Seeking Confirmation

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In this message, we learn that it’s wisdom to confirm God’s voice in our lives.

Hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I’m so glad that you’re here with us. And we are in our second week of 21 days of prayer and fasting. So you’ve made it through two weeks. You’re more than halfway and you’re still alive, which is good news. You’re surviving. And all we’re doing is creating space in our lives for God to fill. We’re giving some things up to spend more time focused on Him. And I hope you’ve been doing that. I hope you’ve been creating some space for Him. I hope you’ve been more aware of the presence of God. And we’re asking this one simple little prayer every day. Lord, help me hear your whisper. What do you want to say to me? And I’ve been hearing some great stories of a lot of people hearing God for the first time or hearing God in new ways. And it’s not that God has just started speaking. I think it’s in some ways that we just started listening. And so He is moving and I hope you’ve been aware of Him, and I’m glad you’re here. We want to give a big welcome to our Denton campus and everybody who is watching online. Will you welcome them with me?

We are glad that you guys are here. In our first week we gave everybody one of these journals. And if you didn’t get one, I’d encourage you to grab one in the information center as soon as service is over. And basically this is just a sign of faith. We’re just using this as a little tool to take notes on this series of hearing the voice of God. We’re writing down prayers we’re praying to Him, and then we’re using this to write down some things we believe that God is saying to us, and I hope you’ve been using it. And I was thinking about it this week. I was thinking about, imagine if thousands of Valley Creekers all leaned in and listened. Imagine how different we would be. Imagine how different you would live. Imagine how different we could make this world if we all leaned in and listened, because one word from God changes everything. And so this is incredibly important what we’re talking about in this series. This is foundational for your journey with Jesus, of really walking with him.

And so that’s why I’m so passionate about this series and believe so heavily in it, because we’re just trying to equip and prepare you to have a journey in a walk with God, where you can hear His voice for yourself. And so as I recap, the first week we tried to build you faith and tell you that God wants to speak to you, that He is speaking. And then last week we said it’s your desire, not your ability that determines whether or not you hear God. So we kind of talked about positioning our hearts. And this week I want to talk about wisdom. What do you do once you think you’ve heard God’s voice? How do you confirm that it was really Him speaking to you? And so if you’ve got a Bible, turn with me to Judges Chapter 6. Judges Chapter 6 — all I want to do is talk about seeking confirmation. Like, hopefully you’ve been using this journal and maybe you’ve written something down that you feel like God has spoken to you. How do you know it’s really God? How do you know it wasn’t just a weird dream or bad pizza from the night before? Like, how do you know it’s really Him? And so I want to give you some wisdom today on how we can make sure that we know it’s really God’s voice in our life.

Judges Chapter 6 — The Midianites are oppressing the Israelites. The Israelites cry out to God for help. He picks Gideon to be the deliverer. And God comes to Gideon. He speaks to him for the first time. Verse 12 — It says, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he said — this is God’s voice — “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Okay, pause. First thing He says to Gideon is, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” For some reason I think a lot of us, we believe that what God primarily wants to speak to us about is commands. That we have this belief within us that God wants to tell us about rules and regulations, what we have to do, what we can’t do, do this, don’t do that. We think God is a killjoy that He wants to make our life harder and reign in the parameters of our life and take things away from us and make us do things we don’t want to do. Well, if you believe that, then no wonder we don’t want to hear the voice of God.
Like, if you really in your mind and in your heart think that’s what He primarily wants to talk to you, I wouldn’t want to hear God’s voice either. But listen to me. God’s voice is not about declaring commands. It’s about connecting hearts. God’s voice is not about getting you to do something. It’s about getting you to know someone and his name is Jesus. I mean, think of my kids for a moment. If all I ever told my kids is do this and don’t do that, if it’s all I ever spoke to them about, I would be a dictator and a tyrant. If all I ever said to them is, “You have to do this. You can’t do that”, I wouldn’t be a good father. I would be a dictator or a tyrant. But I don’t want to talk to my kids about what they have to do and what they can’t do. I want to talk them about their hearts and my heart, which is the same and true with God. I mean, the more I’ve learned to lean in and listen to the voice of God in my life, here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that God primarily wants to speak to us about who we are and who He is. Out of everything that God wants to say to you, the primary thing He wants to talk to you about is who you are and who He is.

