In this post I want to comment on understanding how the Lord speaks. I once heard a story of Paul Cain being interviewed on the radio in the mid twentieth century. He had an established healing ministry, which was what led to the radio interview. The interviewer, in an attempt to be clever said to Paul something like, “If you know so much, tell me where God comes from” Paul’s answer was very wise. He said, “He comes from anywhere He wants, any way He wants, any time He wants.” There is a lot of truth in what Paul said. We have a tendency; those of us that like to analyze things, to be like the radio announcer and try to ‘figure everything out.’ However, if we as the creations could figure out the Creator, where would that leave us?
This principle applies to spiritual gifts. We try to sort them into categories and analyze them. There appear to be 9 gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, there is another list of gifts in Romans 12 and a reference to different gifts in 1 Peter 4:10. I don’t think what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate is that He has a list He wants us to fit things into. I think He is trying to communicate that He is trying to communicate and He can do it in a variety of ways! In fact, anywhere He wants, any way He wants and any time He wants!
Jesus speaking is not limited by our hearing. Does that make sense? He is always speaking because as John tells us, He is the word.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 John 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Given that Jesus is the word (logos in Greek) it is His nature to communicate. He is not limited in His speaking; He is limited by our hearing. A good example of this is in Psalm 78. Psalm 78 recounts Israel’s history as a nation from Egypt to King David. There is a very interesting verse that describes their interaction with Yahweh.
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:41 (NKJV)
Yahweh wanted to do more but the way they responded to Him prevented that, the nation of Israel limited God. My point is that as the One who is communication, Jesus wants to speak to us, we simply need to put ourselves in a positon to hear and then discern. Because the church is corporate not individual we often need one another to hear. I have a friend who frequently feels pain in his body somewhere when he is near someone who has pain in that area and needs healing. He then shares what he feels in the form of a question and asks if he can pray and people are regularly healed.
Is this a legitimate way of hearing from Jesus? What chapter and verse tells us about hearing Jesus in that way? Honestly, there isn’t one, so do we assume the gift and fruit are not from the Holy Spirit since the fruit is good? No, we apply the counsel of God to the matter. So how does the counsel of God apply? Let us look at Romans 8.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV) 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:16 (NKJV)
Are these two verses above specifically about feeling the pain of someone else in your body as a way of knowing the pain they have that needs to be healed? No, yet the principles in them apply. It says the Holy Spirit in us will give life to our bodies. He can do that by ministering through another individual. His Spirit bears witness with our spirit and so we can encounter His spirit in a fellow Christian and He can speak to us about them, in this case through sharing their pain.
What about what Paul wrote in Colossians?
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, Colossians 1:24 (NKJV)
Is feeling the pain of others so they can be healed an application of the above verse? I believe in applying the counsel of scripture there is scriptural validity for my friend’s experiences and this would be the case even if no one was healed when he prayed for them, yet in fact many are.
I have another close friend who rather than feeling physical pain often feels the emotional pain of others and will bear it before the throne of grace in intercession. It may be individual issues or broader social or political issues he feels. He didn’t ask the Holy Spirit to move through him in this way yet chooses to listen and there are multiplied testimonies of changed lives and the effectiveness of his responding to what he hears from the Holy Spirit in this way.
We each need to make up our own mind. My point is that the Holy Spirit can and does speak how He chooses and loves to speak to us in a variety of ways. He wants to develop a unique relationship with each of us that also touches the lives of others. Do we want that as well?
Lastly, here is a link to a blog someone sent me. I encourage you to read and reflect on it. I know I did and will.