Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Be certain it is God speaking

A while back I wrote a post about discerning the voice of God.  I've struggled with "hearing" God speak to me.  I guess I have a problem with it because, for some reason, God's voice sounds an awful lot like my voice.  I mean, he has a Chicago accent and everything.  Sometimes, I swear, I believe God says to me, "Go ahead, you can eat that donut."  I wonder if the others who say they hear God telling them to do something hear God speaking with a Chicago accent?  I mean, God has been accused of telling people to do some crazy stuff.  I've heard of people who do horrible things under the guise of saying God was telling them to do something.  They've killed their children or raped somebody or shed someone's blood or tried to sell their house as a short sale so they could live in a bus.  I'm pretty skeptical that God was telling them to do these things.

I've watched people who are absolutely certain it is God telling them to do some crazy things (not crazy like hurting or killing someone, but pretty darn irresponsible) and watched door after door slamming in their face, but they are still certain it is God's will (not their will) to quit their jobs or move or go into debt or whatever.  I guess they really believe God wants them to put themselves into bankruptcy or jail or whatever.  Really?

I found this Story Of The Remote Employee by Sandy Gregory on the blogs while looking around for information on hearing the voice of God.  (I just finished studying Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”and Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" So I know sometimes God does speak so EVERYONE around can hear him.  I wish that happened around me.  A little confirmation would be great.)  This story is so good as an analogy for discerning whether or not it is God speaking or somebody else.

Imagine you are hired to open up an office in Anchorage, Alaska. Your new boss gives you a high-tech looking two-way radio, a policy and procedure manual, and tells you that you will receive instructions once you arrive, and off you go. Upon arrival you hear your boss's voice over the radio, saying, "I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes." "Oh no!" you panic, "Then how will I know if it is you or the enemy giving me instructions?"

Your boss's voice comes back over the radio: "Three ways. First, considering the situation, check every message supposedly from me against the policy and procedure manual. Since I wrote it, I'm not likely to ask you to violate it, right? Also, if I am not talking, don't focus in on the noise, pretending that I am. If I am not speaking, let the manual be your guide. Don't let any impersonating voice mislead you, or your own overactive imagination."

"Second, since the Manual does not cover every situation, you will have to get to know my voice. I know, this will take time, and so I am not likely to ask you to do anything radical until we both have some low-risk successes under our belts. Remember, I understand the situation perfectly well, so I'll go slow at first. A time will come when I will be able to tell you to do the wildest things, and you will know it is me. In the short-term, you must be trained through low-risk experience."

"Third, over time, my overall purpose for your work will begin to come into focus. You will begin to see the grand strategy in the policy and procedure manual, and the overall pattern of my true instructions. When this happens, you'll know instantly if what you hear through your unit is 'of me', just your imagination, or enemy misinformation. False instructions will begin to appear silly to you then. So take heart, and get to work."

After reflecting on this a few moments, you hear your boss's voice again on the radio unit. "Take all of the money from petty cash and give it the next person that walks in, no questions asked." Hmmm... You look in the policy and procedure manual, and this is specifically forbidden. Besides, you know your boss wouldn't tell you to do something that risky right off. And also there was an certain "twang" to the voice, an appeal to something different within you, and a plan that was not in the long-term interests of the company. So, even though you are on a hostile channel, you are beginning to have hope that you can indeed do this job.

There is the rub.  This world is a hostile channel.  You don't even have to believe there is spiritual warfare all around us.  You don't have to believe there are fallen angels seeking to tempt us and turn us from the narrow path.  You can have confidence that this weak body we inhabit wants what it wants when it wants it.  I think that may be why God sounds so much like me.  Do you think it's my will I'm listening to?  Ya think?

To get a handle on whether or not it is the voice of God you need to check the manual, often, and learn the policies.  (It's THY will be done, not MY will be done.)  Learn the sound of God's voice.  (I'm thinking this is going to take time.  Maybe this is why he waited until Abram was 75 before he told him to leave Ur.)  Finally, we need to fully grasp God's overall purpose for our lives.  Wherever you are, God has put you there. God has a purpose in your being there.

Be careful when you tell yourself you are following the will of God because God is talking to you.  There is a good chance you may be following someone else, or as Flip Wilson used to say on Laugh-In, "The devil made me do it."  (ask your parents)

499.  I can quit my job any time I want to (and today I'm coming awfully close)
500.  My computer still works (I spilled my soup on my keyboard)
501.  My mom is still fun to talk to (she didn't remember my wedding day, but that's ok, she still remembers her own wedding day)
502.  Capturing summer goodness in freezer bags and canning jars

Flip Wilson


  1. Elizabeth StewartAugust 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    This was a perfect illustration on hearing the voice of God and I will definitely be sharing it!

  2. ha i actually know who flip is...smiles...i figure if god wants to get my attention as well he'll send multiple sources...when i went into ministry i heard it from so many i lost track....

  3. I have a friend who always asks God to give her a clear sign. She told me this once and I started doing it. I tell God "give me a clear sign, so I have no doubt that it is you." If I think I made a mistake I say "I told you to give me a CLEAR sign!" ha!
    I think that praying often helps us really understand if it's God or something else. I'm starting to pray every night again.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5.  I think praying is a great way to get to know God better.

  6. I know I'm hearing God if He's asking me to do something for someone else...especially if I really don't want to do it. I find God to be relentless, even pesky...also grammatically correct. My voice, in my mind, sounds rednecky: God's, never. But don't take my word for it; everyone knows I'm a little out there.

  7. I think we are out there, together.  :)

  8. I think discerning God's voice is always tricky...for me anyway.  He truly has a small, still voice!  The good news, I think, is that even if we are misled, He can still use those choices from something good.  So, if we seek Him w/ a pure heart, we will be OK, no matter the path. 


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