Voices In My Head

11 07 2010

Just reflecting on Brian’s message today (Proverbs 2). There were some BIG challenging ideas, but something small is bouncing around in my head just now; it has to do with voices.

Brian pointed out that there are different kinds of wisdom with different kinds of voices.

On one end of the line there is actually evil/false counsel. That is easy to dismiss if you are doing your best to stay away from evil but wait;  I am asking myself, “Would I recognize evil counsel if it spoke to me?” Of course I would; wouldn’t I?

Evil is not always obvious, you know. It is cunning and crafty and it isn’t going to ask me straight out to become an axe murderer. No, it will even use godly things to sidetrack me. For those whose hearts are turned towards God, it will lure us with what we are familiar with; with what we want God to sound like; towards where we want to go rather than where we ought to go. Evil’s voice is subtle; if it were loud it would scare us and we would run. Evil’s “wisdom” is just about there, so close to what might be right, shiny enough to hook us. It says, “Ah…just a little off. Perfect.”

I don’t want to be a little off. I don’t want to waste time being a little off and have to find my way back.

On the other end is there is Truth/God’s wisdom (and everything in between). God’s wisdom is really obvious (though we may not always like it, because it is hard). Brian pointed us to James 3:17 which says the Wisdom we ought to be crying aloud for is the Wisdom that comes from heaven.

What voices ring the loudest in my ears? Does God’s trump all?

I love that James gives me this measuring stick when it comes to advice (3:17) and how to discern what is godly and what is not:

  1. Is it pure? (chaste/modest, clean, innocent)
  2. Is it peace-loving? (bringing harmony, agreement, bringing peace with it)
  3. Is it considerate?(gentle, fair, just)
  4. Is it submissive? (accommodating, obedient, yielding)
  5. Is it full of mercy? (kindness, good-will, a desire to help, blessing)
  6. Is it something that would lead to good fruit? (productive, of benefit)
  7. Is it impartial? (treating something or others equally and without ambiguity, unwavering)
  8. Is it sincere? (not hypocritical, genuine)

As I am writing that list I am just so astounded by the wisdom contained in that ONE VERSE.  When someone sits down to give me a piece of advice or counsel or correction, I have 8 questions I can hold it up to and see if it is actually godly wisdom I am getting.

This reminds me of something Bill Hybels used to say when someone would approach him with “a word,” especially when that word was about pointing out what he should or should not do:

“Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will prayerfully take it into consideration and move forward as the Spirit leads me.”

Instead of getting yanked this way and that way by this voice and that voice, we can take anything anyone says, prayerfully take it into consideration, lining that apparent word of wisdom up with a passage like James 3:17 and ask, “does this sound like God’s leading?”

Brian closed the message with a word about submission/yielding fully and I had to think of myself and how I think I am that; I am submitted, I am yielding to God. But I had an image of my life being in the fingertips rather than the whole hand of God. Yes, often I live that way.  I am hearing him, I am following him, but sometimes I am just dangling in His care rather than fully in.

There are still many voices that capture my attention more than His. There are still voices that trouble me and trouble me when God’s voice is saying, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” (John 14:1)

Much could be said about trouble and trusting and listening and living (and certainly that was explored this morning) but, for me today, it all comes down to closing one’s eyes and listening for That Voice:

“Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.”

(Isaiah 30:20-21)

— Teresa Klassen




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