Sometimes Speakers Forget the Holy Spirit

Recently I stumbled over a verse Paul wrote. Why? Because it stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve spent the last year honing my speaking skills, getting coaching, hearing hard feedback, seeking advice. All good stuff, mind you. But then I read this:

“I may be unskilled as a speaker but I am not lacking in knowledge.” 2 Cor 11:6, NLT

Whoa. Wait. Paul was unskilled? The man responsible for a bulk of the New Testament wasn’t an eloquent speaker? He didn’t use the right methods? He stumbled over his words?

Read on in another passage if you don’t believe me:

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much tremblingMy message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Oh dear Jesus. Help me! While I believe it’s always good to strive for excellence, and I believe that preparing beforehand is an indication of your love for your audience, I cannot turn my back on Paul’s words. I’ve found them to be true this past year. When I let go, got rid of all the speaking critics, and truly laid down my words before the Lord, that’s when His spirit empowered the message. When I fretted about the message, its mechanics and delivery, it thudded.

Have you encountered either scenario?

  1. A humble person shares a simple testimony and you’re rocked to your core.
  2. A skilled speaker delivers a canned speech he’s given 25 times. It almost seems like he is performing it.
I know Paul would applaud the first. Why? Because sometimes speakers forget the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they (me included) can forget it’s far less about the message’s perfection than it is about being a humble, submissive listener–one who gets out of the way so God can share His message through you in HIS power, not your prowess.
If you’re a speaker, please take these words seriously (not mine, Paul’s). You have a sacred duty to be connected well to the Holy Spirit. Your greatest messages are often delivered in your greatest weakness, not your technical genius. Feel free to share this message with other speakers. Participate in the comments. Wrestle a bit. I know I am.
I wonder how many speakers will get to heaven and watch their spoken words burn in the fire of God’s refinement. How many will remain? How many times will we fill a slot with words, yet devoid of God’s power?
Lord, I pray for me and I pray for other speakers that we would not glory in our presentations or our natural gifting to communicate, but that we would glory in You. Forgive us for manufacturing messages instead of waiting on You and hearing Your heart for an audience. Help us to be interruptible, always willing to change message even if it’s embarrassing or inconvenient or hurts our career. We want to be speakers with Your power. Forgive us for leaning on our own. Amen.

q4u: What was the most impacting speaker you’ve ever heard? Why?

 

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