|OUR BROTHERS, OUR SISTERS
James W. Goll
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Jun 18 2010 08:00 AM
ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body
were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God
set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
I Corinthians 12:15-18
another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. “
Have you ever noticed the assortment of Christians at a large church gathering, a conference or a rally? As you
scanned the crowd, have you dared to wonder what it will be like spending time in heaven with all those folks? Awesome,
right? Uh, now let’s get real – there sure seem to be a lot of peculiar odds and ends out there. The funny thing is, these
just happen to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. What will it be like to spend eternity with them? Or (gulp!) try to
imagine spending eternity with the people you really know well.
There are occasions, I must admit, when I am judgmental of some of God’s chosen ones and, even worse, critical.
Sometimes I look at the outside wrapper and swallow hard. I don’t even know them and find myself already having a hard
time with them. Yet I know that I will be spending eternity with them, and they with me, in heaven. By the grace of God, I
will have His love for each and every one. I can’t claim to have it yet.
Each one of us is a jewel in the eyes of our Papa God. His Son, Jesus, loved us so much that He died for each one of
us. Sometimes it’s the most basic truths that we tend to forget.
Philip asked Jesus to show the disciples the Father (see John 14:8). Imagine the Son of God’s disappointment, maybe
even hurt, knowing they hadn’t yet gotten the picture. In essence He answers, “Hey, Philip, in case you didn’t realize it in
these past three years, the Father has been right here before you. If you have seen who I am, and if you have watched
the works I have done, you have seen the Father” (see John 14:9). What had they witnessed? They had seen Him touch
the lame and blind with compassion. They had seen Him hold the children in His arms. They had witnessed His tears.
Whether He was healing, teaching, comforting or raising the dead, Jesus always exemplified the Father.
We are called to be witnesses, light and salt in this world. We are His children, and we are supposed to look, act and talk
like Him as His representatives on Earth. But is the world able to see the Father’s love in us? Moreover, can we see and
hear our Papa God in and through our brothers and sisters?
God Will Speak Through All of His Children
One of the most common ways the Lord speaks is through the members of the Body of Christ – each and every one. I
think God must have a lot of flat-out fun at times as He attempts to speak to us through our spouses, parents, children,
neighbors and other odds and ends besides the ones we believe He is supposed to speak through. We accept the fact
that our pastor or favorite Bible teacher at a conference or our church hears from God. But does God speak through
Jerry, Susie or (fill in the name)? Each of us is so different. He made us that way. The Holy Spirit must find it a bit hard
and yet fun and a little crazy sometimes to speak through all these different and unique vessels.
God loves diversity. He created all of life to display His passion for variety and His personal touch. We must be aware of
this bent if we are to learn to hear Him through our brothers and our sisters. We each have our own quirks, comfort
zones and preferences. Certain teachers talk our lingo. Some people just push all of our buttons the right way. We love
to hear God’s latest word through these people – and then there are the others. In all our lives there will be the others,
the ones who punch our buttons upside-down and ring our doorbells without mercy. Guess what? God Himself just might
be at the door, and in our aggravation, we might miss Him.
Paul covers this tendency in I Corinthians 12:12-27. The Body of Christ has a diversity of parts, each one important to
the whole. And yet the eye chatters to the foot, “Hey, I can’t receive from you, you’re not a part of my comfort zone.”
Why? “You’re one of those ‘renewal people.’” The ear tells the knee, “Your church label has no room for what I’ve got to
offer.” The wrist declares to the hand... “Listen, honey, I’m the head of this house. I’m the spiritual leader here. I can
move you any way I want. You just sit there and let me do the leading.”
We all do it. We set our own strict little boundaries about how and through whom God can speak to us. We make a
select list. Then, wham, somebody messes with our list. We don’t know what hit us, so we rebuke the devil. Later on,
after we’ve become more humble, we learn it was God. Sometimes I wonder if He actually delights in messing with our
lives, doctrines and perimeters. I know He has worked me over a few times.
In 1992, the presence of the Lord invaded our house. His angels came. His presence was manifested in startling ways.
