Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hearing Voices


The movie "I Am Legend" portrays a world that has been destroyed by a plague decimating the world's population.  In this post-apocalyptic, despairing world, the main character played by Will Smith, daily broadcasts a message of hope: "If there's anybody out there, please, you are not alone." 

This cry is the same that people need to hear today: "Friend, if you can hear me, please know this, you are not alone!"  This is the voice of God expressed through the Holy Spirit speaking to people all around the world.

I have found myself interested and saddened at the messages that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord have been saying recently.  The essence of what they are promoting is that God does not speak to people in the way that meets people on the street, in the midst of real-time life.  His is not a voice that can be heard in your car or when you are in the midst of an argument.  Instead, He is portrayed as One who has already spoken and all you need is to read about Him in the Bible. 

I am going to jump in here and say this clearly:  I too believe that the Bible is God's authoritative Word for life, the foundation of what He wants to express to people today.  But I also believe that in this Word God tells us that He still speaks to people with His voice.

In John 10:27 Jesus tells the religious leaders of His day this important message: "My sheep listen to my voice: I know them, and they follow me."  The Greek word for 'voice' here is phone (pronounced: fo nay), and its definition is 'a voice', 'a sound'.  It is used to describe language that is being expressed, and that is exactly what Jesus is communicating to these religious leaders.  He is saying that God speaks and that those who are followers of God hear this voice.

Of course we must be cautious that we don't listen to every voice that we can hear.  Sometimes we can be deceived and listen only to the voices and messages that we want to hear, and this can have very negative consequences in our lives.  But the danger of misunderstanding a voice is no different than misunderstanding the meaning of a passage of scripture that we read in the Bible.  In fact, it is because of this tendency of ours, as broken people who misunderstand and misinterpret voices and words, that we need a living God who actively guides and directs us to read and hear the truth and love of God that reminds us that not only are we not alone, but that we are loved and invited into freedom in Jesus.

If you are unsure whether you can hear the voice of God speaking to you then the best course of action is to learn about what that looks like in the Bible, and then actively pursue and develop the ability to hear God's voice speaking in the everyday rhythms of life.  Listen to the voice of God.  This is a clear invitation to all people straight from the mouth of Jesus, and a message that we all need to hear to encourage us that we are not alone.