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. He tells Gideon who he is and then he tells him about who God is. Same thing he wants to say to you today. The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. He wants to tell you who you are and who He is. He wants to tell you you’re His beloved son or daughter in whom He is well pleased. And then He wants to tell you about Himself, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that if He is for you who can be against you. God doesn’t want to primarily talk to you about what you have to do. He wants to talk to you about what He has done. And what He has done in Jesus now determines who you are, and it reveals to you who He is. And once you start getting that, then he’ll talk to you about your purpose and what you’re created to do. In fact, if you can catch this, you will never have the faith to do what God invites you to do until you first listen to who He says you are. You will never have the faith to do what you were created to do until you first listen to who He says you are. The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.

He goes on to Verse 13. “But sir”, Gideon replied, “if the Lord with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are the wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, “Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?” But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go, in the strength you have, and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” Gideon replied, “If I’ve now found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” In other words, “God, I need some confirmation here.” Jump down to Verse 36 — Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised, look, I will place a wolf fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand as you say.” And that is what happened.”

“Gideon rose early the next day. He squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew, a bowl full of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me just make one more request.” Because that wasn’t enough, God. Allow me one more test with the fleece. “This time make the fleece dry. Let’s make it harder. And the ground covered with dew. That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry. All the ground was covered with dew.” Okay, so catch this. God comes to Gideon. He speaks to Gideon and says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” He tells Gideon who He is, talks about who God is, then he tells him what he is created to do. “Gideon, you’re going to be the deliverer to save the Israelites.” And it’s such a big thing, all of it, that God says to Gideon, that Gideon hears God but he doubts himself and he doubts what he has heard. And so he says, “God, this is so big that I need confirmation that it was really you speaking to me.” And what I want you to see in this story is Gideon asks for confirmation and nowhere is God angry, annoyed, and He never rebukes Gideon.

He is totally willing to confirm that it was Him speaking to Gideon. The same is true for you. It is absolutely okay to ask God to confirm His voice, because when you ask God to confirm His voice what you’re actually doing is you’re honoring God. You are valuing His voice so much that you’re saying, “God, I believe I’ve heard you, but I want to make sure that it’s you because if this is really your voice, I’m all in on this deal. So God, let me just make sure that it was really you.” I mean, we do that with each other all the time, don’t we? People talk to you and they tell you things, and you’re kind of not really sure what they said or you heard it and you kind of need confirmation. “Wait, wait, wait a second. What, what did you say? Like, say that again. I need to just make sure I heard it right.” And the bigger the thing is that they’re saying to you, the more confirmation you need. Like, when Coleen first told me that she was pregnant with your son I was like, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. What, what? Say that again, and I need to see that little stick thing.

Like, I need some confirmation here because that was a big statement. Or let’s say you’re going to watch somebody’s kids when they go out of town, and they give you all the instructions and where the kids need to be. And when it’s done you’re like, “Let me get this right. Let’s confirm this. I want to make sure I heard you right, because I don’t want to leave one of your kids at school accidentally, you know, by not understanding what you said.” Or maybe when somebody says, “I love you” for the first time. Like, wait a second. Can you say that again, because I’m not sure I heard that right? We need confirmation, and the bigger the statement the more confirmation you need. And it’s okay. So Gideon asked for confirmation. And what he does is he basically says God — and you’ve probably heard the story of the fleece. He puts the fleece on the ground and says, “God, if it’s really you, make it wet and all the ground dry.” And God does that. And the next night he says, “Okay, God. Now make the fleece dry and all the ground wet.” And God does that. And I could skip over that and keep going, but I want to pause for a moment and just tell you this. If you hang out here at Valley Creek, you always hear me say that the whole Bible is about Jesus.

