Can the Church Discern God's Voice Anymore?

With all of the loud voices out there, it's a wonder God's children can hear His voice at all. (RobinHiggins/

The sun began to set on the Los Angeles home as dozens of party guests hugged good-bye, bringing the joyful celebration to a close. There was a puppy, Max, in the home who was not used to seeing the front door open. What looked like an opportunity to this young explorer soon turned catastrophic. Max dashed toward the door, not concerned with the many voices that yelled, "No! Stop!"

Before any of them could reach him, it was too late. He ran into the street and was killed. This young pup didn't die because no one was telling him to stop. Max escaped through the door because he could not discern his master's commands over the chaotic shouts ringing in his ears.

The fundamental principle you teach a puppy is to detect and recognize its master's voice, so it will trust and obey only their instructions. There's a lesson in this parable for us too: What voice have we, the church, been tuning in to?

As followers of Christ, living by faith, we should be able to recognize the voice of the one who died for our sins and rose from the grave, the one who is seated at the right hand of the Father, telling our story, making intercession for us. He knows our story, and He knows our voice, but do we know His?

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The voices in our society are deafening. They scream of evil, fear and deception. They entice us to pursue a path and purpose separate from the will and ways of the God who created us to participate in His plan. If we let the commotion of our world keep us from discerning our Master's voice, the results can be catastrophic.

But you can avoid the lure of these sirens' calls. In this time of great darkness, where evil abounds, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7). We have the power to hear His voice, love to trust what He says and a sound mind to obey.

In Revelation 3:13 it is written, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." And Isaiah 30:21 promises, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." What have we to fear, with promises like these?

As ministers it is easy to get so focused on what God wants to say through us to the church and to the unchurched that we forget to pay attention to what God wants to say to us for our own edification and intimacy with Him. We can become so accustomed to gathering information and passing it on, like a conduit, that we fail to discern what words are meant for our growth and benefit.

If we are not careful to engage personally with God and to cultivate a life-giving relationship with Him, then over time. the voice of the Spirit can become just another source of information for us to assimilate and share, another soundwave in the noisy din of our lives. God wants better for us. He doesn't love us because He can use us; He loves us because we are His.

It's time to lean hard into the practice of listening for God's voice. It will both enrich and save our lives.

You're beautiful. I see Jesus in you. Have a great week!

Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the Book of Hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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