Skip to main content

Let me be clear here...

What are the ways you are influenced? Where is it you turn to when you need to be updated on the state of affairs in politics, the weather, or the results of the football game? It used to be we had newspapers, but more and more of those have gone by the wayside. We used to huddle around radios and listen with intent as the latest events were crackled from the airways. Now we are likely to read our social media posts, quick one liner tweets, and updates on our 'electronic' news feeds. As times change, so do the ways we receive our influences in life. We might not realize it, but the things that need to have the greatest influence in us are actually being suffocated out of their place of influence by all the things that vie for influence in our lives today.

"Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he's up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it." (John 10:1-5)

We have many opportunities to listen and to respond to many voices each day. There are individuals we admire that speak words of advice - easy to embrace as a voice we actually want to listen to. There are individuals that are passing acquaintances in our lives - we listen to them, but are more selective in what we act upon when they speak. Then there are individuals that are only influential because of their position, prominence, or popularity - we'd be surprised how often we lean toward their voices without even realizing it. Each voice represents a unique place in our lives - some are more intimately "in tune" with the deep spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of our lives. That is what Jesus was referring to when he said the sheep hear his voice. As a matter of fact, they listen for it! Why do they know his voice? Simply because they have become familiar with it. It is a pretty well-accepted fact that we respond to what we are most comfortable with. If we are comfortable with the voice of Jesus, it stands to reason that when he speaks, we will respond.

Look at what Jesus says about the "other voices" we listen to:
  • They are deceptive - they don't come at you with honest intentions. There is an agenda in mind that is contrary to your good.
  • They are misleading - they promise one thing, but end up leaving you in a more chaotic place than you were in the first place.
  • They are not reliable - they are not only deceptive and misleading, but they cannot be counted on when the rubber meets the road.
The voice of God is entirely different:
  • It is trustworthy - his voice is well-known by his disciples. He comes with words that encourage, exhort, and direct. As he speaks, the words settle in deeply and 'bear witness' within our spirit. 
  • It is directive - his voice gives clarity, never bringing chaos or uncertainty. In fact, his voice is instructive to those who know him.
  • It is loving - his voice comes at times when we need to know his presence, oversight, and care the most. His words are those which uplift, keep us safe, and afford us the opportunity for shelter.
Today is an opportunity to clarify the source of the "voices" we listen to. The voice of God - simple, direct, and loving - comes at us "straight on". As our shepherd, he has direct access to our lives - no need to weasel his way into our lives because he has been granted open access to our hearts, minds, and emotions. If the voice we are choosing to listen to is coming at us in a forced, uninvited way, it is likely not the voice of God. There are many choices in life, but none so rewarding as choosing to listen to the still small voice of our loving God. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean