Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Above The Noise - Training Yourself To Hear His Voice

John 10:27 - Amplified Bible
The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.

No matter how hard my husband tried to get me to watch the Super Bowl with him the night before last I just couldn’t get into it.  I tried.  Oh, did I try!  The commercials were ok, but they were available online.  There’s just nothing appealing to me about men in tights running on an open, green field with a brown ball that has ever excited me. 

It was right before I decided to stop watching the game completely and go about doing something else that an instant replay caught my attention.  I’m guessing instant replays are always in slow motion.  I could be wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.  Just in case they aren’t I’m throwing in that little detail.  It’s key to exactly why I was drawn to look at this portion of the game.  I’m looking at the screen when I see one of the coaches yelling while the team is in the middle of a play.  Immediately my brain went into question mode.  “How is it possible for the player or players to hear the coach yelling with all the other noises around them?”, I asked myself.  The response was almost immediate.  “The player has probably had to train himself to hear the coaches’ voice.”  At this point all this question and answering is going on in my head.  I asked Ryan to pause the game, and without complaint or hesitation he honored that request.  I shared with him what I was thinking.  I knew he played football in high school so I asked him if it was possible. He confirmed what I already figured out.  He even went further to share that when he played in high school, he could hear his mother cheering for him from the stands.  The conversation then turned into a complete dialogue about how that could relate to us spiritually.  While we were talking John 10:27 came to mind.  “The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.”

I thought about all my years of walking with the Lord and how listening for the voice of my Father is something I’ve had to train myself to do through reading His word, listening during my prayer and quiet time, meditation, and just simply asking Him to speak to my heart sometimes.  I also began to think about the many voices we hear throughout life that can drown out His voice if we are not listening with purpose and on purpose. I wondered just how many avenues of noise there was during the game.  There was definitely the crowd.  The coaches.  Other players.  The referee. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed.  In my pondering heart it also occurred to me that the multitudes and variance of voices were not necessarily in their favor.  After all they were on the field with their opponents who had their own fans, friends, and family. 

I went into my sitting room, also known as the “quiet room” and began to recall the voices in my own life.  Whether it was the jeers of my Judas’ or the echoing accolades of my friends, I have found it of basic necessity in my Christian walk to only focus on ONE voice and that is the voice of my Father.  I leaned over and reached for my Bible and opened it up to a scripture in John 5.  Jesus had just instructed a man who had been sick for 38 years to rise up and walk and the man did so and was supernaturally healed as a result of his obedience.  It was the Sabbath so instead of celebrating this miraculous healing the voices in the wind that day were accusing him of violating the Sabbath and because Jesus declared in vs. 17, ”…..Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” that enraged his accusers all the more because he actually referred to God as his Father.  To them that meant Jesus was putting Himself equal to God.  I would like to believe that there were also other voices that day; perhaps the praise and thanksgiving of the man who had been healed.  Either way in vs. 19 Jesus takes it back to an all-important foundation – doing what He heard the Father telling Him to do.  “Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way.” How many times have you been about The Father’s business and you were criticized OR how many times have you, with clean hands and a pure heart, delivered a word or deed in His Name and heard the applause of man?  Regardless of which reaction you encountered I submit to you that the only thing that mattered, that is eternal in value where your participation is concerned, is that you were obedient in doing what Father instructed you to do.  Like Jesus, we must be so enveloped in Him that at any given moment we are able to hear His voice regardless of whatever other sounds, voices, behaviors, or opinions are going on around us.

In John 14:26-27 it is written “…..The Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.  Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]  He is so many things according to this scripture.  It sounds to me like the Holy Spirit is also my “Coach” in addition to the other attributes listed.  What is even more beautiful is that after telling us of His many traits He assures us that His peace is available.  He encourages us to not allow our hearts to become troubled.  He admonishes us to cease to exist in the shadow of fear. He also provides us with the security of the promise that He is our teacher and will help us recall all that He has taught us.

There are several voices surrounding me these days. But the only voice I desire, the only one I long for, the only one I depend on is His.  Be it the commendation of man or the disapproval of my enemy, my prayer is that I would, like Jesus, my Coach, be able to say boldly, confidently, and without fear or trembling “I am only doing what The Father is telling me to do.  No more.  No less.”

I am so glad I watched the Super Bowl last night.  Who knew that it would lead me to such a quiet place of remembrance of Him and the importance of always being in training to hear His voice and His only?  I never would have thought watching men in tights running down a green, open field with a brown ball would result in my faith being strengthened.  The importance of knowing in my heart that in light of eternity His voice is the only one that will ever matter in this game we call life was magnified beyond my natural human comprehension.  To sum it all up, I have the best Coach.  He’s never been defeated and I know for a fact that we win the championship!  Our Coach is the greatest Champion ever!