By Femi Aribisala
Roberts Liardon was a guest-minister at a church. Suddenly during the service, the Holy Spirit drew his attention to a woman. Then he told him something unusual. He told him to go and slap her. Liardon obeyed. He went to the woman and slapped her. There was a loud gasp in the church as she burst into tears.
Surely, it could not have been God who told Liardon to slap this woman. There is certainly no biblical precedence for it. However, in the same bible, God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8). So, yes indeed, God can give any directive he wants to his sons.
How could Liardon tell it was God who spoke to him? He must have had a relationship with God. He knew God’s voice. If a longstanding friend phones you from abroad, once you hear his voice you can tell it is him.
Some months later, Liardon was ministering in another church, and he recalled the strange incident of God telling him to slap someone during a service. Out of the blue, a woman came forward and said she was the one. Then she gave her testimony.
God had called her husband to ministry and she did not like the idea. She resisted and resisted until that fateful morning, she surrendered and told God on her knees: “Slap it out of me!” When she got to church, the visiting minister, Roberts Liardon, came forward and slapped her.
The voice of God
How can we identify the voice of God? God is a God of peace. His signature tune is peace. Therefore, the voice of the Lord is not the voice of anxiety, but of peace. The psalmist says: “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints.” (Psalm 85:8). It is the devil that speaks of fears and worries.
God says: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). When we are worried or anxious, it is more difficult to hear God clearly. Since Jesus is our Prince of Peace, expect him to speak his peace into your heart at all times. Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).
What does the voice of the Lord sound like? It is not insistent; it is a still small voice:
“Behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
The inner witness
God often speaks to us through other people. This makes it important to listen to others. James counsels: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.” (James 1:19). As God’s prophet, Jeremiah pleaded with Israel: “Please, obey the voice of the LORD which I speak to you.” (Jeremiah 38:20). But most times the speaker does not even know he is being used to deliver God’s message. But you, the hearer, should know.
As the person is speaking, something inside you sparks, and you just know that what he is saying is what you need to know from the Lord. This is called an inner witness and it comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The Holy Spirit uses his inner witness to confirm or underscore something that is being communicated to us.
You may need godly counsel about a situation you are facing. You have talked to different people and obtained different views but remain unsure as to precisely what to do. Then as one particular person is talking to you, you simply know it is God using him to talk because there is an inner confirmation. What he says hits the nail on the head and speaks directly to your heart. That is the power of God. That is God talking to you.
Internal promptings are strong urges to do or not do something. You cannot explain why you feel that way, but you do. Sometimes the intensity builds up inside you until you obey the prompting. At other times, you just happen to do something, which turns out to be precisely the right thing to do. Such promptings come from the Lord.
I had a nasty quarrel with my older brother and decided to stay away from him. But one day, I developed the urge to go and see him. I resisted it, not wanting to revisit the quarrel; but after a while, I relented and went to his house. When my sister-in-law saw me, she shouted: “Praise the Lord!” “What is that all about?” I enquired. Then she said: “I fasted and prayed today and asked the Lord to bring you here. This quarrel must end today.”
Be open to internal promptings. They are invariably calls to the righteousness of God. Indeed, that is the means of their identification. Never resist internal promptings to pray about something or about someone, even if you don’t know why. Jesus says if we do, we will know. (John 7:17).
God is often in search of prayer-warriors. He says: “I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land.” (Ezekiel 22:30). Let him find you.
Checks in the spirit
A check in the spirit is an internal alarm that goes off, making us feel leery or cautious about something or someone. It slows us down, making us look into something more carefully and urging us to pray more for God’s direction. Sometimes it is designed to keep us from being misled or being taken advantage of. Other times, it protects us from physical danger.
Kenneth Hagin received an offer to move to another church. He was excited because they were offering him a lot more money than he was then earning. But every time he sat down to write an acceptance letter, he was dissatisfied with the draft and would tear the paper.
Then miraculously, the Lord appeared to him. He said to him: “When I told you not to take the job…” Kenneth Hagin interrupted him to find out when exactly he told him not to take the job. The Lord replied: “Every time you tried to draft the acceptance letter, I checked you.”
Don’t ignore the check in the spirit: it is the Lord. And don’t ignore it when God uses others to provide the check. Women are particularly sensitive spiritually. Therefore, don’t ignore the checks of your wife. She might say: “I just don’t feel good about you doing business with that man.”
Don’t insist she must give you chapter-and-verse reasons. A man and his wife are one; so God can speak to the husband through the wife. He warned Pilate through his wife not to have anything to do with the persecution of Jesus, but Pilate did not listen. Don’t be like Pilate.