Hearing God’s Voice
Before I gave my life over to the Lord, I considered myself a Christian. I went to church nearly every week, practiced what we’ve affectionately termed the ‘holy days of obligation’ and basically looked like a Christian to the world. The key word here is ‘looked’ like a Christian.
Several years ago Andy Stanley did a message series titled ‘Christian’. You can watch the series here http://northpoint.org/messages/christian/brand-recognition/. In the opening portion of the first message, Brand Recognition, he talks about the definition of a Christian. He summed it up this way, “Christian: judgmental, homophobic moralist who think they are the only ones going to heaven and secretly relish the fact that everyone else is going to hell.” When I first heard that definition, it shocked me.
He goes on to explain that the term Christian was not a nice term, but rather a derogatory name used by none disciples of Christ when they referenced that group of people. I can think of many examples of terms used to slander individuals in society, none of them are nice. It was at this point I decided I no longer wanted to call myself a Christian, but a follower (an adherent or devotee of a particular person, cause, or activity) of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to watch the message, it is eye opening.
Today, more than ever, we need God’s people to be examples of Christ to the world. Time for us to stop doing church and start being disciples of Christ, there is a massive difference. Jesus said we are commanded to love God and love people, paraphrased from Matthew 22:36-40. Think about that as you go through your day and decide what name you want to be called…Christian or follower of Christ
Hearing God’s Voice
by Os Hillman
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. – 1 Samuel 3:7
Samuel was born to Hannah, a woman who had a deep commitment to God. She was barren, but she cried out to God for a son. The Lord gave her Samuel, whom she completely gave to the Lord for His service. After weaning him, she took him to the house of the Lord to be reared by the priests. Eli was the priest of Israel, but he was not a godly leader. He had allowed much corruption, including the sins of his sons, in God’s house. God was not pleased with Eli and later judged him and his household.
Samuel grew up in the temple serving God. He also grew up seeing the hypocrisy of Eli’s household, yet this did not change the young man. God was with him. We learn that even though young Samuel had a belief in God, he had not yet experienced a personal relationship with Him. God called to Samuel three times, but Samuel thought it was Eli, the priest, calling him. Finally, Eli told him to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9b). This is what Samuel did, and God began telling Samuel important things to come.
Many of us grow up in religious environments. We go to church every week. We have a head knowledge of God, but we do not recognize God’s voice in our lives. There comes a time when we must recognize God’s voice for ourselves. God does not want us to have a religion; He wants us to have a two-way relationship with Him. Samuel was never the same after this encounter. He would know God’s voice and would respond to Him in obedience.
Do you know God’s voice? Can you recognize it when He speaks? In order to hear God’s voice, you must be clean before Him and listen. Listen to God’s voice today and follow His plans for you.