When I was little, I’d always wonder how people would hear God. I was mystified when someone said “God told me.” I’d often ask, “How can I get God to talk to me?” Even now, I still find this topic interesting. My speech (which is going to nationals this next week) is about the silence of God. Now that I’m older, I realize sometimes it’s not so much a matter of God talking to me. It’s more about me listening. Just as your musical ear has to be trained to identify the right notes, your spiritual ear has to be trained to hear that still small voice.
Recently, a sermon called How to Hear From God by James A. McMenis in his Word of God Ministries podcast highlighted the importance of listening to the right voice. We have all sorts of voices in our head–good voices, bad voices, and our own voice. So how do you know which is which?
In the bible, God is often compared to a shepherd.
“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand Today, if you would hear His voice.”
“As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord GOD.”
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
And the list goes on, and on…
But here’s the point, here’s what special about sheep and their shepherd: Shepherds have the ability to guide sheep, because sheep follow the sound of the shepherd’s voice.
But you guys know this. So why bring it up again?
Something we have yet to look at is a shepherd’s reverse role: the butcher.
The shepherd tends his sheep. The butcher slaughters them. But what I find more interesting is how they interact with the sheep. The shepherd leads the sheep, because the sheep know the sound of his voice. The butcher drives the sheep from behind.
In the podcast earlier mentioned, this is the comparison James McMenis makes between God’s voice and the Enemy’s voice.
One of my most vivid memories of hearing God’s voice is, ironically, when I was rewriting my Silence of God speech. I was flooded with inspiration, and typing the words God had given me was pure joy. Everything in the speech just fell together so beautifully. I can remember other times when I followed God’s lead. I felt excited, in awe, at peace. That’s not to say it’s not scary or I always feel like doing what He says, like when I got the idea for my TeenPact speech, but I do always love the idea–sooner or later.
I can also recall times when a voice has driven me to do something, when I feel a sick, twisting sensation in my gut, when I do something good, because I don’t feel “good enough.” Guilt and fear are powerful motivators, and if God truly is Love, then He uses neither.
I think why you’re doing something is even more important than what you’re doing. Before, I’ve always asked myself if it’s a good thing I feel like I should do. Now I’m going to stop and ask why I’m doing it. Is it because I’m excited? Is it out of love? Passion? Or do I feel guilty and afraid? Whose voice am I listening to?
Can you think of a time when you’ve been driven by God? What about a time when you’ve been driven by the Enemy?