“And He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Ex 33:14)
“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:10)
There are three very basic things the Lord showed me which will aid every believer in getting into the flow of the Spirit, and into that precious place of rest. Here they are in the manner and in the order the Lord gave them to me:
1) Shut up (be quiet)
2) Be not hasty (slow down)
3) Fellowship with Me (wait on the Lord)
1) Shut up! Time and space will not permit me to list all the scriptures which refer to the mouth, the tongue, and the importance of our words. Reading Proverbs alone will help you find many. Deep rivers are like deep people; they flow with majestic silence. Shallow rivers, like shallow people, are noisy. If Jesus is Lord of your life, He is Lord of your words. Knowing that we’ll be judged for every idle word spoken (Mat 12:36) ought to be enough to keep Jesus on the throne of our hearts, and thus on the end of our tongues. Brevity and levity don’t mix. One nullifies the other. If you’re going to grow in wisdom, you’re going to have to grow in silence.
One time in the middle of a fast the Spirit of God quickened me and made an unusual statement. He said, “Instead of fasting food, why don’t you try fasting your thoughts and your words?” I had never heard anyone say that before in all my life. Immediately I began to think about all the scriptures that instruct us concerning our thoughts and our words. It was amazing how many the Lord brought to my attention. What a difference it made when I obeyed this type of fast! It pulled me into a much deeper place of rest. Praying in tongues will help you immensely in getting your mind quiet.
2) Be not hasty! Ants in your pants aborts your advance. When you’re still, you hear His will. A calm spirit waits for the way of the Lord. How many times have you missed God because of hastiness? Think about it.
One day I was returning from a preaching engagement and got caught in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic on the interstate. In my haste to get home I attempted to see how many car lengths I could advance. As I gazed behind me to try to create an opening to shift lanes, I momentarily lost sight of the car directly in front of me. Well, you can finish the rest of the story. Much to my chagrin, I rammed into the car and had to spend time exchanging information with the driver for insurance purposes. Hastiness did not save me any time, but lost me time, money, and peace of mind. My attempt to advance only a few car lengths in major rush hour traffic wasn’t worth it. Instead, I should‘ve used the time wisely and turned my own vehicle into a prayer sanctuary. That would’ve benefited me much more.
This is just one of many examples where hastiness cost me. On a weekly and maybe even on a daily basis you could probably come up with many instances where haste actually made waste. Slow down! God can do more in one minute than you can in a lifetime.
This next word the Lord gave me is appropriate for every pure hearted believer, “You have the tendencies of Peter, but the heart of John.” Peter was quick to speak and quick to act in wrath, but slow to hear. Slowing down in the natural realm will often speed you up in the spiritual realm. God is not in a hurry and He’s never late. Sometimes Jesus had to move quickly and urgently, but He was always patient. Walk in the Spirit and time will be your friend.
3) Fellowship with Jesus: You must maintain a living fellowship and communication with the Lord. Like in a good marriage, intimacy must be worked at and sought after.
Here is a typical setting of God’s response to a seeking believer. I came to recognize this one time while praying and worshiping the Lord. Have you ever noticed the Lord’s nearness when you forget about yourself and your own concerns and concentrate on Him alone? You block out everything from your mind and begin pouring out your heart to Him. When you focus on the Lord, His presence draws near. Conversely, when you focus on other things, His presence seems to dissipate.
Have you ever been in a room listening to someone talk and they were making eye contact with everyone in the room except you? Maybe they were telling a great story, or some kind of experience they had, or they were just explaining something. How did you feel when you realized that you were the only one they were not making eye contact with? It’s somewhat rude and disrespectful, isn’t it? I’ve been in that type of situation, and sometimes I opted to excuse myself and bow out of the conversation.
The presence of the Lord seems to fade from me when my mind wanders and begins to dwell on the concerns and pressures of life and ministry. It ushers in a hastiness. However, on the other hand, when my entire being is attending to Him alone, oh what love, joy, and peace settles on me. His presence always produces rest.
Follow these three simple steps, and the flow of the Spirit will be yours to enjoy. You will avoid human delays and accelerate in your Christian race and calling. But most of all, you will enjoy the presence of the Lord!