One of my greatest shortcomings is my tendency to hold on to what I believe a little too tightly. I treasure my theological and political views a bit too much. On many issues, I don’t have an open mind. Although being too open-minded can lead us into error, being too closed-minded can also work against us.
I have many friends who have embraced a particular theological view as a result of reading a book written by a well-known teacher. Although they’ve repeatedly urged me to read this book, so far, I’ve resisted. I’ve justified my obstinate behavior by telling myself I already know what the writer’s viewpoint is. I’ve studied the subject. I know the arguments. I even engaged the author in a lengthy online discussion a few years ago and heard what he had to say.
Well, some of what he had to say.
On this issue, I have very little interest in hearing different views. And that is unfortunate, because God speaks to me most when my mind is not made up on an issue. When my views have been cemented firmly in place, there’s no room for Him to teach me. But when my views are flexible, when I have an open mind, there’s room to receive instruction. This is what James meant when he wrote, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask, and God will give to them, freely.” If we want to be instructed by God, we must first admit that we don’t have the answers.
The first step (for me) in receiving instruction from God is knowing what He wants to talk about. I’ve found that when I assume that I know what’s on His mind, I’m often wrong. On any given day, I don’t know what He wants to teach me about. So when I want to find out what’s on His mind, I expose my mind to a variety of subjects and let Him pick the ones that are most important. Let me illustrate what this looks like:
When I first became interested in healing, I listened to messages by Bill Johnson, Randy Clark and others who had success in healing. After listening to one of these messages, I’d often have a dream where one of these men would appear and teach me something.
Last year I attended a meeting where a prophet was speaking. I was interested in hearing what he had to say and I was certain God would confirm his message. He nearly always does that (for me) through dreams. (The way in which He teaches and confirms things for you may be different.) After listening to the prophet I went to bed expecting to receive a dream of confirmation, but I didn’t receive one. In fact, I haven’t had confirmation about any of the revelation spoken by this prophet. Now this doesn’t mean he’s a false prophet, but it does suggest that his message is not one that God wants me to focus on.
Many times I’ve had a discussion with someone during the day and that night God gave me a dream revealing the truth about something that was said or some aspect of their character He wanted me to understand.
Not long ago, I began reading Michael Van Vlymen’s book Supernatural Transportation. The night I began reading it, Bruce Allen and Michael visited me in a dream and gave me a message.
The Republican National Convention was held this week. I listened to some of the speeches each night and on three of the four nights God gave me dreams concerning Donald Trump. I was not a Trump supporter when I began having dreams about him. But I was determined to keep an open mind toward the candidates, so that I could hear God speak about them if He chose to.
What God confirms is generally (though not always) a product of what I expose myself to. On a typical day, I might be exposed to 10 different messages. I read articles and books, watch videos, listen to podcasts and interact with people. Then I go to sleep and let Him speak about the issues that are important to Him. Sometimes He confirms a message, but other times, He doesn’t. Occasionally, He’ll speak about something that was not on my mind that day. The way in which He confirms things may seem “hit and miss” but that’s how I’ve found it works best for me.
I brought up traveling in the spirit and politics because I believe these are two areas where this principle can be applied right now. I’d like to share an illustration of each:
Because there are some good books today being written on traveling in the spirit from a Christian perspective, there’s been an explosion of interest in the subject. The problem is, many of us have had our minds filled with teaching that is untrue—both those who are for and those who are against spiritual travel. And I’m as guilty as anyone. Over the last few years I’ve had to set aside what I thought I knew to be true about spiritual travel so God could teach me the truth. As I learned, I realized that what I believed only a few years ago was not true. Spiritual travel is a subject about which we, as a group, are terribly ignorant. If we hope to learn the truth about it, we must set aside many of our current beliefs.
Some have written off this year’s presidential election as a battle between the lesser of two evils. From a human perspective, that’s exactly how it may appear. But because God is not a man, He may have a different perspective. If you’re curious to know what God thinks about the election, you might set aside your beliefs and allow Him to show you His perspective. In my message on why people are having dreams about Donald Trump, it became apparent that many who have had these dreams are not very involved in politics. That is to say, they have an open mind and they can be taught.
If you want to know what God’s heart is on a particular issue, you may need to surrender your theological views, your political talking points and sometimes, even your moral convictions. All of them can be misguided. Give God permission to teach you the truth and when He does, don’t question it. Accept it and allow it to become your new paradigm then watch as it transforms you into the person He wants you to be.
p.s. One of these days, I’m going to read that book my friends have been raving about and if He teaches me anything from it, I’ll let you know,