Jim Shrimplin

Speak Through Me

Almost from the moment that I became a Christian, I have wanted God to speak through me.  I love it when God uses me to teach others about the Scriptures, but there is also an annoying side as well.  You say, “Pastor Jim how can there be an annoying side to God speaking through you to teach someone about the Bible?”

This is the annoying side, but also a wonderful side as well.  Yesterday, I was teaching Sunday School and when I teach Sunday School I don’t have a lot of notes.  I just go where the class conversation takes us.   A student asked a question and I give, what I thought was a great answer, but now I can’t even remember the question let alone the answer. Whenever I give an answer that I feel in the moment in a great answer I can tell, it is the Holy Spirit speaking through me.  I know that I could not give that “good” of an answer in my own strength.

So you have probably guessed that the annoying part is forgetting how I answered the question.  The wonderful part is that I know that God spoke through me to give a better answer to a question than I can give on my own.  I know at that moment God’s Word, God’s voice, has not returned to Him void.  His Word spoken through me and has returned to Him.  It has done what He wanted it to accomplish and that’s the wonderful part.  The reason that this is annoying is that when I get home later that day I can’t remember the teaching so that I can reflect on it and develop the thought even more.

Are you sitting there and asking, “How do I get the Holy Spirit to speak through me?”  Here at my 5 tips on allowing the Spirit to speak through you.

 Tip 1: Study.  I know not the tip you wanted to hear but there is a good reason this is the first tip.  What’s the reason?  I’m glad you asked.  People who want God to speak His Word through us need to God’s Word in us.  Don’t have it; can’t give it.  Therefore, spend time in God’s Word through reading Scripture, meditate on God’s Word, memorize passages, and listen to preaching.  I can’t tell you how many verses I have memorized because I have heard them over and over again in different preaching and teaching settings.  So Tip 1: Study.

Tip 2: Be teachable. As I write this blog it is Monday morning and kids all over America are waking up and getting ready to go to school.  Teachers are also getting ready for school and of course, the teachers will teach and the students will hopefully learn.  Now, we don’t just take people who say, “I want to be a teacher” and put them in a classroom.  No, as a society, we require them to be taught.  We ask them to be teachable enough to learn how to become a teacher.  They spend four years or more learning the basics of teaching and the good ones never stop learning.  They have a teachable spirit.

As Christians, we need a teachable spirit and a spirit that is open to the Holy Spirit teaching us.  In John 14:26, John penned these words, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”.   Notice that the Spirit will teach and we will remember.  These are our first two tips.  We study; we remember.  We are teachable; He can teach us.

Another passage dealing with the Holy Spirit as our teacher is Luke 12:12.” for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say”  I believe that this is God does for me when He speaks through me.  He gives me the words that I need to say in my Sunday school class.  He gives me the words I need when I am preaching.  He gives me the words of life to give to someone else.  I know that this passage is talking about when, as Christians, we are brought before authorities to defend our faith, but I think it can also apply in this situation as well.  After all, what I am doing when I teach the Bible?  I am “defending” the Scriptures.

Tips 3 and 4 go together.  The 3rd tip is to teach, preach, and witness every opportunity you get.  The more you do these activities the more “comfortable” you become.  The more comfortable you become, the more opportunity you will have for the Holy Spirit to speak through you.  Tip 4:  Remain humble.  When you begin to teach, preach, and witness for God and He starts speaking through you, people will come to you say, “Wonderful message. Thanks a lot! I needed that word today.”  At that moment, you need to do all you can to stay humble.  It is easy to let pride take hold and start taking credit for something you didn’t do.

What do you do to stay humble?  Acknowledge that God has spoken through you and give credit to God.  There is no better way that I know of to stay humble than giving the credit to someone else especially when you didn’t do what they are saying you did.  What do I mean by that?  You get through giving the Word of God to someone and they come to congratulate you or thank you on a job well done.  But, you know God is the one that really taught your class he only used you to do it.  Acknowledge that fact.  Say, ” I am glad you enjoyed it but truthfully that was all God. ”   So teach, preach and witness but stay humble.

The final tip, tip 5, is to be patient.  The implantation of all these tips into your life will take time; you need to be patient.  Great Bible teachers and preachers have spent a great time with God’s Word. The average English Bible has over 700,000 words in it.  You are not going to learn all there is to know about all those words in a weekend Bible study or a 4 year Bible degree.  In fact, you will never get to know all that the Bible has to say because God is infinite and so is His Word.

So if you want God to speak through you, study the Word, be teachable, teach/preach when possible, stay humble and be patient.

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