Let me ask a question. When you close your eyes, what do you hear? The voice singing in your earphones? Let’s stop the music and remove the earphones for a moment. Now try again. Close your eyes. What do you hear? The voices of young children? Of a mother speaking to her daughter, asking her to be careful of the hot food? The footsteps of children climbing down the stairs? Of men in office wear heading for their coffee break? The soft chatter of an elderly couple enjoying their kaya toast and kopi? The sharp clanging of glass cups and metal utensils? The urgent voice of the newscaster, bringing the latest news to the world? The confident and satisfied customer sharing about the new product that would revolutionize your life?
Now let’s see what we read online. Articles on how to get the next girl. How to impress guys. Life hacks that will improve efficiency and time. Cute videos of cats and dogs. More cute cat videos. How you can be the best person you can ever be. How to find your purpose. How to have more money. How to hustle. How to be an entrepreneur. Breaking news.
The world is full of opinions, voices that claim to know the way or the direction to go. The number of life hacks and self-improvement articles are increasing at an accelerating rate. In times like these when we are overwhelmed by the onslaught of information, we have a decision to make: whose voice do we listen to – the world or the still small voice?
The Bible is God’s word to us. Whether we choose to believe it or not, it contains all the answers to our questions. It is the manual to guide us in our living. Joshua 1:8 says,
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
If we believe it, then why do we hesitate to listen to his still small voice?
I know this all too well. Recently I was at the crossroads of my life. In the midst of my struggles, God called me and showed me that He was bringing me to a new season, a new direction. Even though I was excited, I hesitated. Questions about the future uncertainty and insecurity of job and finances arose. The voices of concerned people around me who struggled to understand what I was going through became even louder. The decision to listen to God’s voice became harder.
Perhaps my hesitation is because of the price that I needed to pay. The Bible made it clear in John 15:20.
“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey you also.”
When we choose to listen and obey God’s voice, all that rebels against Him becomes our opposition. When we listen to God’s voice, we may face some of these oppositions (and this is not an exhaustive list):
- ridicule and disbelief from others
- negative labels ie. psychotic, crazy
- constant discouragement ad disillusionment
- little or no support from others
- financial difficulties
- uncertainty in the next steps to take
And so, we may then be tempted to listen to the world’s voices as it provides the seemingly easier road of acceptance. It may even seem logical and rational.But we risk something great: missing out on God’s call on our lives.
But that is not the full story. With every obedience to God, we gain something greater in return. That is His promise of blessing. Choosing to listen to God’s voice leads us to the greatest adventure in life:
- we grow in faith and trust
- we see God coming true in supernatural ways
- we gain faith lessons like:
- trusting in His timing
- reliance on Him
- believing that He will come true
- He will provide
- His presence and grace is enough
- He loves
- we grow in intimacy with Him
As I reflect on this, I wonder: what is needed once I choose to obey the voice of God?
1) Courage to act and obey
Choosing to leave the certain for uncertainty requires a whole lot of courage. It also requires a whole lot of love and obedience to God. You may fear the uncertain and the unknown. Know that it is normal. Remember Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Remember Proverbs 1:7,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Knowing that we have a great and sovereign God who loves us intimately. Knowing that He has promised never to leave us. These will give us the courage to act and obey. Hence, courage to act and obedience driven by love are needed to follow the voice of God into the unknown.
2) Preparation to meet opposition and obstacles head on
People will never fully understand the journey that God is bringing us on. When they don’t understand or have the revelation, they will see things from their point of view and interpret it as such. To expect them to understand even after our explanation is honestly unrealistic and an expectation that is set up for failure. After all, this is our own individual faith journey together with God. Thus, be prepared to face opposition and unforeseen obstacles. They will come. It is a guarantee.
3) Close walk and communion with God
Moving out into the unfamiliar, uncertain and unknown requires God to guide and direct us. That can only happen with a close walk with Him. Knowing His heart and compassion brings us to people whom He wants us to minister to. Knowing His direction allow us to remain firm and strong in times of doubt and uncertainties.
4) Prayer against spiritual strongholds and warfare
When we move in obedience, we please God and bring Him joy. The enemy is not happy with that and will work against us to push us off the path. Pray to God against all spiritual warfare and strongholds. Pray with the quiet confidence and assurance of the authority and victory that Jesus had given to us.
One last thing: listening and obeying God’s voice is not a one-off incident or lesson learnt. It will keep coming back time and again throughout our entire lifetime. It will happen to the same area that He challenges us in, or to new areas. Our faith will be tested and deepened with each time.
I am aware that there are many instances where obeying God’s voice does not equate or result to a rosy outcome. There are countless evidences that obeying His voice leads to persecution, trials, threats and death. Hence, this needs to be clear: with every act of obedience, there is an act of surrender from us.
A surrender to God about my life and my outcome in life.
The control of my life and death.
My economic status and social status.
My well-being and my everything.
All these are placed in His Hands and surrendered wholly to Him.
It is a high price to pay.
A sacrifice to Him.
An act of worship and love.
A proclamation and declaration of lordship over my life.
Into His hands I commit and give my all.
Obedience to God doesn’t come cheap. It has this high price to pay. This sacrifice to make. Before we make any decision and action to obey God and follow Him, let us take heed and be aware of this first. Let our choice to obey be an informed and intentional decision.
So now, what will I do? I will close my eyes, listen to that still small voice, and walk.