Have you ever been stuck in traffic on the freeway at rush hour? You’re creeping forward just inches at a time, doing your best to be patient. Then you look over a couple of lanes and see a line of cars zipping past you like you’re sitting still (which, in fact, you are).
What’s your first impulse?
You want to find a way to get into that lane!
On the freeway, everyone wants to be in the fast lane.
In much the same way, when it comes to living, everyone should want to be in the faith lane! As believers, we ought to be enjoying life in such abundance—spiritually, physically, financially and socially—that unsaved people look at us and say, “I want to know how you’re doing this! How do you keep succeeding when the rest of the world is going down the drain?”
“God supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory,” we’d answer, “and He has plenty of supply for you, too. If you’d like, I can show you how to tap in to it. I can introduce you to Jesus and He’ll tell you what you need to know.”
If God had His way, those kinds of conversations would be going on all the time. Everyone who has been born again would be so BLESSED and such a BLESSING to everyone else that they’d be after us constantly, wanting to hear the secret to our success.
It would be happening, if it weren’t for one thing: A lot of Christians aren’t yet living in the faith lane themselves. They’re saved, all right, but when it comes to the business of day-to-day living, they’re inching along just like everyone else in the world.
Because living in the faith lane requires faith; and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“But most Christians I know go to church,” you might say. “They hear The WORD every week. Doesn’t that mean they have faith?”
No, it doesn’t. People by the millions hear the Bible read and preached, but because they only hear it externally, with their physical ears, they don’t benefit from it. They walk out of church without any more faith than they had when they walked in.
That’s why it’s so important for us, as believers, to listen to God’s voice on the inside, with the ears of our spirit. Faith comes when we hear what God is saying through His written WORD directly to us. It comes not just from listening to Bible verses but from hearing the voice of God speak through them to our own hearts.
“Well, Brother Copeland, I think you’re being a little unrealistic. Not everyone can hear God like that.”
Yes, they can. Jesus confirmed it. He said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Notice, Jesus said any man (or any human being, no matter who they are) can hear His voice. That means He is talking to everyone in the whole world all the time, and anyone can choose to listen and respond.
Am I saying that Jesus even speaks to unsaved people? Absolutely.
John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I used to be a part of that lost world. You did, too. But God cared about us anyway. He didn’t just get interested in us after we got saved. He loved us and started talking to us before we were ever born again.
That’s how we got saved. We heard Him calling us and became one of the whosoevers who decided to believe on Him and respond. Thank God, this is a whosoever gospel!
A Once-and-for-All Decision
Jesus didn’t stop talking to us after we got saved, either. On the contrary, He stepped up the program. He made sure that we could constantly hear what God is saying, believe it and speak it, so the Father can bring it to pass.
That’s how God’s kingdom works. It’s His process and as citizens of heaven we’re supernaturally equipped to operate according to it. We’re divinely created to hear and recognize God’s voice.
John 10 leaves no question about it. There, Jesus compared His relationship with us to that of a shepherd and his sheep, and said: “The sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (verses 3-5).
“If those verses are true, then why do so many of us have trouble hearing from The LORD?” someone might ask.
We’ve been too carnally minded to pay attention—that’s why. We’ve been so spiritually dense we haven’t even noticed much of what God has said to us.
Clearly, if we’re going to live in the faith lane, we have to correct this problem. We must make sure we’re hearing God’s voice all the time. How? Proverbs 4:20 tells us. It says, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”
When God says, “Attend to my words,” He’s telling us to give His WORD top authority: to give it our primary attention, make it our priority, believe it above all else and obey it no matter what.
Gloria and I made a quality, once-and-for-all decision to do this back in 1967. We were attending one of Brother Kenneth E. Hagin’s meetings at the time. He asked everyone to stand who wanted to make a commitment to put God’s WORD first place and make it the final authority in their lives. Gloria and I jumped up with such force we almost knocked our chairs over.
We’ve kept that commitment now for 46 years. We don’t ever attempt to change The WORD to fit our lifestyle, or to twist it to fit what our flesh wants to do. We change our lifestyle to fit The WORD. That’s one reason we hear God’s voice in our spirits as clearly as we do. We haven’t plugged up our spiritual ears with a bunch of disobedience and excuses.
This is vital to remember: You’ll never hear the voice of God accurately and consistently until you have made an irrevocable commitment to do whatever He tells you to do, whether it looks like it’s going to benefit you or not.
“But Brother Copeland, what if He tells me to do something that’s too hard for me?”
No problem. With God all things are possible…and you are with God!
