Friday, April 5, 2013

IS THAT YOU GOD? by Christie Smith

Is that You God?

Hearing God's voice above all the noise

Recently, I read this article about those voices we hear inside our head. You know the ones. The voices that continually echo as we are trying to listen to the pastor on Sunday morning or to our kids telling us a really long story about what they did during recess or while we are watching a movie. Our minds tend to involuntarily multi-task and constantly produce thoughts throughout the day. In this article I read it said that over 70% of the conversations we have in our head are negative. 72% of the time we are saying negative things about ourselves. We're saying stuff like "I'm not good enough" or "Why would they say that about me?" or "I'm just a failure today." So, basically, for every 10 words inside my head...7 of them are negative. Only 3 are good. A survey asked mothers to keep track of how many times they made negative comments, compared with positive ones, to their children. They admitted that they criticized ten times for every time they said something favorable. A three-year survey in one city’s schools found that the teachers were 75% negative. The study indicated that it takes four positive statements from a teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement to a child. (Institute of Family Relations in Homemade, December, 1986)

John 10:3-5 (MSG) "The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

The question is not "Is God speaking to me?" but rather "Can I hear Him?" First and most importantly, you have to know that you are a child of God because He speaks to every one of His sheep! He is speaking to you! John 10 doesn't say "they could hear His voice or can hear His voice or might possibly hear His voice." It says that His sheep KNOW and HEAR His voice!

So, why don't we hear Him? We live in a time of "media multi-tasking." We have tv's, radios, smart phones, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. So many things fight for our attention throughout the day. So much "noise." We have to make a conscious decision to "CLEAR THE CLUTTER." In this article I was reading, it said that 8-18 year olds spend an average of 10.5 hours a day focused on some sort of media outlet. 10 1/2 hours! Now before we "adults" get on our high-horse with the kids, the article also stated that adults spend an average of 8.5 hours focused on some sort of media. The kids are more about the texting and social network media while adults are more focused on TV. Regardless of what your "pit" may be, the fact is we clutter our mind and ears with so much outside noise that we fail to hear the inner voice that's speaking to us. We think of God speaking in terms of the booming, powerful voice we hear in Matthew 3:17..."this is my son in whom I am well pleased." But that's not how God speaks to us. We want Him to flash some huge message onto a billboard. He could do that, but probably won't. Most likely He will do what He said in John 4:23-24 

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”(MSG)

God doesn't have to use His loud, powerful voice anymore. He has given us His Spirit that lives inside of us once we become His child. The task is to learn to recognize it. To intentionally make choices to seek that Voice above all else. To worship Him above all else....above all media! One of the hardest things these days for people to do is to be still. But that's exactly what God tells us to do in Psalm 46:10. I love the way the Message puts it... 

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
 loving look at me, your High God,
 above politics, above everything.”

Step out of the traffic! That's exactly what all of this technology is ... "mind-traffic." It's time to start seeking His voice above ALL else, start allowing Him to influence us more than we let all the clutter influence us! Start letting Him give us the desires of our heart instead of letting the world give them to us. I've always misunderstood that verse, 

Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart."

It's not that if you desire nice things...a big house, new car, nice clothes...God will give them to you. It's that God will give you the right desires! If you seek after Him first and foremost, then the things that you desire will be the things that He desires. Your heart will be like His heart! 

So, how do we hear God's voice? Simple. We listen. He is speaking, but He's not going to yell over all the noise we cram into our heads. We have to choose to do things that will allow our minds and spirit to quiet. We have to shut off all the outside influences that are fighting for our attention. Media, multi-media, social media...all of these things are tools. The question is what kind of tool are they in your life and who is using them? Are you using them as a tool to help you grow spiritually and to help you encourage others to do the same? Or is it a tool being used by Satan to keep you from living the full life God intended? 

It's ok to drive without the radio on. It's ok to turn your phone off. It's ok to go one day without facebook or twitter or instagram, etc...And it's ok to go one night without prime-time TV to spend time with our families. Ask yourself, "Who or What am I worshipping?"

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