The Old Testament is Jesus concealed. He’s hidden, but he’s there. And the New Testament is Jesus revealed. You can see him everywhere. And so when you read the Bible you have to look for Jesus. And do you understand? This is a prophetic picture of Jesus. A fleece is a lamb’s skin, and Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And so when he puts the fleece on the ground and the first night the fleece is wet and the ground is dry, it’s a prophetic picture that Jesus is full of righteousness and the world’s sin is dry. But the next night when it gets reversed, the fleece is dry and the ground is covered with dew. In other words, it’s a prophetic picture that the righteousness of Jesus was going to be poured out onto the world. That the righteous life of Jesus was going to be poured out on our dry, sinful, dead nature and that we were going to come to life because Jesus was going to be squeezed. He was going to be wrung out, and his righteousness would be applied to you and your sin would be applied to him. Second Corinthians 5:21 — “God made him who knew no sin, to be sinned for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It’s about Jesus.

And when you see Jesus hidden in places like that your faith goes through the roof. And the reason God confirms it with a prophetic picture of Jesus, it’s because it’s only in Jesus that you are a mighty warrior who the Lord is with. And it’s only because of Jesus that you have full access to God’s voice in your life. It’s a prophetic picture of Jesus. And so it’s totally okay to ask God for confirmation. In fact, it’s wisdom. I mean, you realize Satan’s oldest trick is to get you to doubt God’s voice. His oldest trick is to get you to question God’s voice in your life. Genesis Chapter 3 is the first time Satan is mentioned, first statement Satan ever makes in the Bible. And he looks at Eve and says, “Did God really say?” First thing he ever says, his oldest trick. “Did God really say you can’t eat from any tree in the garden?” And Eve said, “Well, we can fruit from all the trees in the garden, but we can’t eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, and we can’t even touch it or we will die.” And Satan got her to question God’s voice in her life. And what Eve should have done is she should have gone to her Ask, Listen and Respond journal and looked up what God had said.

Because I’m sure she would have been wise enough to write down the things God was saying to her. Or she should have gone back to the source and confirmed it with God. Because remember, if you were here last week, we talked about the telephone and how if you hear God’s voice translated through man it deviates. Well, God never said anything about touching the tree. So Eve heard from Adam what God had said, and just one person removed from the whisper, it’s already distorted enough to question God’s voice in her life. And you know how the rest of the story goes. So it’s wisdom to seek confirmation that it’s really His voice. And so basically with a submissive, humble heart you just say, “Lord, was that really you?” You hear God, you write it down in your journal, you pray about it, and you seek confirmation. First Thessalonians 5 — “Do not treat prophecies.” Prophecies is God’s voice in a different way. He speaks to man, and man speaks it to us.

“Do not treat God’s voice with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” In other words God even says, “Hey, I want you to test it. I want you to be sure that it was really me speaking to you.” And so what you got to do is you’ve got to run it through filters. I think the best analogy I can give you is like a big gold wash plant. Have you ever watched the show Gold Rush? You know, the show where they go gold mining. If you’ve ever seen it, there’s this huge wash plant that they do in gold mining, and they scoop up a big pile of dirt. It’s got rocks and junk and all kinds of stuff, but it’s some gold in there and they dump it into the wash plant. And as it goes into the wash plant it goes through all these filters. It gets washed. It gets shaken. It gets turned. It gets bounced. And in every one of the filters the garbage is thrown out, and ultimately as it passes all the filters it gets down to the end and they extract the gold from the garbage. That’s what we need to do when we think we’ve heard God’s voice. We run it through filters, so we can extract the gold from the garbage because you don’t want to build your life on fool’s gold.

You don’t want to build your life on what you think God might have said or what you think is really the truth, or what you might have heard but you’re not really sure. So you want to run it through filters. You’ve got to extract the whisper from the chaos, because how do you know it’s His voice and not the voice of darkness, the world, your own self-consciousness, bad pizza, a weird dream, a crazy movie you watched? I mean, I don’t know all those things, right? So there’s five filters that you’ve got to run it through. This is wisdom. We’ve built your faith. We’ve taught you how to position your heart. This is wisdom, and now if you really are serious about hearing God’s voice, these are the five filters you run it through. And I’m going to ask them to you in question form. Okay? Are you still with me so far? Five filters, if you really want to know that it is God. First things is this. Does it align with scripture? The primary filter that you need to use to confirm God’s voice is scripture. God’s voice will never contradict His word. What He is saying will never contradict what He has said.

