Do you know what I have found is the hardest thing about hearing God’s voice? It isn’t getting Him to talk. It isn’t wondering if you made it all up. It isn’t the fear of a demon somehow talking to you instead. It isn’t even worrying about whether your churched friends will fear you’re a heretic and your unchurched friends will think you’re a lunatic.
It’s having to obey Him.
Because if you start hearing God’s voice, you will find out whether or not you really want Him to be in charge of your life, and you will find out fast.
In the post on the Holy Spirit, we talked about how life with the Holy Spirit should be like living with Jesus would be. We talked about the joy of waking up everyday to say ‘Good morning!’ to Jesus and eating breakfast across the table from Him and then walking by His side to tackle the day together.
There’s just one thing I forgot to mention.
If Jesus lived with you like that, He would often tell you what to do.
Would you be OK with that?
To be a follower of Jesus is to say, “Jesus is Lord.” That funny religious-sounding word ‘Lord’ means Boss of my Life. To say “Jesus is Lord” is to say, “I am putting my life under Jesus’ authority. He will be my Commander. When He speaks I will salute and say ‘yes sir’ and do it. He will be my King. When He commands I will bow and say ‘yes Your Majesty’ and do it. I will say ‘no’ to anyone and everything else, including myself, in order to always say ‘yes Lord’ to Him.”
And if you say “Jesus is my Lord” and then you start hearing the Voice of your Lord, you will quickly find out whether or not you really meant it.
I thought saying “Jesus is Lord” meant I got to figure out on my own how, when, and where I wanted to apply the principles of a well-written Book from God and that God would never dare to tell me to do anything not expressly stated in that book. I thought that Book was like the Magna Carta, a document limiting the power of the King, or like the US Constitution, defining God’s rights and mine. It defined the limits of what God was and was not allowed to tell me to do. If something is not expressly forbidden or commanded in the Book, it’s not a sin to do it my way.
I thought that saying “Jesus is Lord” meant that I must not do a bunch of things I didn’t want to do anyway, like steal or swear or try drugs. I thought it meant I needed to please the church community around me by doing all the things I did want to do anyway, like please people and avoid conflict and never say ‘no’ and stay in my comfort zone.
And if I was reading the Bible every day and going to church every week and keeping all the rules and wanting to, surely Jesus is my Lord, right?
What if Jesus walked into the room and told me to do something that I didn’t want to do? Would I say “yes Lord” and obey? Or would I freak out?
Starting to hear God’s voice was like that for me. It was like Jesus walking into the room and starting to issue commands. And I didn’t like it one bit. It wasn’t what I thought I had signed up for. I thought I had signed up to obey a predictable book, please a human community, and do whatever I wanted with my free time. I wanted Jesus’ Voice to go away.
Not only was I rebellious, I was terrified. Starting to hear Jesus’ voice exposed that while I knew so much about Him that I could answer all the questions correctly in a Sunday School class above my grade level, I didn’t know Him well at all. I didn’t trust Him to have only good ideas if He started running my life. I had no idea what He would tell me to do.
And the enemy was eager to supply me with bad “what if” statements. “What if Jesus tells you to go to the workplace banquet in your pajamas? Would you do it? You’d have to, if God said so. You don’t really want to hear His voice do you? He could tell you to do anything and then it would be a sin not to do it.”
Jesus has never told me to go to a banquet in my pajamas. He might tell me not to; I’m not sure because I’ve never tried. If I did try, He’d probably laugh and feel my forehead with His gentle pierced hand to see if I had a fever He needed to heal. He’s nice like that. I know that now. But I didn’t know that then. I only found out how nice He is through obeying Him. I only learned to obey Him by experiencing for far too long how miserable my life became when I didn’t.
And so the hardest thing about learning to hear God’s voice is this: You cannot want to hear God’s voice all the time unless you also trust Him so much that you want to be under His authority all the time. That is the cost. That is the price tag. Take it or leave it.
But please don’t leave it!
Spoiler alert: I’m going to give away the end of the movie. Everybody who obeys Jesus is glad they did in the end (and usually long before the end), and everybody who disobeys Jesus regrets it forever. I mean it. I have zero regrets about obeying Jesus this far and 100% regrets wherever I didn’t. No exaggeration.
Everything I learned about obeying Jesus I learned the hard way. So I have no idea if it will do you any good for me to write about it on a blog, or if everybody reading this has needed to learn it the hard way too. But in case there is anybody out there who is more teachable than I was and still needs to learn this and can hear this from me, hear me loud and clear, “OBEY JESUS! DO IT! DO IT NOW! NO MATTER WHAT HE’S TELLING YOU TO DO, IF JESUS SAID IT, DO IT! IF IT COSTS ALL YOU HAVE, DO IT! IF IT COSTS YOU NOTHING, DO IT! HE IS GOOD!”
The next series I plan to write is going to be Reasons To Obey God. They are my treasures; like I said, I learned them all the hard way. And I can tell you right now, not one of them is “To please other people” and not one of them is “Because you think you might go to hell if you don’t,” either. There are better reasons than that to obey Jesus.
And if you aren’t willing to obey Jesus, don’t learn to hear His voice. I mean it. A life of consistently hearing Him and consistently obeying what you hear is a life of joy, peace, and no regrets. A life of not hearing Him and not obeying Him will cause lots of self-destruction. But a life of hearing Him yet not obeying Him is the worst option of all.
Are you still with me? I hope so. Because words fail me to describe how wonderful the adventure of obeying Jesus is, how worth it, how much I want you to experience it. We are entering the realm where angels live and demons cannot enter (1 Corinthians 12:3), the realm of doing His will on earth like we will in heaven even if nobody and nothing else around us is obeying Him yet, the realm of saying, “Jesus is Lord.”