This question has been one that has stirred within me now for about eight months. From the first time I heard my friend pray these words over me back in January, I have not been able to get this thought out of my mind. I have not been able to shake this conviction, and to be honest with you, I don’t want to.
It doesn’t need to be said that we live in a world that in every way competes for our attention, affections, and ultimately for our lives. The voices of social media, the news, politics, religion, family, friends, and career are just a few that seem to secure the top priorities in our lives, and before we even realize it, we have allowed the neutral things in this life to replace the divine. The more we feed ourselves with the voices of this world, the more silent God’s voice becomes in our lives. And the more silent God’s voice becomes, the greater the void becomes in our hearts.
So, how do you know? How can you be sure whether or not God’s voice is in fact the loudest voice in your life, the one directing you, guiding you, leading you, equipping you? This is exactly the conversation I want to have with each of you today. Let’s do some soul-searching together, shall we? Let’s dig deep to the places where we allow the busyness in our lives to cover, and let’s invite Jesus Christ back into those places.
Join me today in asking yourself these pointed and revealing questions.
#1—Who are you crying out to?
Now, before you dismiss this question as emotional in nature, give me a minute to explain. I’m not necessarily talked about shedding tears. Trust me, I’ve heard the stereotypes just as much as you have that women are emotional, but here’s the thing: not all women are emotional, and this conversation of “crying” turns many of us off. So, let me be clear in saying that shedding tears is NOT what I’m referring to. What I am referring to is what is stated in Jeremiah 33:3:
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (ESV)
What’s interesting about in-depth Bible study is that when you take the time to dig a bit deeper, you will find that you’ll uncover treasure. In our modern day English translations, we see the word “call” in Jeremiah 33:3. In reality, if you and I were able to read the original Hebrew in which this verse was written, we would see and understand a deeper meaning to this word “call.” You see, what is actually implied in this verse is a desperation in calling out to God. It reflects a deep need. When we find ourselves desperate and in need, the urgency in our tone typically reflects it. So, again I would ask you this question:
Who are you crying out to?
Who do you find yourself defaulting to in time of need? Do you call out to your friends first? To your family? To social media? Or do you default to calling out to God FIRST in your time of desperation and need? The temptation for all of us is to turn to the tangible. We want flesh and blood. We want someone we can reach out and touch, and in that, God’s intended first place in our lives gets bumped back to second, third, fourth… Can you see where this is going? Who informs you? Who instructs you when you need to know? Is it God and His Word or everything else first? Which leads me to the second question:
#2—Who or what is supreme authority in your life?
If you’re anything like me, you may want to resist answering this question. Here’s a confession from me, and something that I am not proud of, but here goes: I have always had a hard time with authority. I like to be in charge. I prefer to be in control, and when someone or something assumes that position over me, I find it hard to submit to that authority. Just me? I didn’t think so. Here’s the deal when it comes to faith, though. God wrote a book, and He addressed it to all people. He didn’t make any mistakes in it, because He does not mess up. He gave us commands and promises within it, not suggestions. He set out boundaries for us to serve as our protection. The problem is when we try to rewrite it to suit our own wants, desires, or concerns—when we try to instruct it as opposed to allowing it to instruct us. Let me show you in Scripture what I’m trying to say:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)
Here’s what this verse is saying—Every word of God’s Word is inspired, useful, beneficial, and most importantly, it’s necessary. It IS our highest authority. It is supreme over all human wisdom, understanding, and reasoning. But here’s what we’ve done with it instead. We’ve started to approach God’s Word as if it were a buffet, a table of options where we pick and choose which parts taste the best to us. When we approach God’s Word this way, we can be certain that His voice is no longer the loudest voice in our lives.
Here’s the call for you and I today: Cry out to God first, then to others. Prioritize His voice in your life, and it will be the loudest. Submit yourself to His authority first, then to others. Humble yourself under the instruction of God’s Word, and stop assuming that you are in some way above it. It is the highest authority in the land. It provides direction for our lives. It is God’s Word, and He didn’t make a mistake.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)