Listen to me. God is not a politician. He does not flip-flop. All the ads you see on TV — you said this and now you don’t say that. Okay, you could never run an ad on God, because if you ran it on God, His position would get stronger because everything He says confirms what He has already said. Hebrews 13:8 — “He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His voice will never contradict His word.” I mean, I hear people say crazy things all the time. They say things like this, “Well, God told me I could get divorced so I could be happy. God told me I don’t need to serve right now because my life is so busy. God told me that I can engage in this sin for a while because in the end He is going to forgive me anyways. God told me I don’t need church anymore because now I know how to hear God’s voice for myself. God told me He is disappointed and mad at me. God told me I destroyed my destiny. God told me that I’ll never experience breakthrough.

That’s not God’s voice. You can instantly reject that. It doesn’t pass the primary filter. Those things don’t align with the kingdom of light. They align with the kingdom of darkness. And it’s that easy. It didn’t make it through the first filter. Toss it over to the side. It’s not God. Let’s not manipulate God said, because God didn’t say that. I mean, listen to this. Second Corinthians 3:16 — “All scriptures God breathe.” Which means if it’s God breathe, then God’s word is God’s voice and is useful for teaching. This will teach you how to hear God’s voice. Rebuking it will rebuke you when you say God said, even though it aligns with the kingdom of darkness. Correcting, it will correct you when you’re slightly off like Eve was. And training in righteousness, it will train you to tune into God’s voice faster. The more you know God’s general revelation, the more you will be able to hear His specific revelation.

In other words, once you know what God has said to all of us, you will be able to hear what God wants to say to you. His word will always confirm His voice. Listen to this. Acts 17:11 — “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness. They heard God’s voice that had desired to hear it. And they examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” In other words, they heard God’s voice and they ran it through the primary filter of scripture to make sure they were accurately hearing the voice of God. You see, we have got to change our perspective of this book. This is not a religious do’s and don’ts. This is not some ancient history book. This is not an irrelevant, hard-to-understand thing. This is God’s voice in your life. Romans 10:17 — “Faith comes by hearing. Hearing by the word of God.” Faith comes by hearing. Hearing by the word of God. In other words, if you want faith to be sure of what you have heard, run it through the word of God. If you want faith to be confident you’ve heard God’s voice, run it through the word of God.

The more you’re familiar with this, the quicker you will able to tell whether or not it was really God speaking to you. In fact, here’s what I want to encourage you to write down. I wrote down two statements for you that I just think are so important. God’s voice is always loving, will bring you peace, and give you comfort. God’s voice is always loving. It will always bring you peace and it will always give you comfort. I mean, the reason I can say that is because that’s how God’s voice always is in scripture. Like, God’s voice is loving. First John 4:16 and 18 — “God is love. There is no love in fear, because perfect love casts out fear.” If there’s no love in fear and God is loving, then fear is never a motivator in the kingdom of God. So God can never speak to you from a posture of creating fear in your heart. It’s not Him. That’s why when the angels show up to people and talk the first thing they have to say is, “Don’t be afraid.” Why? Because God’s voice will never bring you fear. It’s full of love. So His voice is always loving. It will bring you peace.

