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Training your heart to see

Mike Connell

We lift our city before You, asking God that You would touch people; asking for Your presence and power to flow and bring people into living relationship with Christ, great salvations, lives changed, people touched. Lord, we need Your help. We cry out for Your grace, in Jesus' mighty name. Amen. [Amen.] Praise the Lord. Give someone a hug or a high five before you sit down. [Applause] Praise the Lord, well man I enjoyed that. That was really stirring wasn't it? How many felt stirred by that? Is that good? Yeah, it's great and I'm just going to adapt what I was going to speak on and just abbreviate it noticeably. So I want you just to open up your Bible, if you have a look with me in Luke 7. Last week I was speaking on the gift of tongues and speaking in tongues and how speaking in tongues energises your spirit, and the purpose as Graham pointed out is to empower you to become a witness, so your life is to be a witness; the way we live our life, the kinds of attitudes we have.

We heard about gratitude this morning and I see a lot of people complain. This is not being filled with the spirit. Complaining quenches your spirit. In fact David said when I complained my spirit was overwhelmed, so to stay full of the Holy Spirit we do need to learn to be grateful, have a grateful heart, have a thankful heart and rejoice in the blessings God's given us. We need to learn to do those kinds of things, so that's part of being filled with the spirit. And we saw that when you pray in tongues, when you speak in this language that God gives you, it energises your spirit but it also connects you to the Holy Spirit. It opens a line of communication and you begin to start to get insight from the spirit of God. All of us God wants to speak with us. He wants to speak with you. This is not for just someone special; this is for every believer. Every believer can hear the voice of God. Every person can hear from God.

The trouble is often we're too busy and there are too many other voices we're listening to. We listen to all kinds of voices around us, but we can train ourselves to tune in to God speaking to us. It's not hard to train in to God speaking to you, so one of the first aspects of it is to learn to stir your spirit up so you remain energised and alive on the inside. It's great when we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit is giving us the language. Our spirit is rising up, there's an energy and a life flow that's coming and we begin to come alive on the inside. But this flow that comes from within is the same flow when God wants to speak to you, and I find that continually people kind of put it off as in the too hard basket, rather than actually saying I want to give myself to actually learning how to engage with God, how to be able to see and hear Him and flow with Him.

We can actually train our senses. You have spiritual senses. Paul talks about in Ephesians 1:18, he says that the eyes of your understanding would be opened; in other words that the eyes of your heart, so he's saying that you just don't have physical eyes. You have literally a capacity to see spiritually, but what are you going to see and how are you going to see? We need to train ourselves in that area and there are a whole number of things we can do. One of the most important parts to developing your capacity to see and to connect with God is to harness your imagination. Every one of us has an imagination; whether you use it not, use it well or not, everyone's using it somehow. You're using it well or you're using it badly, but you all have an imagination. Imagination is your capacity to form pictures or images inside you. You just do it and don't think about it, but think about this.

In your imagination you can close your eyes and in just a moment you can begin to start to see pictures - don't know where they are, but they're in your imagination. There's a part of you clearly that enables you to see pictures, and that part of you is connected to your spirit because the Bible talks about the imaginations of the heart. So your imagination, your capacity to create pictures inside you, images inside you, that's a gift God has given you. It's connected to your spirit, so therefore it's a part of your spiritual capacity. Your imagination can be used in all kinds of ways, like you can close your eyes and begin to think of a happy experience you had in the past and before long it's like all your attention is focussed; you've forgotten what you're doing and in your imagination you're back there and you're very happy out in that boat catching snapper. [Laughter] There's great feelings start to flow inside you and you can start to remember that tugging and there it is, and it was all in your imagination.