Jesus said that his sheep know his voice.
Prior to the last year or so I knew this to be true but I had never realized just how tangible his voice is. I grew up in a denominational experience that (at least in my perspective) nurtured the idea that God speaks only through a “still small voice” or the “peace of God.” It wasn’t until I came to my adult years that I truly encountered the person of Jesus Christ in my life. This was driven by many personal experiences, but precipitated by my reaching the absolute end of myself. In that place – at the edge of the pit – I knew that there were only two options. As I called out to the Lord, I knew that he would either answer me or I would plummet into that pit to the end of my existence. Even then, when I barely knew His voice, He answered me loudly – and immediately. That was a number of years ago, and it marked the start of my journey with Jesus. Prior to that event I just didn’t realize that I could truly hear His voice.
Since that first experience with the Lord, I have heard him many times, but still His voice has not been all that clear most of the time. How is it that “his sheep know his voice,” but we have such a difficult time figuring out what he is saying? I have realized more recently that there is just so much going on inside of my head that I often have a difficult time discerning who is saying what.
Have you ever considered just how vast your own inner dialogue is? A recent study reports that the average person speaks 16,000 words per day. With this in mind I cannot even imagine how many words we think. Recently I have been working through a healing prayer ministry. The idea is to allow the Holy Spirit to heal inner hurts caused by events and/or people of your past. Through the educational piece of this ministry, I have been learning a lot about this inner dialogue and where it comes from. There are so many factors creating a whole lot of noise.
Consider the following “voices” in your own head:
Your own Voice… not so simple when you realize that your own thoughts are based on truths, untruths, things others have said to you, things others have done to you, things you have learned and witnessed, things you have believed…this list can go on and on. Yes, we are talking about your own thoughts, but they are based on SO many factors and each of those things is also filtered through the difficult thing called perception. This complicated matters even more.
The Voice of Others… we are all tasked with weeding through the influence of others words and actions on our own lives. There is a song I love by a band called Sleeping at Last. It sums this all up for me stating, “We are made of love and all the beauty stemming from it, we are made of love and all the fractures caused by the lack of it.”
The voice of the Enemy… here we go, right? I don’t believe in some enigmatic force of evil that simply exists in the universe. No, I believe that there is a “person” – an Enemy – that is evil, and that this Enemy works to further separate all of human kind from our Lord and Creator. I do not think for a moment that just because I am covered by the blood of Jesus that the Enemy (or his minions) do not “whisper” into my ear as much as they are allowed to (consider Job). I believe that the dominion of the Enemy is at least a factor in the foundation of each of our belief systems, and that this begins long before any of us comes to faith in the Lord (consider our inherent sin nature). And don’t think I believe we can’t overcome this one – I believe that though we rejoice that are names are “written in heaven” we have “authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy.” (But we have to recognize the need and exercise the authority!)
His Voice…this is the whole point of the thought right? How do “his sheep know his voice?” It is not as if the Lord is speaking to us in an audible voice (not saying he won’t, but it is not commonplace). This is an inner communication through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So where am I going with this? I have come to realize that there is just so much noise in my own head. I believe Jesus when he says that I know his voice. I am one of his sheep after all. What I have come to realize though is that this is a matter of discipline. This is truly a matter of holding every thought captive to Christ. The only way I can know for sure if something I think is from God (or at least in line with the truth or His will) is to hold it up to the light –God himself. I have become better at hearing His voice, but have also come to realize that when He speaks to me about something that I agree with I hear His voice and KNOW it is him. Then there are those times when I hear Him, but I am not real thrilled with what I hear him saying and then I wonder, “Is that God or is that me?”
This is especially difficult when I am trying to listen to Him regarding the kids’ health and treatment. It is even more complicated when things are not going well in this area and when there are times of waiting and times of silence. Still, I trust in His word. I trust that I will seek him and he will be found by me.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
I have a really cool story to share concerning this concept, but I have no more time to write today. Next time I write I will share how listening to his voice multiplied $230 into $580 and provided some much needed peace about the latest “unknown” for the kids’ condition!