Whose Voice Are You Listening To?
~A teaching on the importance of discerning the sources of the differing messages in today's world~
Child of God, whose voice is directing your life right now? This is a question of utmost importance, because the voice you listen to is the one that shapes your life. The Bible tells us that there are many voices and messages in the world today (1 Cor. 14:10), and the one you choose to listen to will determine the course and quality of your very life.
One of the greatest struggles that growing saints experience is learning who to listen to. Many believe that simply going to church and listening to whatever comes over the pulpit with a whoop and a scripture is sufficient, but that's simply not true; many lives have been ruined before learning that not every pulpit voice speaks for God.
"But why is this important?" You might ask. "Voices can't hurt you, can they?" Oh, but they can, Beloved; oh, how they can hurt you.
The Power of Voices...
The Bible is full of stories about people who followed the wrong voice, missed God's blessing and ruined their life. The first generation of the children of Israel chose to listen to the ten voices of doubt instead of the two voices of faith, and as a result they missed out on the promised rest of God and wandered in the wilderness until they died. King David listened to the voice of his lust and had a man killed so he could sleep with the man's wife. As a result, it cost him the life of his infant son. And everyone knows how Adam and Eve listened to the voice of Satan and disobeyed God's law, bringing ruin and sin upon all of creation.
The point is clear, saints: the voice you listen to will determine the success or failure of your life.
Three Sources of Voices...
We live in a time when everyone has a message, a revelation, an opinion, a theory, and a point. Turn on the radio or television, and you can experience a hundred different voices with a thousand different messages, all of them trying to convince you to receive their words. Why? Because they realize that you are indeed going to listen to someone, and whomever you listen to will have great influence and control in your life.
Although there are many voices in the world, there are only three sources: God's spirit, satanic spirits, and the human spirit.
The voice of the human spirit can be heard everywhere -- in colleges and schools, newspapers, television, radio, music, and in church. It is a prideful voice, self-centered in its focus, seeking to please and comfort itself first and foremost. The voice of the human spirit is carnal, fleshly, natural and worldly, completely ignorant of the things of God, valuing man's intellect and desires over God's will, always seeking to replace the knowledge of God with a logic that makes man his own god. "For although they (mankind) knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles" (Rom. 1:21-23, NIV).
The voice of Satan is subtle and poisonous, becoming more and more blatant and bold as the return of Christ nears. Since the time of the Great Flood, there has never been such an obvious declaration of satanic doctrine and purpose in the world. Cults and false religions are rampant, deceiving millions; satanic cults flourish in many forms, teaching demon-inspired doctrines through many deceptive avenues: the New Age movement, psychic hotlines, white witchcraft, channeling, meditation, eastern mysticism, popular music, and much, much more.
But Satan is not content to simply speak outside of the Church; he has gone through great lengths to get his voice heard within the church. As we speak, the Church is being greatly assaulted by false leaders, false prophets, false brethren, false music, and false doctrine. Satan is deceiving countless thousands by false prophecies and miracles, and immature saints who have neither awakened nor developed their spiritual discernment are falling left and right, taking their families and friends with them. The great falling away of the Church is beginning!
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13)
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away from the truth, and shall turn to fables" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
The Voice of God...
Beloved, in all of this turmoil and spiritual upheaval, the only way to know which way to go is by listening for the soft, loving voice of God, for that is how He speaks to those He loves: with a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12). Remember this: love does not yell!
The Lord promises us that, despite of all the upheaval around us, He can still lead us in the right direction of life if we will listen and be prepared to obey! "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it...' " (Is. 30:21).
The Bible shows us that God speaks to us through dreams, visions, prophetic utterances, through His Word, and face to face (Ex. 12:6-8, Acts 2:17-18). In order to know when and if God is speaking, and not a human or satanic spirit, we must remember: God always speaks in line with Scripture; He never, ever contradicts His Word! Beloved, so many saints would recognize the Lord's voice and avoid deception if they would simply study His Word more! When we study the Word of our Shepherd, it will enable us to recognize His voice! "... When He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they will not follow the voice of a stranger" (St. John 10:4-5).
Child of God, whose voice are you listening to? Are you giving God twenty minutes a day in prayer and study, then giving Satan and man eight hours a day through television, worldly music, and carnal entertainment? If so, then you have not sanctified yourself unto the Lord your God (set yourself apart) and you will not hear the still, small voice of God, and you will miss it in this life! Beloved, let us choose LIFE and tune out the voices of the world and of Satan so we may listen for that wonderful, loving Voice that leads to eternal life and victory. Let His Voice be our choice!
~Pastor Ron Barnes