John 14:27 — Jesus says, “My peace, I give to you. My peace, I leave with you.” So everything he says is designed to bring peace in your soul, and His voice will give you comfort. Second Corinthians 1:3 — “He is the God of all comfort and all compassion.” So when He speaks it’s comforting to your heart. Now contrast that to Satan’s voice. Satan’s voice will always bring you fear, shame and condemnation. Everything Satan wants to say to you is designed to bring fear in your heart, to make you feel ashamed, and to condemn you. Remind you of what’s wrong with you. The Bible says he is the great accuser who accuses us before God night and day. If the voice you think you have heard is bringing fear, shame and condemnation, it didn’t pass the filter. You reject it, toss it over the side. It’s not God. Satan wants to remind you of what’s wrong with you. God wants to remind you of what’s right with Him. And so if it doesn’t pass the primary filter of scripture, it’s not God’s voice. Are you with me on that? Some of you are so hoping this series was going to allow you to never read the Bible again.
If you really want to hear God’s voice, you read the Bible even more. Does it align with scripture? Second thing, you’re going to like this one even less. Does godly counsel confirm it? You think you’ve heard God’s voice. You ran it through scripture. It passes scripture. Now you bring it to godly counsel and say, “This is what I sense God spoke to me. Will you please pray about it and confirm whether or not this was really God’s voice?” There’s a great story in First Samuel 26 of David and Abishai. You remember the story of King David, and he was anointed by God to be the next king because God had rejected Saul as king. And so Saul was afraid of David and so spent years chasing David around the mountains. And David and his mighty men had to live in rocks and caves and holes and in deserts, because Saul was always trying to kill David. And so one day Saul and his men, they’re out trying to find David and he gets to night, and Saul and his whole army goes to sleep. And David and Abishai, one of his soldiers, sneak into Saul’s camp and they get right in there. And they get right up and Saul is asleep on the ground. And Abishai picks up a spear and he looks at David and he says, “David, God is giving us Saul into our hand right now. I’ve just heard God’s voice. Let me pin him to the ground. This is God and this whole thing will be over, and you can become king.” And in that moment Abishai is convinced he has heard God. He ran it through the first filter of scripture. Saul is rejected king and David is anointed as the new king. So it passed that test. He’s like, this is the perfect circumstance. God has given him to us. When do you get a king asleep on the ground with a spear in your hand? This is God. Let me do it, David. And David says no. “No, Abishai. That is not God’s voice.” And so you can imagine how confused Abishai would be holding a spear and standing over this guy, convinced he’s heard God. And his godly counsel, his godly authority is saying that’s not God. And had Abishai killed Saul, Abishai himself would have been killed. But because he listened to his godly counsel, ultimately Abishai becomes a commander in David’s army when David becomes king.

I think this is the one we struggle with the most, because as we’re standing there with that spear over Saul convinced we’ve heard God and our godly counsel says no, we say, “Well, you’re wrong. Boom, and we put the spear in.” Because we don’t really want to sit there and submit to that reality. Listen to me. Jesus said, is the ultimate immature trump card. Jesus said, is the ultimate immature trump card. If you have to walk around and tell everybody, Jesus said, God said, God told me, it’s the ultimate immature trump card because what’s happening in that moment is you’re not open to counsel. If you tell me Jesus said, the conversation is over. We can’t have any more conversation about it. So it’s a really dangerous place to hear God’s voice but not be open to godly counsel. Wisdom would say, I sense God saying. Can you pray about this with me? I mean, I see people do this all the time. God told us to adopt a child.

God told me to marry this person. God told me to quit this job. God told me to move to this place. God told me to change my schools. Really? Because what godly counsel in your life confirms that? The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. I mean, listen to these verses. Proverbs 11:14 — “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.” Proverbs 20:18 — “Make plans by seeking advice. If you wage war, obtain guidance.” Find confirmation. Second Corinthians 13:1 — “Every matter including God’s voice must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” You think you’ve heard God speak? Then submit it to Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life-giving people. You don’t go and try to find confirmation from your college roommate, your old drinking buddy, the mom at the drop-off line with you. And you certainly don’t find confirmation on Facebook, people. You can find any confirmation you want on Facebook. Like, “God told me to divorce my husband.” And then you watch all these other people typing, “You go, girl. That’s God! I wish he would say that to me. Can he say that to me?” You know, I mean, you’re like, No, no!

And you know what I’m talking about if you’re on Facebook. And if you don’t, you might be the person saying, “You go, girl.” You know what I’m saying? No. If you get confirmation on Facebook, then it’s not God. Let’s just go with that as the baseline. Because that’s sick, man. It is sick. If you have stock in Facebook, it’s still sick. People on Facebook tell you what you want to hear. You need to submit it to somebody who loves you enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Think about it like this. If God can say it to you, don’t you think He will say it to your godly counsel too?

He is the God of authority, unity and order. If He can say it to you, He can say it to them. If you and me are standing together and God has something to say about one particular issue, He won’t tell you one thing and me something totally different. Why? Because His kingdom is built on unity. Satan will tell us different things because his kingdom is built on division. And so if it’s really God, He only has one thing to say. And so let’s take time to both seek God together until we’re hearing the same thing. I think it’s so important for you to understand that’s how we leave this church. Our elders and our leadership team, we only move forward if we have a 100 percent unity that we’ve all heard God. You can have a whole group of us hearing one thing and one person hearing something else, and we will not move forward until we’re all in unity, because we know God only has one thing to say about any particular issue. So we will wait and be patient and seek God more until we all hear the same thing. If He says it to you, He can say it to them. So think about it like this.