I first got a revelation of what that actually means by watching my dad when I was a little boy. He was a world-class salesman and he sometimes let me go with him on business trips. Again and again, I’d see him walk up to someone, shake his hand and say with confidence, “I’m A.W. Copeland. I’m with Draughons Business College.”
Eventually, he went into the insurance business, and then he came to work with us here at the ministry, but his approach didn’t change. He continued to say, “I’m A.W. Copeland. I’m with National Old Line Insurance Company.” Or, “I’m with Kenneth Copeland Ministries.”
Over the years, I realized what he was doing. He was not only identifying himself, he was identifying with the company that had authorized him. The company was bigger than he was. It backed him and made it possible for him to accomplish things he couldn’t on his own.
The same is true for you. You’re with God so you’re authorized and empowered by Him to do whatever He commands. Because all things are possible with Him, all things become possible for you too!
Stop Saying, ‘Yeah, but….’
Proverbs 4:20 gives us another key to clearly hearing God’s voice. It says, “Incline thine ear unto my sayings.” In other words, lean into His WORD, listen to it and receive it by faith. Don’t draw back from it and say things like, “Yeah, I know what the Bible says, but it just doesn’t work for me…I know it says to tithe, but I can’t afford it…I know it says to forgive, but you don’t know how badly I’ve been mistreated.”
The minute you say, “Yeah, but…,” you’ve stopped inclining your ear. You’ve shut out God’s voice and started listening to the devil and he’s going to rob you of your BLESSING.
Peter found this out the first time he went fishing with Jesus. You remember the story. Jesus had borrowed Peter’s boat and spent the morning preaching from it to the crowds on the lakeshore. When He finished, He said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4).
Instead of inclining His ear to what Jesus said, however, Peter argued with Him. He said, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (verse 5). Then, because he’d already washed his good nets and didn’t want to get them dirty again, he pulled out one rotten net and halfheartedly did what Jesus instructed.
What happened? Peter missed out!
Fish came from all over the Sea of Galilee, jumped into that rotten net, and it broke. Peter had to signal for his fishing partners to bring another boat and some more nets to haul in the catch.
Although the fishing trip ended in success despite Peter’s unbelief and disobedience, he personally didn’t catch a single fish. Instead, he ended up falling down at Jesus’ knees and saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (verse 8).
Apparently, Peter learned his lesson that day because the next time Jesus told him to go fishing, he listened. He didn’t argue at all, even though the second fishing plan Jesus came up with was more outlandish than the first. It involved fishing with an unbaited hook instead of a net, and getting tax money out of a fish’s mouth. (See Matthew 17:27.) That might have sounded preposterous to anyone else, but Peter didn’t care. He inclined his ear and believed what Jesus said.
In Mark 4:24, Jesus encourages us all to follow that example. He says, “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.”
In other words, if you want to hear (and keep on hearing) what God is saying to you, instead of measuring it with doubt, measure it with faith. Instead of saying, “Yeah, but…,” say “Yes, LORD, I’m listening and I believe!”
Eat Right and Keep Practicing
“But sometimes I can’t tell if it’s really God I’m hearing, or if it’s just me and my own thoughts,” you might say.
Then sharpen up your spirit by practicing your listening skills. Make it a part of your daily routine, especially as you’re reading The WORD, to draw your attention to what’s going on in your inner man. Put your hand over your heart and practice listening on the inside, rather than just listening on the outside.
You should also strengthen your spirit by nourishing it with words of faith. (See 1 Timothy 4:6.) Stop spending so much time feeding your carnal mind by watching all kinds of ungodly things on TV. You’re not going to hear God’s voice while you’re sitting there listening to people on television cuss and take His Name in vain. So turn that junk off and open your Bible. Listen to some good faith preaching. Spend more time meditating on God’s written WORDS and practice doing what Proverbs 4:21-24 says: “Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
This has always been God’s system. Ever since He created mankind in the Garden of Eden, He planned for us to hear His WORDS, receive them and meditate on them until we believe them with all our hearts, and then speak them so He can bring them to pass. Jesus lived this way when He was on earth. He said, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).
That’s the process of the kingdom of God. It works all the time for anyone who will follow it. Satan can’t change it, either. All he can do is change the words. So that’s what he does. He tries to get access to your life by getting you to listen to him and say what he says.
Don’t let him succeed.
Make a once-and-for-all decision to attend to The WORD of God. Incline your ear and listen to His voice in your spirit. Declare by faith, “I open my ears. I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and a stranger’s voice I do not follow. I’m tapping in every day to what He’s saying. I’m living in the faith lane!”