complete picture; we get parts of the picture. We can occasionally be completely wrong, especially if we pretend that we have the whole picture. But, we should eagerly desire to use this gift all the time. Sounds like a mess, huh?
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor 13:9-12 NIV
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 1 Cor 14:1 NIV
Here’s how I stay out of trouble. My deepest heart’s desire is to love people and release their heart into everything God has for them. That’s the first thing I communicate and honestly feel in my own heart. Even though I never have the whole picture, I get enough that people experience something miraculous from the presence of God. It’s not spooky or dangerous from my standpoint. It flows right out of the desire of my heart to love and bless people. The more I give my heart permission to love and risk, the more powerful the prophetic gift works. “I” give the word and if it’s God, everyone knows it. If it’s just me talking, everyone knows that, too. His sheep hear His voice. I give God the glory when I’m done, but I give the word I’m feeling in my heart because I want to. God doesn’t have to make me do it. I’m not a servant; I’m His friend. Now, instead of waiting for a prompting, it’s more watching for the opportunity. Sometimes I even make opportunities, because it’s really hard to make a mistake loving people from your heart. We carry an anointing to bless people because that’s the nature of Jesus who resides in our hearts. We’re created in His image.
Permission – Give yourself permission to be yourself and pursue what’s in your heart. Sure, you’re going to make a few mistakes, but in the end, you’ll be on a much more fruitful, spiritual and practical path. Bottom line – even in something like the prophetic gift, you will get farther listening to the desire of your heart than waiting to hear “voices” that are outside your own heart.
He really is the potter and we really are the clay. But, the potter made us to operate out of our hearts and to relate to the Father as friends. The Kingdom is being built by people who understand friendship with God. It allows them to be Kings instead of servants.
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