If you’re not willing to submit what you think you’ve heard from God, the godly counsel, it’s probably because in your heart you know it wasn’t really God. If I know that I’ve heard God, I have no problem submitting it to other people because I know He will tell them the same thing too. But if I don’t want to submit it, it’s because someone inside of me that I’m afraid, that you’re going to come back and tell me, “I’m not hearing that God is telling you to marry that person too.” And you don’t want to be told that. You want to marry this person in the moment. So you just say, “Jesus told me” trump card. I don’t need godly counsel. If you said you don’t godly counsel, there’s something inside of you already telling you it’s probably not God’s voice. You’re with me on that? There was a guy in our church, I don’t know, three to four years ago. He thought he heard from God to move to Europe to be a missionary. He’s super excited about it and he came in and he brought it to the elders, and we had relationship with him. He submitted it to us and he said, “This is what I feel like God has said. I want to get confirmation from you guys.” So we said, “Okay.” So we prayed about it and it took a while, and we got to this place where we thought, “Okay, we think God is going to ultimately take you to be a missionary, but we don’t think the season is now.”

And so even joked in the meeting. We said, “We’ll see how he responds to it, because only about one out of 99 people actually submit to godly authority and godly counsel.” And so we met with him and told him, “We think you’re hearing God right. We just think your timing is off and we think you need to stay here for a while and grow as a leader.” And so for the last three years he’s said okay. And he stayed and he’s grown. He has developed as a leader. He has heard God speak to him about who he is. He has heard God speak to him about who God is. His heart has been prepared. And just a few weeks ago I was in a meeting with him, where he stood up and said the greatest thing that ever happened to him was that the elders loved him enough to say, “No, now is not the season.” He grew as a leader. He got trained. He got equipped, and this year we’ll send him to be a Valley Creek missionary in Europe. And he’ll thrive because he has submitted to God’s voice. I’m just telling you people, one out of 99. You can be the one out of 99. You don’t have to be the 99. Don’t be the 99, but you realize what that means. It’s that you have to build godly relationships before you need godly counsel. And if you’re not willing to submit what you feel like God has said to other people, it’s because you believe what you’re saying is, “I hear Jesus accurately 100% of the time.” Please come teach me your ways.

The reason we don’t like it is because it takes humility, submission and patience. Only the humble heart accurately discerns the voice of God. Does godly counsel confirm it? Third thing is, is there a sacred echo? Is there a sacred echo? If it’s really God, He will confirm it in a variety of different ways. God speaks in so many different ways, dreams and visions and prophesy and through words of other people and through circumstances and open doors. He is the great communicator. And if it’s really Him, the sacred echo, the persistent voice of God will say it over and over and over and over again to you, so you feel like you can’t even get away from it. Like for example, let’s say you feel like God is speaking to you about changing your priorities, okay? And you don’t really like what God is saying, so you try to avoid that. You’re like, “I don’t really like that thing”, but that’s kind of what God is saying to you. So you wake up and you get in your car, and you turn the radio on as you’re driving to work. The radio preacher says, “This is a new year. It’s time to turn on or to get ready for new priorities.” You’re like, “Yeah, no.” You turn that thing off, you know?

You get to your office and your boss says, “Hey guys, we’ve got to have a meeting. We’ve really drifted from our priorities here at work. And we’ve just got to spend the next few weeks getting our priorities back in line.” You’re like, this is getting weird. You open up a little devotional and the devotional for that day, the title is, you know, reestablishing godly priorities. [Laughs] “Yeah, I don’t want to read that.” You come to church and you walk in here, and I stand up and say, “We’re going to do a new sermon series on getting our priorities in line.” You need to go to the bathroom that day and you leave. And then you go home and a few weeks later your spouse says to you, “You know what? Our priorities have really drifted.” But you’re like, “Ah, I can’t get away from it.” You’re right. You can’t. It’s the sacred echo. It’s the persistent voice of God. If it’s really Him, He will say it to you over and over and over again in a variety of different ways. Luke 24:32 — “Were our hearts not burning within us as He talked to us, spoke to us on the road?” In other words, the sacred echo will happen in so many different places that your heart will burn within you that you know that this is God speaking to me. Like Jonah, you cannot outrun the voice of God. Is there a sacred echo? Fourth thing is this. Does it require faith? Hebrews 11:1 — “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” To hear the whisper of a God you cannot see requires faith in and of itself.

