John 10:4 – “His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.”
Fortunately, since football season is over, one of my favorite reality TV shows is back to relieve me from my football withdrawals. As the competition on “The Voice” elevates, it eliminates voices until we finally find the one voice that resonates as “THE Voice.” I love the competition and hearing all the different voices. Our lives are so similar in that there are voices always competing for our attention and our hearts. But in life, it is up to us to cast the deciding vote on “The Voice” that we will allow into our hearts and to lead us.
Several years ago, when I was the youth pastor for my mentor and his church, I became prideful (to say the least). I had grown one of the largest youth ministries in the state and became nationally recognized. Because of my pride (which I was not aware of at the time), I opened myself up to a critical spirit towards my Pastor/mentor. During this time people started coming to me pointing out the things that they disliked about our Pastor or did not agree with and I started agreeing with them. Pride always blurs our vision from seeing the truth. The truth was that neither I nor anyone else was our Pastor’s judge. Fortunately, through the voice of a close friend and Holy Spirit, I realized that I needed to share these things with my Pastor. My Pastor lovingly helped me see the truth of what was happening, and I cut off the competing voices to continue hearing my Pastor’s voice. I believe that decision from years ago is one of the most important decisions I have ever made. It has kept me healthy and able to continue in the call of God on my life (1 Corinthians 11:30).
Pride always blurs our vision from seeing the truth.
God brings people into our lives to speak into our lives, to help us, and bless us. But at the same time, we must be aware that if God can send people into our lives to help and bless us, then the enemy will send people into our lives to separate us from God’s leadership and destroy us. The enemy will send people that will distract us by stroking our ego and causing us to become open to the wrong voices. Jesus warns us of this in John 10:1 – “That anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate (Pastor), is a thief and a robber.” We must be aware of the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). As I had to learn, any voice that attempts to separate you from the Shepherd’s (Pastor’s) voice is divisive. The Bible is clear that division is of the devil (Jude 1:19).
If God can bring people into our lives so can the enemy
Over the years I have seen many people deceived and pulled away from following a true Shepherd (Pastor) simply because of the voices that they surrounded themselves with. If you surround yourself with the right voices, you will make the right choices. The opposite is true. Wrong voices – wrong choices. One of my mentors, Jim Rohn (who has since passed), used to say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” The Bible is even clearer on this point. Proverbs 13:20 – “He who walks with wise men will be wise. But a companion of fools will suffer harm.” We have all been there, just like King Saul. King Saul started out listening to the voice of God speaking into his life through the Prophet Samuel. But over time he became prideful and believed that he knew best without the man of God. Missing it is not easy to admit, especially when the seeming immediate reward (friends, acceptance, affirmation) of the wrong choice makes so much more sense in our current circumstance. Judas also had those initial feelings (acceptance, affirmation) after his wrong choice, but eventually led him to his death.
Wrong voices – wrong choices
When we cut ourselves off from the voice of God speaking into our lives through true Shepherds (Pastors), the voice of Godly influence becomes faint. Because we have listened to the wrong voices it becomes difficult to make the right choices. We must ask ourselves, who’s voice have we allowed into our hearts? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). When you cut off God’s voice through His chosen Shepherds (Pastors), you are removed from wisdom. People that have cut themselves off from a Shepherd’s voice become the people that the enemy preys on (1 Peter 5:8). When you are removed from a Shepherd’s voice, you start hearing other voices. The truth is, there are only two voices: God’s and the devil’s (Truth and deception).
Whose voice have you allowed into your heart?
We all need people around us who have God’s heart, who are spiritually awake. Meaning that they know what God is doing. We need voices in our life that are not foolish. That is why I am so appreciative of my mentor. He has listened and spoken into my life for over 30 years. Correcting me and holding me accountable when I needed it and counseling me when I needed to hear his voice of wisdom.
We need voices in our lives that are not foolish.
We need the voices of people who genuinely love us and will get into our business. “Why weren’t you in church this Sunday?” “Where were you?” “I missed you.” We all do better when we have accountability. In America and even in the church we struggle with this Biblical principle because we have the idea that in the land of the free no one has a right to hold anyone accountable. In Matthew 25 where Jesus taught the parable of the talents, the point was accountability. Proverbs 18:1 makes it clear that a person without accountability is rebellious. Accountability lets us know that we matter and that someone cares. My prayer for you today is that you will surround yourself with the right voices. I Love You!
Pointing People to Jesus,
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”