As many of you already know, my family is transitioning. My husband took a new job in another state, so we are in that place of half-packed, half-waiting-to-close-on-a-house-and-move. To help me through this time of flux, friend and author Jocelyn Green graciously agreed cover one of my blog posts. Take it away, Jocelyn!
Since I write novels, people often joke with me about hearing voices inside my head, but honestly, my fictional characters don’t “speak” to me that way. If they did, I may be a little worried. We hear enough voices as it is, don’t we? Our family, the culture, social media, etc. And as I’ve been preparing for the release of my second novel, Widow of Gettysburg, I’ve been steeling myself for a barrage of more voices from both critics and satisfied readers.
We can all use feedback and accountability in our lives, but when we are more concerned with voices of those around us than with the voice of God himself, something is seriously amiss. Today I’d like to share a relevant excerpt from my book Faith Deployed . . .Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Though this was written for military wives, the lesson applies to us all.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
“Why can’t Rob do it? He’s the husband. It’s his job.” The voice on the other end of the line crackled from five thousand miles away in righteous indignation, supposedly on my behalf. But on the inside, my spirit sank.
Before the phone call, it made perfect sense to me why Rob hadn’t done whatever task was in question—he was at sea. I had the time. Still, the conversation unnerved me. Suddenly, I was tempted to take her side (which seemed to be my side) against him.
Voices are powerful. They can encourage and guide, or they can cast doubt on the blameless and justify sin. Often, the spirit behind what we hear can be traced back to Satan or to God. We must discern the difference.
I have noticed Satan trying to discourage me with three recurring voices:
1. The voice of accusation. The example above falls under this category. Out of the blue, something I hear causes me to accuse someone of wrong. Instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt, I assume I know their heart’s intention, when of course I don’t (1 Samuel 16:17).
2. The voice of exaggeration. Exaggeration can be very convincing, because it starts with a seed of truth—but it’s still lying. Judy McChrystal, a veteran army wife of thirty-one years, reminds us, “We need to be more accurate about our feelings. This is hard, but I’m not dying.” Paul keeps exaggeration at bay in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
3. The voice of condemnation. When I sin or even make an honest mistake, this voice riddles me with guilt so I am almost paralyzed to do anything else. But God’s Word gives us freedom: Jesus says to go and sin no more (John 8:11). “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
These voices (among others Satan uses) should not be heeded. But thankfully, God speaks to us, too. How will we know when it’s Him?
Reread John 10:27. Lambs learn to recognize their shepherd’s voice only by spending time with him. It’s the same way for us. Priscilla Shirer says:
Once we enter God’s sheepfold and start to get to know him, intimacy builds. Eventually we come to know Him so well that we can know if He is speaking simply by asking, “Does this sound like God’s voice?” . . .God’s voice resonates within us because it speaks in a language that we, by the power of the Holy Spirit can completely comprehend[J1] .
Which voices seem to have the most influence on my thoughts and actions?
Do those voices line up with Scripture, or not?
Lord, I am bombarded with voices every day. Help me discern which voices are from the enemy. May I grow ever closer to You so that I recognize Your voice when You speak to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com
[J1]Discerning the voice of God, p. 184
Thanks, Jocelyn! I’ve had people ask me how I know when it’s God speaking and these are great thoughts! I encourage you to check out more by looking up the verses she gave us for yourselves.
Now, for those working on the contest to win a FREE copy of one of the Crossing books (mentioned on the June 7th blog post), here’s your question: In Ryan’s Crossing, Ryan and Amber reminisce about a year they went to camp together. What did Ryan bring home in his backpack?