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Many voices to choose from
- Jacob Ninan
Do you hear voices? Of course, we do. I am referring to the 'inner' voices that we all hear. They come from different sources. They may be our own ideas putting into words what we would like to hear, or ideas we have got from others which are playing in our mind. They may be from from our conscience, or God seeking to guide us. Or they may be from the devil trying to fool us. It is our responsibility to choose. Whether we realise it or not, all of us choose one or the other voice.
As Christians we say we want to obey God and do His will. But many times we don't know His will for us. Jesus said that we could understand God's will if we were really bent on doing it (Jn.7:17). Jesus could always hear His Father's voice because it was clear for Him that He was always going to do the Father's will and not His own. Maybe we are not so firm about this. The question is whether we are sure that if we knew God's will we would definitely do it.
There are several checks that can tell us that a certain voice is not from God. If it is prompting us to do something sinful, or if is contrary to God's instructions in the Bible, we can be sure it is not from God. The more we understand God's ways from the Bible, the clearer this distinction will become.
But what if the voice quotes the Bible? If the devil quoted Scripture to try and fool Jesus, he can do the same with us (Mt.4:6). We also can misquote the Bible. See if the quotation is in the right context, and in agreement with the spirit of Christ.
Are we being prompted to do something stupid and against common sense? This is a particular danger for those who have made up their minds to obey God at any cost. One of the things the devil suggested to Jesus was to jump off from the top of the temple (Mt.4:6).
Can we feel a strong pressure behind the voice, threatening us with dire consequences if we don't act immediately, even though we are not too convinced about what is being suggested? Take care, it is not from God. He is not the type who will force us to do anything. It is another thing if we know what is the right thing to do and God reminds us about doing it quickly.
If what comes up in our mind is clearly according to the Bible and the spirit of Christ, it is easy to decide. If it is not against the general direction of the Bible but it is still not clearly instructed there, we need to understand the mind of the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit. This discernment takes time to learn (He.5:14).
Of course we may make mistakes while we are learning to make distinctions among these voices. But be sure that if we are sincere in wanting to do God's will, God will protect us from making fatal mistakes (Ps.37:23,24).