At 11:59 P.M. on the Jewish Day of Atonement, a heavenly visitor came and stood in our bedroom and spoke to me as
the clock turned to midnight. “I have come to speak with your wife,” the visitor said. Not to me, mind you, but to my sweet
wife, Michal Ann. The ensuing weeks of unusual divine encounters rocked our world, and the reverberations are still
being felt today.
In Encounters with a Supernatural God, Michal Ann tells about this profound experience:
Beginning on the Day of Atonement, October 6, 1992, our family entered a nine-week period of supernatural
visitations that forever changed our lives – especially mine. In retrospect, I suppose that period was like a
compressed ”pregnancy” in the spirit, measured in weeks instead of months. All I know is that by the time it was
over, God had birthed a whole new identity in me that literally changed my relationship with Jim and revolutionized
our approach to ministry.
Those were interesting days indeed. When I went out on the road ministering, I would call home to find out what God was
saying! Here I had a certain reputation of being the one who could hear what the Lord was saying – but my wife? It was
as though God dried up my creek bed and now I had to learn to hear through another channel.
When I came out of a traditional church into the Jesus Movement, it was very interesting to watch who accepted whom.
Long-haired hippie types were thrown in with the straight types. All were authentic young converts on fire for God. It
wasn’t just that the conservative types rejected the radical element; many of those long-haired young people were not
very receptive to those they considered staid and stuck in traditions. This happens throughout the Church in many
ways. And yet, all are Jesus People, carrying Jesus to others.
Those who are versed in the history of the Church realize that God has often spoken through unusual vessels. Of
course, back in the old days it was the norm. But if Jesus showed up in person today, what would He look like? If John
the Baptist showed up at our Sunday-morning meeting or midweek Bible luncheon, how would we welcome the scruffy
wilderness man with the booming voice? Imagine taking him to Starbucks to share a few honey-dipped locusts around
one of those little tables. Soon everyone in the place would know how to repent for his or her sins.
Sooner or later, we learn a simple truth: Our Father God will use someone we would not. It might be a crabby neighbor,
an actor on a TV show, an unsaved boss or our two-year-old child. He speaks through them all.
In Encounters with a Supernatural God, my wife wrote, “As believers in the one Body of Christ, we all need to learn how
to listen to each other. We need to take a step back and let those rise to speak whom God has anointed for specific
times and places.” Amen. Let it be so!
Go Wash in the River!
Naaman was the captain of the army, a valiant warrior who served under the leadership of the king of Syria (see II Kings
5:1-27). Naaman had a great reputation, except for one major problem – he was a leper. According to II Kings 5,
Naaman’s wife had a servant girl who had come from Israel; she had been captured during a war. The little girl knew of
the ministry of the prophet Elisha. Innocently, the servant girl suggested to her mistress that her master, Naaman, go to
Samaria to find the prophet Elisha.
Naaman made an appeal to the king of Syria and, surprisingly, he granted the request. The king of Syria sent his
greatest warrior, Naaman, off to enemy territory carrying a letter asking that Naaman be healed, along with an offering of
10 talents of silver, 6,000 shekels of gold and 10 changes of clothes. The king of Israel received him, but of course he
couldn’t help him. Then Naaman went with his horses and his chariots and stood outside the doorway of the house of
Elisha. But Elisha did not appear. Instead he sent out a messenger with a “word” about what Naaman was to do. The
instructions were, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be
clean” (verse 10). The nature of the response offended Naaman, and he “went away in a rage” (verse 12).
We can all identify with Naaman. Possibly, just possibly, there is a bit of his pride in each of us. We all have
preconceived ideas about how God should answer our prayers. We expect God to speak one particular way. He does
not, and off we run to throw a pity party. Remember the adage “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”
Naaman’s servants wouldn’t let him sulk. They sought him out and made an in-your-face appeal to Naaman: “My father,
had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to
you, "Wash, and be clean?” (verse 13).
Naaman must have been going through great inner turmoil. He was a proud man, but humility was being required of him
in order to receive healing from the hand of the Lord. Such barriers also may stand in our way of receiving from our
King. To his credit, Naaman did humble himself. He obeyed. He went down and dipped himself seven times in the
Jordan according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was
healed. He heard and followed God’s word, even when it was delivered by an ordinary servant and involved performing
a seemingly meaningless task.
