The Voice of God
In Genesis 3 the serpent approached Eve asking, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Eve engaged with the wrong voice. Satan was manipulating, twisting and distracting her and she was believing the lies. It didn’t take Adam and Eve long to change the course of their thinking. Just a few moments prior God had clearly told Adam the ONE rule, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden- except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Even though Adam and Eve knew what God said, Eve let her desires for beauty, food, and wisdom trump God’s voice and they disobeyed God. This is where everything changed, where sin entered the world. This moment reminds us the importance to know God’s voice and ask ourselves often “Who’s voice am I listening to?”.
Wait…. Does God Speak to Me?!
Before we jump into accessing who's voice we are listening too… I think it is wise to first ask ourselves, “Does God speak to ME?!” I think you would be surprised by the number of people who question if God speaks to them. Some of you may wonder how other people can boldly say that they hear from God, as you doubt your own ability to hear Him. When you find yourself in a pickle, instead of going to Jesus, you pick up the phone and contact that one person who seems to have God’s private phone number. I know for me growing up, there were times I called my mom and ask her to pray about something. Deep down I thought her prayers carried more weight than mine. She also seemed to hear Him really well, so I would lean on her rather than going straight to God. I would ask her, “What is God telling YOU?” and quietly discredit He would be speaking the same way towards me. Can any of you relate?
So let’s clear out the lie that God doesn’t speak to ME. Instead we need to agree with what Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 God does speak and He loves to speak to us! He speaks through His word, His small still voice, people, repeats, circumstances, sermons and worship songs. God speaks all of the time! Once you establish that He does speak, you can then start EXPECTING to hear Him. Ask Jesus to help you recognize His voice. This is one prayer request that He can’t wait to answer!
The Setting for Listening...
As humans we often operate in autopilot. In the day to day we zip through our routines, busy getting kids off to school, checking the boxes of our days, trying to get through another day. Busyness and distractions are the main culprits that blocks us from hearing the voice of God. We simply do not allow the quiet space in order to hear Him. Let us not forget that in the story of Elijah, it wasn’t until he was in a CAVE that he was able to hear the small still voice. A cave… a place where he was alone, nothing with him except silence and God.
Who’s Voice am I listening to?
Many years ago, I experienced a situation that was a crushing time for me, a time where all I would think about was THAT situation. All of the sudden I became keenly aware that my thinking was in overdrive. It resembled the ticker tape we are now seeing in the midst of the election results. These thoughts were running in a rapid pace and often these thoughts were not helpful thoughts. Actually, these thoughts were quite the opposite. I had “stinkin thinkin”. My thought-life should have been termed thought-death because the thoughts were NOT bringing me life. They were actually shaming, insulting, accusing thoughts that made me feel unloved and unwanted.
1 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” So we need to become aware of our thinking in order to throw out what isn’t from God. Matthew 7:16 says, “You will recognize them by their fruit.” I love this promise, as it teaches we will know thoughts or people by the fruit they produce. If your thought life is producing shaming, blaming, accusing, self condemnation, you know that this isn’t the voice of our Shepherd. Here is a chart that I have used for years. It helps highlight your thoughts and recognize which voice to “mute”.
Spending time reading the Word of God is essential in our walks with Christ. It is the place where we will learn of His character. It will help us to know what His voice sounds like. Let us always remember the importance of basking in His words, expecting to hear Him speak, and following what He says.