He’s the supernatural God speaking to you in your natural world. That requires faith. Second Corinthians 5:7 — “We walk by faith, not by sight.” In other words, everything God will say to you will always require some level of faith, because think about it like this. He is speaking to you heavenly wisdom in earthly circumstances. Isaiah 55:9 — “His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” So He is giving you heavenly wisdom in earthly circumstances, which means it won’t make sense according to the earthly circumstances. It’s higher. It’s a superior way of thinking. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Stop making decisions based on an earthly perspective. Make decisions based on a heavenly perspective, and heavenly wisdom in earthly circumstances will take faith. He will tell you to go when you want to stay, and stay when you want to go, give when you want to take, forgive when you want an apology, serve when you want to be served.

Heavenly wisdom in earthly circumstances will always take faith. So is it requiring faith? And the truth is sometimes the littlest things require the most amount of faith. Like when God says, “Hey, I just want you to go and invite that person to church.” It takes faith. “Hey, I want you to go and talk to that person in the coffee shop that just looks alone. Just go say hi to him.” That takes faith. It takes faith when you wake up and God just kind of drops into your heart. “I want you to drive a different way to work today.” You’re like, “That’s just crazy man.” Then it just might be the Lord. I have a friend who had this amazing high, six-figure income job. And he was killing it and doing great, had everything the world offered. And then one day God spoke to him and said, “I just want you to quit your job.” “Well, what do you want me to do?” You know, sometimes God goes quiet on the second step, till you take the first step. “I just want you to quit your job.” And so he ran it through the things. It aligned with scripture. There was godly counsel that confirmed it. There was a sacred echo. And he got to this point. This is going to take major faith.

Giving up the American dream is most people’s nightmare. Heavenly wisdom, earthly circumstances. And so it required faith, which ultimately led him to believe this is really God speaking to me. So he quit his job. A few months went by. Quiet, nothing, and then all of a sudden God opened up this whole new sphere of his life. And now he is flourishing and thriving in his destiny and things to come, all because he knew and understood that God’s voice was going to require him to move forward in faith. His voice will take faith. In fact, this little asterisk here, if I can just say this to you — it takes more faith to believe you are who He says you are than it does to do what you were created to do. Well, what He says for you that you are created to do. It takes more faith to believe that you are who He says you are than to do what God asks you to do. Let me say it like that. Identity requires more faith than purpose. And you say why? Because when I know who I am I will never question my purpose.

So it takes more faith to believe you are who he says you are than to do what He says to do. Does it require faith? And the last thing is this. Is it leading you towards Jesus? Does it lead you towards Jesus? John 5 — Jesus says, “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me. This is my voice that testifies about me. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” In other words, Jesus says the primary point of his voice is always to lead us to him. Everything he says, whether it was already spoken or it is going to be spoken, it is designed to lead you to him. So the filter is, is this leading me to Jesus? Does it require me to fix my eyes on him, to become more like him? Is this going to create the fruit of the spirit of my life? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That’s the character of Jesus. I mean, it’s really easy to run something through a filter and have it pass all four.

You know, God speaking to you about a new job or so you think. It passes scripture, godly counsel, confirms that there is a sacred echo. It will require faith to step into a new job. But all of a sudden you get to this last one and you realize, “It will require me working 90 hours a week. I won’t be able to go to church. I’ll have to quit my small group and I won’t spend any time with God.” Pitch over the side. It’s not God. It’s that easy. Why? Because God is never going to speak to you about something that’s going to take you away from Him. He will only speak to you about things that will draw you towards Him. You say, “Well, God has given me this new assignment. It passed scripture. It passed godly counsel. There was an echo. It’s going to require faith to do it.” But you will be so consumed with it that you will never have any time to spend with Jesus. Pitch it over the side. It’s not him. Or a relationship — oh, this relationship is so good. This relationship is going to pull you away from Jesus. It’s not Jesus; pitch it over the side. And you say that’s crazy. It passed all four filters. I know, but it didn’t pass the last one. And usually in a message like this you will have basically three things. People will say as long as it aligns with scripture you have godly counsel and there’s circumstantial support for it, and you’re good to go.

