We hear a myriad of different voices in our lives, some are hugely influential for good. Others are bad and seem to haunt us no matter whether we want them to or not. Some build us up many tear us down. But here’s the question, whose voice are you hearing as God’s voice?
God speaks to us definitively in his word by his Spirit. That’s why we need to always being weighing and testing what is said and taught with God’s word. Does it measure up? Does it fit? That’s true whether we are in church, listen to the radio, or a YouTube service or sermon or a podcast. Is what is being said what God says? Does it fit with his Spirit inspired word. We need to be less gullible and accepting and more Berean; “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17v11).
But that’s equally true as we live life out of the voices we hear. It may the voice of a parent who drove us to perform, to do better. Who responded to our test score or 95% not with a well done, but with a ‘what was the one you got wrong?’ Who has left a legacy of perfectionism. Which means that the voice we so often think is God driving us on to do better, to be better, because we are just failures, is not God’s voice at all it is the haunting words of a perfectionist parent, not a God who is gracious and loving. The challenge is to stop that perfectionist voice and hear God’s voice instead as we weigh it up against scripture.
Ot perhaps it is the comment a church member, leader, or even pastor, who says something galatically stupid, makes – it happens more often that we might think. Which leaves us feeling like a failure, or guilty and crushed. If there’s a pattern of that then it needs to be addressed and dealt with and churches should have procedures in place to do so. But often it’s the little one off comment that hasn’t been thought through and isn’t meant to wound but becomes the primary tone in which we then think God speaks. Well if they said that then maybe its true, maybe I am wrong, maybe I am a failure, maybe I am not doing enough, maybe it is all my fault. We need to be more Berean, we need to measure what people say in light of God’s truth. We need to allow God dos peak to us in his voice from his word by his Spirit rather than let others speak for him.
We also, as a church, need to be more careful with our words. We need to speak God’s word to someone in the tone in which he would speak to them. We mustn’t confuse our thoughts and ideas with God’s words.