Too Close For Comfort – Listening for God

Sheep in a line

A friend of mine asked if he was following the instruction of man too closely. So I asked the Father, “When is close too close?” I feel like the Lord answered me rather quickly and said, “That’s the wrong question. The question to ask is, ‘Am I being led of the Spirit?’”

It’s not ours to decide how we are to walk out this life. As a sheep of His pasture, it’s up to the Shepherd to dictate my terms. It’s not whether I am following man too dependently; it’s whether I’m walking in the Spirit. The premise of my life is not based on logic but on the Spirit’s directing.

This life with Christ is from Christ, through Christ and for Christ (Romans 11:36). As I walk in the Spirit, He dictates what I do and whom I listen to. He, as my God, relegates me to His Voice wherever He chooses to speak.

Listening for God

Listening for God
This doesn’t mean that I have the right to pick and choose from where I will listen. I have heard people say, “I will only listen to God,” all the while denying His right to use a human vessel to speak through. All these arguments are futile and ignorant. Being a sheep of His fold means I listen to Him as Shepherd in His choice of mouthpieces.

I could go into a whole discussion on spiritual authority as a means of shepherding, but that is not my point right now. In walking with the Spirit of the Living God and following His voice where He leads, I abide by His Voice and this is yielding to His choice.

If we live by logic, legalism, or opinion, we will never be shepherded by our Heavenly Shepherd. Our ideas will dictate our lives and actions. The shifting sand of opinion will guide us. This is a recipe for destruction. God is the only one who has the right to determine my born-again existence and He uses the Spirit to communicate that to me.

Remaining Close

Remaining Close
Living in the Spirit is the only way to remain shepherded. Listening to His voice and following His leading. So many walk as sheep without a shepherd. They may even think that they are being shepherded because they have the Bible. But as I heard just the other day, “The Word without the Spirit is legalism and the Spirit without the Word is heresy.” God tells me what my Truth is and guides me through my life. I can’t apply scripture to situations like some match-up game. He must define my circumstance with His Word by His Spirit. This is what it means to be led.

So it’s not whether I am following too closely the instruction and dictates of man, it’s about abiding by His voice. What is the Spirit saying?

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Romans 8:14 NLT

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    11 Comments

    • Irene

      For the past few months, The Spirit has had me in John 15:5, and I am learning that apart from Him I can do nothing. That is pretty inclusive: nothing! Your words today John echo that truth to me, “God tells me what my Truth is and guides me through my life.”

    • sue

      May I say “AMEN” to you JOHN and SAM. WOW, many things……

    • Tammy

      Bless You Father for knowing what I need exactly when I need it!

    • LA

      Overheard while I was waiting for a child at ball practice–
      First mom: “We haven’t seen y’all at church lately, everything okay?”
      2nd mom: “Sure. We just need to keep quiet right now. The Lord said we were doing too much socializing.”
      Blew me away! We felt the Spirit calling us to step away from the church ‘social scene’ at times… And here you are, shepherding us and giving me confirmation of what I’ve seen/heard in the ‘environment’ (Nee’s word, as I recall).
      Thank you, John.

      • Tina

        I love it!

    • Annalie du Toit

      I thought that the Lord’s answer to you disables us to make cisterns with water that rots inside, and turns us to draw from The Living Fountain; ever fresh!

      Love.

    • Tina

      Sam there is great freedom and beauty in your surrender!

    • Paul

      Thank you, John! This matter of being led by the Spirit is HUGE and so crucial to living a life that is truly pleasing to the Lord. Thanks for the poignant and challenging reminder today! It would do me well to read this before I begin each and every day!

    • Susan

      So well communicated John. This seems to be the line of demarcation, if you will, of keeping us on the highway of holiness. The separating of the soul into a spiritual man.

    • Helen

      Listening…keeps me in my place to see Him in His place. Our heart can ‘sit out under the stars’ with our Shepherd, to know Him, no matter where we are. HE chooses the place of His speaking, sometimes bringing an unexpected vantage point, where He sends me to listen for His Voice. It must be fresh…’truism’s’ aren’t alive & active. He is our ‘ask’ & our Answer…we don’t decide what the path or goal is & then strain to hear that. His Truth is simple, & amazingly broad-scoped, in our relationship & His purpose. HE knows intrusion & intrinsic…”This is My Beloved Son, hear Him.” He defines & designs. Answer is IN HIS PRESENCE. Green pastures…this is to agree with His choice…’with, from, through, for Christ’. Your satisfaction Lord, stills all desire into Your Holy Will & Way.

    • But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, YOU DO NOT NEED ANYONE TO TEACH YOU. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ. (1 John 2:27 GNB)

      There is a strong implication in the scripture above, that the only source for truth is the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and, that the teachings of men contain falsehoods or are altogether false. Also, that the only real unity to be had on the earth, is to submit to and obey the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which brings us into union with Christ, and thereby all who are IN Christ and live by this word.

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