Do you identify with this image? I know I do. That may shock some people who read this because they know I have been in ministry, both as a lay-person and a staff member in churches, for almost 45 years now. Trust me when I say, “I know how you feel.”
There are always the voices… “go ahead, you know you want to,” and “is this really what God wants for you? Is this in God’s will?”
Hearing the voices is not the problem. The problem is deciding to succumb to one, or submit to the other. Do you see what I did there? Submission is where we yield our will completely to the will of God, knowing it is the best thing for our life. To succumb is to fail to resist some pressure brought to bear, some temptation that comes our way, or any other negative spiritual force that seeks only to ruin our lives and destroy us.
1 Peter 5:8
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
But the devil doesn’t always look like a lion does he? Especially to Christ-followers.
2 Corinthians 11:14
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
So, you see the problem right? Satan is really good at what he does, and so are all those fallen angels who succumbed to his leadership in rebellion against God. [Revelation 12:4] And if it is really hard to tell the difference (in appearance or voice) between the actual angels of light, and the fake angels of light (like fake news on the internet), then how do we discern which voice/message to heed?
Ah… now we’re getting somewhere.
Jesus told a great parable about Him being the Good Shepherd, and Christ-followers being His sheep. The answer to our dilemma is found in the Gospel of John chapter 10.
A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
I’ve heard the argument from other Christ-followers that they don’t know Jesus the way the original 12 apostles did, and they never could. Yet, I find this exactly backwards. In many ways I think we can know Christ better than the apostles, in a different way.
Sure they had Him for three years, and had a lot of conversations, observed many miracles, and were taught by Him directly. Yet they didn’t have one thing we have; a revelation of the complete picture of God’s will. They didn’t have the writings of Paul that give us doctrine and instruction for how to live in this evil world. They didn’t have their own personal copies of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets to pour over at their whim, discovering how all of these verses pointed the reader directly to Jesus as Messiah. They just couldn’t see the big picture of God’s mighty plan of salvation at work in them or the future.
But we do. We have the whole shebang.
So here’s the thing.
Shouldn’t we know Him better? Shouldn’t we be able to discern His voice and His will in ways that maybe they never could, because they didn’t know what we CAN know?
If you find yourself in a spot today, where you feel you are about to succumb to that negative voice of temptation or destruction, are you well-read enough in the WORD of GOD to distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd who wants to show you the way?
In this same parable Jesus says: John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Don’t let the deceiver steal your life away, by succumbing to his voice. Hear the voice of the Good Shepherd today, and follow Him. Run to Him. Find shelter in Him. Find life abundant in Him.
If nothing else, begin the journey again with Christ, and read the Gospel of John. Find out how Jesus answers your every need by saying, ” I am the…”