Whose voice leads you?
Infants begin life under the influence of parents, and then grow up hearing family and friends. Intermingled with familiar voices, the world speaks volumes of ideas that are embedded in our minds, hearts and souls. Except we are trained in our thinking, we become the voice of the world. Our voices echo what is processed through our minds. Processing includes the foundational ideas from our childhood by which we compare all new information.
What we see, read, hear, and repeat through the years become our basis and voice of truth.
The Voice of the Majority
The voice of the majority is one of discontent.
The voice of contentment is rarely heard and known except from those who hear this voice within them. This voice, however, is not a self-produced voice, but the still, small voice of our heavenly Father and Creator. Contentment is not found in the voices and the noises of everyday life, as we know it. It is the voice of the new heart, new spirit, and new life that is ours in Christ, spoken by the Holy Spirit, kept alive through the reading, and hearing of God’s Word.
The Voice of the Oppressor
The voice of the world is the voice of Satan, the oppressor. If you have been with us from the beginning of A Year for Contentment, you may remember that we started with the two extremes in Born for Contentment. Oppression and contentment are the voices that God’s children hear every day. Either one has the power to drown the other. The voice of contentment must be practiced if it is to overcome the voice of oppression.
God said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” Genesis 1:3
Eve listened to the voice of Satan, the voice of the oppressor, so as to put out the light and to silence His voice.
After the promise of restoration in Genesis 3:15, God sent His prophets to voice His Words. Moses spoke God’s Words to His people.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19: 5-6
“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:2
These and other passages speak of the blessings and contentment that come to those who hear and obey God’s voice. There are also those that speak of the curses that come to those who do not obey His voice. This is what we see and hear in the world, from generation to generation.
The writer begins the book of Hebrews with these words, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:1-3
God’s people would not listen to the voice of the prophets. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day would not listen to Him and their voices influenced the people. They were accustomed to the voice of the enemy and did not recognize God’s voice through those whom He sent.
Jesus’ voice still speaks today by His Spirit and His Word, and His is the voice of contentment. The voice of contentment is the voice of LIFE, life in Christ. In John 6:63, He said to the people, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
The voice of oppression says, “More, more. Give me more.”
The voice of contentment says, “Christ is enough. He is all I need.”
Ministers today must speak warnings against the voice of the world. They are called to be the voice of the gospel, of truth that brings contentment in a world of oppression. Repetition is what keeps either voice alive.
Do we continually listen and share what the world is saying and doing? Does the world need our voice to speak of its oppression? Or do we, as those of God’s kingdom and family, voice His words, words that inform and encourage others by our contentment; a voice that draws others in obedience to Him?
“Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored,
and they shall not be small.
God, our Father has given us voices to speak for Him, to praise and honor Him, and to witness of His grace and glory. Are we using our voices to share what He has given us?
“Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3
“My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.” Psalm 71:8
“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.”
Gracious Father, forgive us for voicing the words and actions of the oppressor. Work in us your voice of thanksgiving and praise, from a heart of peace and joy in Christ our Lord. Enable us to share your kingdom of grace with our family and others around us. While others speak the voice of the world, let us respond with the voice of your kingdom. Fill us with your Spirit of contentment that draws others to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen