by Pastor Tim Burt
There’s not a day in my life that goes by where the Lord doesn’t speak to me. I don’t mean in some mysterious or spooky way. He reminds me of a verse or opens my mind to its meaning. He flashes a picture of something I would have forgotten. He speaks to me through a Christian friend. I hear Him addressing something in my life through a sermon. He leads me to a verse that speaks the wisdom I was seeking. Somehow, because I am seeking to hear from Him and paying attention, He finds a way to talk with me.
Outside of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord as Savior, there is no greater privilege and honor than being able to hear and be led by the voice and spirit of Almighty God through His Holy Spirit. God wants us to embrace and learn to become thankfully confident in this privilege. Romans 8:15-16 NLT says, “So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.” For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.”
Anyone who has received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, has been given at that moment, God’s Holy Spirit to live and dwell in their heart as we see in 1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV. “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself?”
As a young excited Christian, I wanted to break away from all my sinful ways. Romans 8:7-8 NLT says it like this. “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Renewing my life to God’s word and learning to turn from my sinful life wasn’t easy. At times it felt overwhelming. But I was determined to please God and get it right. I was told about the Holy Spirit within me and could begin to sense God’s leading through the Holy Spirit as I read my Bible or through scriptures taught in my Pastor’s sermons, or through the counsel of Christian friends. God found many ways to speak to me. As Romans 8:14 NLT says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
It was critical then to learn to know and distinguish between the three voices that I heard—that we all hear speaking within us. I had the voice of my human reasoning going on in my head which is our mind and emotions. I had the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking and teaching me God’s word in my heart. And then there was the lying, deceitful, condemning voice of Satan trying always trying to confuse me in my faith about God, and lead me right back into a sinful life outside of God.
God’s voice is like that of the perfect parent. I grew up with great parents. They always wanted good for me. They gave me wise counsel. They corrected me when I was headed down a wrong path or had wrong thinking or a bad attitude. They encouraged me in everything that was good and right. They helped me in any way they could, whenever they could. That is how the voice and leading of God is, only exceedingly beyond anything parents could feel and know. God wants good for you!
You have your own voice within you. It’s the voice of your conscience—of your mind and emotions. What some call the soul. It is trained by your intellect and emotions—all the information and input through your five senses that feeds into your life on a daily basis. It is what you were led by prior to receiving Jesus and His Holy Spirit. That voice alone will lead you astray! I was and still am capable of wandering and going astray. We all are! Without the voice of God leading us, that is what we do. We wander. That is why Jesus had to save us. Isaiah 53:6 NLT says, “All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the guilt and sins of us all.” We will go astray without God’s voice and loving guidance. That is why God gave us the Holy Spirit—so we aren’t left to our own voice.
Satan’s voice? Jesus described him best in John 8:44 NLT by saying, “…He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” And John 10:10 TLB tells us more about the enemy of our soul. “The thief’s (Satan’s) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My (Jesus’) purpose is to give life in all its fullness.“
What is each voice that is trying to influence your thinking and actions speaking to you? Is the voice you are listening to leading you to be faithful or diligent or loyal or committed spouse, employee, or friend? Is it telling you its okay to call in sick when you are not? Is it thinking angry, or hateful or revengeful thoughts? Is it thinking about how to lead someone to Jesus or seeking about how you can be a better Christian? Is it speaking of restraint or encouraging you to please your flesh and satisfy every lustful desire? Is it telling you to check out that woman in the office that is not your wife or telling you that checking out porn on the Internet is just an innocent guy thing? Is it telling you that playing around on chat lines with someone you don’t know is okay? Is that voice trying to legitimize your sinful sexual life outside of marriage? In all these, check what the voice says by asking the Holy Spirit about it. Check your heart, your motive, and what the Word of God says, and you will know who you are listening to. There is no benefit in listening to Satan or those infected by his influence. There is little benefit in listening just to yourself. The benefit is in listening to the still small voice of God.
John 10:27 NLT says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” God will not accuse you or condemn you. He will not yell at you or raise His voice. He will not scream at or belittle you. He will speak to you in a still small voice if you learn to listen for it continuously. He will encourage you, teach you, reveal His love to you, lead you and guide you in every thought and decision you bring before Him. What He says will align with the Word of God in scripture and will help you discern those voices. When you learn to sort out these voices and discern the voice of the Lord, you have found one of God’s greatest treasures!
Psalms 95:6-7 (NLT) “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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