Barriers to Receiving
We each need to grow in the art of hearing His voice through whatever ways and means God chooses. But if we are
honest, we realize that we have barriers that need to be identified and removed by His loving hand. The good news is
that He is more than willing to help us. Following His lead, our barriers will eventually fall.
For example, I have had “women issues” in my past. But by the grace of God, the help of my dear wife, many now
consider me a champion for women in ministry. (I really had little choice. I could bless what the Father was doing or be
Some people seem to be HTRs while others tend to be ETRs, “HTR” stands for “hard to receive” and “ETR” stands for
“easy to receive.” HTRs – those who find it hard to receive God’s word or His transforming help – should not be
discouraged. My advice to HTRs: Spend lots of time simply worshiping God. Worship has been a major key the Master
has used to transform many hearts. Giant oak trees of stubbornness and fear fall before the transforming love of our
Father. Theological backgrounds, traditions, culture, ethnic origins, hurts and wounds of the past can’t withstand His
light. God is bigger and brighter than all of our issues. When we stand before Him in worship, He has access to our
spirits and our souls.
Common obstacles to hearing God’s voice:
Many of these relate to other people. Like Adam and Eve, we hide behind fig leaves. Our fig leaves shield our hearts
and souls just as effectively (or ineffectively) from God’s approaching presence and thereby from true freedom. They
also obstruct our fellowship with others.
We can overcome any and all of the barriers that remain between us and God. There is healing for any ailment that has
ever existed. The cure is as old as the universe itself. It is the love of God. Love heals.
How does healing happen? How can we get into the flow of our Father’s love so that we can stop hiding from Him and
really be able to hear His voice?
Receiving Love Through the Body
The Law reads: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength,
and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). When Jesus came, He didn’t change that. He said,
“Do this, and you will live” (Luke 10:28). If we want to see the barriers in our heart and soul dissolve, we must ask the
Holy Spirit to help us receive the gift of love that proceeds from our brothers and sisters. In a circular fashion, what goes
around will come around. We will become a channel of God’s love for them too. We will hear God’s voice for them and
they will hear it for us. Some of what we hear will be wordless – a kind of cleansing stream of healing love. Some of what
we will hear will be very specific, and God’s words will melt the barriers in our heart, remove the log in our eye and lead
us into all truth.
We are to love one another as the Father loved Jesus. The mutual love that exists in the Godhead is our example. The
world is waiting to hear a clear sound from the Church. We have been in practice sessions tuning up long enough. Do
you want the world to hear the voice of God? His voice is most fully audible when brothers and sisters in Christ love each
Together we make up the very Bride of Christ. Being a part of the Bride of Christ is more than just sitting next to
someone in a church service or one of our great conference settings. Love has to be practical.
Recently I went through a very difficult battle. It was more than what my family and I could handle on our own. It was a
battle with the big C-word – cancer. I had to cancel all my traveling engagements, so we had no income for our ministry
team. But thank God for the Body of Christ. My family and I, usually the ones to be giving out love, were on the
receiving end. It was a humbling experience – one in which I still hear the voice of God.
The big C of cancer was vanquished by God’s multifaceted C: the Community of Christ embraced the Cross with
Compassion and Care. Every evening for weeks people brought us meals. Intercessors around the world lifted up
prayers on our behalf. Believers enforced the victory of the cross of Christ over the powers of darkness. Encouraging
words through emails, cards and people I had never met all merged together into an experience of the love of the Body
of Christ. The outcome? The big C became a little c, and cancer bowed its knee at the name of Christ Jesus the Lord.
Thank God for the Body of Christ and the finished work of the cross.
As we walk in the love of our brothers and sisters, we step out of the old chains that have prevented us from enjoying
barrier-free intimacy with God. We will hear God’s voice better with each passing year. We will become His mouthpieces
to our unsaved loved ones and friends and to our neighborhoods, workplaces, cities and nations.
Guess what? We might even enjoy hearing God through our brothers and sisters.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO HEARING GOD, by James W. Goll, Copyright 2008, Regal From Gospel Light.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES