The most important things we need to hear will sound ridiculous when we first hear them. This is true for ourselves, our family, our region, and our nation. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:7). If I am going to experience something higher, I must believe something higher; and if I going to believe something higher, I need to hear something higher than I am experiencing
Consider Gideon: “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!’ Gideon said to Him, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?’” (Judges 6:12-13). Gideon might have thought, “This angel must be new to angelic prophetic ministry because that word is ridiculous. It does not make sense according to my past, present circumstances, and to my feelings.” We can certainly relate to Gideon, but the truth in this situation is that Gideon’s experiences and feelings were saying something ridiculous. (Read Judges chapters 6-8 for this inspiring story.)
Consider also Abraham when God told him this: “‘(Sarah) shall be a motherof nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’. And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’” (Genesis 17:16-18). If what we are hearing concerning our identity and our future is not laughable to us and to others, we are not hearing high enough.
What Abraham heard did not make sense to his natural mind. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Both Gideon and Abraham were tempted to reject what they heard because it did not agree with what they had experienced in life. Because of that, it was not logical and did not make sense.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corithians 10:4-5).
The greatest argument and high thing trying to exalt itself against the knowledge of God is past experience. It has been developed by our “senses” and can create limited expectancy for the future. It is what can cause us to think or say, “That’s ridiculous and impossible,” to the most important words we need to hear for ourselves, for others, and for our locations. We don’t deny the past, but we cannot get our beliefs from the past.
There are unimaginable, seemingly ridiculous things God has prepared for each of us. “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). As we lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) but allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to our spirits (not our minds) what God is really preparing for us, we will begin to experience that which seems impossible.
The highest things we will experience will not come through our logical thinking. Let’s look at this verse again: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). These highest things will be released through a manifestation of the Spirit. It is supernatural. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7-8).
So how do we practically apply this message:
Increasingly challenge what past experiences say are true with what the Bible promises.
Do not trust your first reaction to a promise, prophetic word, or someone’s vision that seems ridiculous. Certainly we need to submit the word to Scripture and godly counsel, but let’s make sure we don’t reflexively dismiss a word that defies logic or human reasoning.
Study the miracles in the Bible and recognize when a word of knowledge or word of wisdom helped cause them.
Make faith declarations over yourself and your circumstances.
Purpose to see others according to their potential, not according to their past. Then speak over people what you see as their prophetic destiny. (Note: we don’t discount the past in determining if someone is going to have a close relationship to us, but great influencers do have great beliefs about people.)
Study the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and learn how to operate in them.
Regularly pray in the Holy Spirit (tongues). “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:6)
Allow the powerful prophetic words for your future to inspire you to be faithful in small things now.
Say this out loud: The most important things I need to hear in my life will not make sense to me when I first hear them. Right now, God is revealing to me like never before my true identity and the things He has prepared for me.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.