John 10:4 – “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
Several years ago, when I was the youth pastor for my mentor and his church, I became pretty prideful (to say the least). I had grown one of the largest youth ministries in the state and became nationally recognized. Because of my pride (which I was not aware of at the time), I opened myself up to a critical spirit towards my Pastor/mentor. During this time people started coming to me pointing out the things that they disliked about our Pastor or didn’t agree with and I started agreeing with them in my heart. Fortunately, through the voice of the Holy Spirit, I realized that I needed to share these things with my Pastor. My Pastor lovingly helped me see the truth of what was happening, and I stopped listening to their voices in order to continue hearing my Pastor’s voice. I believe that one decision from years ago is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. It kept me healthy and able to continue in the call of God on my life (1 Corinthians 11:30).
God brings people into our lives to speak into our lives, to help us and bless us. But at the same time, we must be aware that if God can send people into our lives to help and bless us, then the enemy will send people into our lives to separate us and destroy us. The enemy will send people that will distract us by stroking our ego and causing us to become open to the wrong people. Jesus warns us of this in John 10:1 – “That anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate (Pastor), is a thief and a robber.” We must be aware of the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). As I had to learn, any voice that attempts to separate you from the Shepherd’s (Pastor’s) voice is a wrong voice.
Over the years I have seen many people deceived and pulled away from following a true Shepherd simply because of the voices that they surrounded themselves with. If you surround yourself with the right voices, you’ll make the right choices. The opposite is true. Wrong voices – wrong choices. One of my mentors, Jim Rohn (who has since passed), used to say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” The Bible is even clearer on this point. Proverbs 13:20 – “He who walks with wise men will be wise. But a companion of fools will suffer harm.” We’ve all been there, just like King Saul. King Saul started out listening to the voice of God speaking into his life through the Prophet Samuel. But over time he became prideful and believed that he knew best without the man of God. Missing it is not easy to admit, especially when the seeming immediate reward (friends, acceptance, affirmation) of the wrong choice makes so much more sense in our current circumstance. Judas also had those initial feelings (acceptance, affirmation) after his wrong choice, but eventually led him to suicide.
Wrong voices – wrong choices.
When we cut ourselves off from the voice of God speaking into our lives through true Shepherds, the voice of Godly influence becomes faint. Because we’ve listened to the wrong voices it becomes difficult to make the right choices. We must ask ourselves, who’s voice have we allowed into our hearts? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). When you cut off God’s voice through His chosen Shepherds, you remove wisdom. People that have cut themselves off from a Shepherds voice become the people that the enemy preys on (1 Peter 5:8). When you are removed from a Shepherds voice, you start hearing other voices. The truth is, there are only two voices: God’s and the devil’s (Truth and deception).
Whose voice have you allowed into your heart?
We all need people around us who have God’s heart, who are spiritually awake. Meaning that they know what God is doing. We need voices in our life that are not foolish. That is why I am so appreciative for my mentor. He has listened and spoken into my life for over 32 years. Correcting me and holding me accountable when I needed it and counseling me when I needed to hear his voice of wisdom.
We need voices in our lives that are not foolish.
We need the voices of people who truly love us and will get into our business. “Why weren’t you in church this Sunday?” “Where were you?” “I missed you.” We all do better when we have accountability. In America and even in the church we struggle with this Biblical principle because we have the idea that in the land of the free no one has a right to hold anyone accountable. In Matthew 25 where Jesus taught the parable of the talents, the point was accountability. Proverbs 18:1 makes it clear that a person without accountability is rebellious. Accountability lets us know that we matter and that someone cares.
My prayer for you today is that you will surround yourself with the right voices.
Pointing People to Jesus,
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”