Whose sheep are you? What voice do you hear most regularly? The answer makes all the difference in the world.
When I travel for ministry, I regularly speak on the topic of Revelation-Driven Prayer. I wrote a book on the topic, and in many ways this invitation to living an exciting prophetic life is my signature message. The undeniable and other-worldly miracles and wonders that I've experienced would never have happened had I not discovered a life in the Spirit. It truly troubles me that it's so uncommon for today's Spirit-filled Christians to walk in the Spirit and to hear God's voice.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).
Not only do people regularly admit to not being able to hear God's voice, but very often, they honestly confess that they continually hear the voice of the enemy. My response is often intentionally direct, as I believe this is a crisis that must be addressed with urgency.
I ask them "Then, whose sheep are you?"
A more comprehensive question would be, "Whose counsel are you receiving, and what are you doing to ensure that counsel is only coming from the Holy Spirit?"
Simply, we must reject the incessant bombarding of unholy lies, counsel and revelation. Our minds must be renewed. Our walk must be not in the soulish, natural realm. God mandates that we live and walk and pray in the Spirit.
I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Gal. 5:16-17).
Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:24-25).
In fact, the ability to pray in the Spirit is a key part of our spiritual armor.
Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).
Whose Sheep Are You?
The enemy of your soul works overtime to grab your attention, to introduce fear and unbelief and to take on the persona of the Holy Spirit—he wants to counsel you.
The question, "Whose sheep are you?" isn't necessarily one that deals with our position in Christ directly, though it could come into play. Enough demonic counsel will most certainly draw you away from Jesus. Satan's goal is for that to be your eternal reality.
But there are many steps and phases prior to such a finality. It's possible, for a time, to be gloriously saved by Jesus while not allowing the Holy Spirit to be our primary counselor. We can, and many do, refuse to nurture a life of prayer and growth in the Word, casually attempting to live life as we always had. The enemy will take advantage of such an apathetic approach and appeal to our common sense and to our vulnerabilities.
The result? A life under the leadership of the wrong shepherd.
Again, most people, it seems, don't hear God's voice while, at the same time, decreeing with no uncertainty that the voice of the enemy is loud, clear and continual. This is a problem we must address.
Prophetic Shock and Awe
For we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to Him from the majestic glory, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we ourselves heard this voice, which came from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
And we have a more reliable word of prophecy, which you would do well to follow, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of the Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation. For no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:16-21).
The call is clear: We must be carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Peter was emphasizing that everything he was sharing was because of his first-hand revelation. He was there and he experienced it all. Of course, you and I weren't there when Jesus walked the earth. However, that absolutely doesn't hinder our opportunity to have first-hand experience!
Rather, sorrow has filled your heart because I have told you these things. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:6-7).
We are at an advantage because Jesus left the earth and the Holy Spirit arrived on the earth: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a great voice like a trumpet" (Rev. 1:10).
We have no option but to be in the Spirit. What an invitation! As we live in the Spirit, we will begin to see and hear and encounter the great Shepherd. The counsel of God will blow away the dead, humanistic, demonic wisdom we had been living according to.
Yet we speak wisdom among those who are mature, although not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew it. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:6-10).
This should launch you into a passionate pursuit of the wisdom of God. The truth that the Spirit searches the depths of God is something that wrecks and rocks me every time I consider it. I yearn to live my life according to supernatural, other-worldly, holy revelation. The deep things of God are there to be discovered, and I'm provoked to live every day contending for the uncovering.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. These things also we proclaim, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:12-14).
The deep things of God will be revealed to us by the Spirit. This means we must learn how to shift from being driven by human understanding to being driven by revelation. If we don't, we will not receive these truths because they must be spiritually discerned. This discernment doesn't come simply because we are saved. We must allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to receive this supernatural data.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your body, and strength to your bones (Prov. 3:5-8).
Groans of the Spirit
I'll leave you with a powerful first step that will help you transition from living a life driven by worldly or demonic counsel to one driven by revelation.
The following is from an article titled "The Tone of the Groan":
I've been privileged to give leadership to some events where intercessors and hungry people have shaken and shocked atmospheres. The loud, erupting sound of groans have been resounding in our meetings. It's been prophesied many times that a new sound is going to be released. A new tone. I am convinced that this is not a new musical style, but rather a new groan of the Spirit. It's the tone of the groan that will be heard around the world.
One of the most misapplied Scriptures is Romans 8:28. When people are struggling, it's common to share this verse with them. It's actually pretty bad counsel if we don't let them know that this verse is dependent on the preceding verses. Romans 8:28 (ESV) starts with the word "And," which should reveal that it's connected to what came before it:
Romans 8:26-28: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Things work together for good when we allow the Holy Spirit to intercede through us with groans! No groan, no guarantee of success.
This is talking about a literal groan. Just as praying in tongues requires a literal sound to come out of our mouths, the groans are also deep, zealous sounds, tones, emitted from the depths of our inner man.
Churches must begin to become prayer- and groan-driven! The sound will break strongholds and usher in deliverance into our nation.
Yes, it will make a lot of people uncomfortable, but the Holy Spirit will be radically comfortable.
When the groans begin, Romans 8:28 initiates. As the powerful mysteries of God are exploding out of us in prayer, we easily find ourselves loving God with deep intimacy. We embrace the calling on our lives. We have a resounding yes in our spirits even though we don't know logically what we are agreeing with! In fact, bypassing our logic and intellect through groans of intercession is a primary reason why we are in agreement with God.
Our minds can't understand what's being prayed and therefore can't come into disagreement with it.
A life of fervent, supernatural prayer will take us out of the natural and into the Spirit. Praying in tongues and allowing the groans that follow to rumble out of us will train us to tap into the spiritual realm of the Spirit. Our discernment will become sharp. Dreams and visions will start to come. Revelation will spike. Intimacy with Jesus will increase.
The result? We'll finally hear clearly just what the Shepherd is saying. We'll go where he is going and our lives will change so dramatically that we'll wonder how we ever lived any other way.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
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