And now, for something completely different. I was first exposed to the “slumbering spirit” teaching by John and Paula Sanford somewhere back in 1990 when I visited John Arnott’s former church, Jubilee Christian Fellowship of Stratford, Ontario, Canada (John Arnott is currently the senior pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship). I have to admit that the teaching didn’t seem to ‘hit’ me at all that time — perhaps my spirit was slumbering just a bit too much! But seriously, I was further exposed to this teaching later on — perhaps three or four years later, when, in Ottawa, I heard a series of tapes, one entitled (I believe), “The Slumbering Spirit”, by Dan Chick, then head pastor of Dayspring Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This time, however, something happened. Honestly. I suddenly awoke to the fact that something “in me” was, well … asleep, dormant, … slumbering, in other words.
What is the “slumbering spirit”? Well, apart from both John and Paula Sanford’s definition (I never did go back to listen to the tape again, though I will someday), and apart from what even that pastor had to say on the tape entitled, “The Slumbering Spirit”, I can tell you for sure what God himself was speaking to me that day that I listened to the tape. It was a revelation for sure. And it went something like this (God speaking): “I speak to you all the time. But you only listen to about 10% of what I am saying. Because you don’t expect me to speak at certain times, when I do speak, you ignore it. A lot of it is built upon your presuppositions – you simply don’t expect me to speak.” That, basically, was the essence of it. Suddenly, after having listened to that tape, my spirit was “awakened”. And I must tell you the truth. I suddenly heard God speaking to me, “At all times”, through the quiet whispers of his Holy Spirit.
In other words, I had been raised in an environment (pre-Christian, and perhaps post-Christian, as well) in which I simply “did not expect” the Lord to speak to me. I was “on my own” so to speak. Now I have to admit, it is hard for me at this stage to “go back” and dig deep into my memory as to what I was doing at that time in my life when my spirit was “slumbering”, but I remember the thought very well when it came to me. “Wow! God has been speaking to me all this time and I have been ignoring him!” In other words, my predisposition of not expecting him to speak to me caused me to “filter out” many of the things that he was trying to say to me. I think part of it had to do with a sense of pride: “I can do it on my own.” Thus, I did not expect God to speak to me. After all, if I could do it on my own, who needed God? Thus, I think it was the ‘confession’ or the ‘realization’ that I was ‘blocking God’ that enabled me to then hear him. In other words, God honored that confession.
Do you have a slumbering spirit? Is it possible that, even though you have been a Christian many years, that you are inadvertently ‘filtering out’ a great deal of what God is actually trying to say to you, because you don’t expect him to speak? Please pray this prayer with me: “Dear Lord, I confess that I need you at all times. I need you in the good times, and I need you in the bad times. I need you right now. And I ask you to help me to recognize my need for you at all times. For according to your word, Jesus said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5). Lord, help me not to deny your word. Help me to realize that it is true, that, apart from you, I can do nothing at all. With this confession, Lord, I know ask you to open up my spiritual senses, to be able to clearly hear your voice at all times. For it is in Jesus Christ’s name that I pray. Amen.”