I actually think the last two are probably the most important. Because if it’s not leading you closer to Jesus, it is not Jesus. You can manipulate God’s voice any way you want, but when you run it through all of these and if it’s not taking you closer to Him, it’s not Him. We have to extract the whisper from the chaos, the gold from the garbage. And if you go through all these five filters and you get down to the end and it passes all of them, then you move from confirmation to obedience. It’s God, and go baby go. You don’t get to say, “Well, is there a sixth filter, because I’m not really sure I want to do what He is saying?”
No. Go baby, go. And we don’t always get it right. Sometimes even with great motives we misunderstand God’s voice. Hebrews 11:6 — “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” If you go through all those filters and you really believe it’s God and you did all those five filters with a genuine heart, and you move forward and it really wasn’t God, that’s okay. You still pleased Him.

My kids all the time will misunderstand things I say to them. I will tell them, “Hey, I want you guys to do this.” They will totally misunderstand it and I will come back later and I’ll be like, “Oh guys, you didn’t have to do this. I really meant you to do this.” And I’m not mad at them. They genuinely misunderstood, so I help them and take care of it. The same is true with God. I can’t tell you how many times I think I’ve heard God’s voice and I get to about filter four and it’s not God. It’s like, “Okay, I thought it was, but it’s not.” And you pitch it over to the side. There’s a lot of chaos in this world, a lot of voices screaming for your attention. There’s a lot of stuff to get pitched over the side. And then you get down to these little flakes of gold, and oh, that gold is worth it in the midst of this big pile of dirt and rocks. Let’s have more faith in God’s ability to speak to us than Satan’s ability to deceive us.

Let’s believe that we have ears to hear and that He has given us wisdom to confirm. You see, what I love about God’s voice is this. God is not a mystic, a fortuneteller or, you know, some wizard to just get little answers to different things you want. The way God speaks to you invites you to live a holistic lifestyle. Like, if you’re really going to hear His voice, you’re going to have to engage His scriptures, build godly relationships, look for Him in the circumstances of your life, live a lifestyle of faith, and move towards Jesus. You say, why does God whisper? This is why He whispers, because His whisper forces you to create a holistic healthy lifestyle that helps you live the abundant life in Jesus. It makes you to use filters that help you become like Him. So will you close your eyes with me? Let me just ask you, what does the Holy Spirit want to say to you today? What does he want to whisper in your heart or in your mind? My sense is that some of you, you’ve been disappointed that God hasn’t spoken to you about a particular situation you’re in. Or maybe you’re trying to get Him to speak about what you need to do, and maybe He is speaking to you about who you are and who He is. If you’re listening for the wrong thing, you won’t hear what He has to say.

Maybe some of you are here and you think God’s voice is a quick fix to some things in your life. It’s not. It’s an invitation to be a genuine follower of Jesus, to be transformed into his image and his likeness. If I gave you a pile of dirt and said within that pile of dirt there are chunks of gold, I’m pretty sure most of us we would sift through that dirt to find that gold. Well, within all the chaos of the voices around you and even sometimes within you there are chunks of gold. His whisper is there. And what we just did for the last few minutes together is we just equipped you with the tools to get the gold out. We just equipped and prepared you to know, how do I know if this is really God? How do I extract the whisper from the chaos? And now from this day forward, you know how to process with God whether it was Him or whether it wasn’t Him. And I pray that you will use those tools to find that gold, so you don’t build your life on fool’s gold, but you live your life built on the wisdom and the treasures of heaven. So Jesus, thank you that you speak to us. Thank you that you equip us and prepare us. Thank you that you invite us to value your voice by confirming it. I pray that you would give us a hunger for your word, new godly relationships to seek counsel, that we would look for you in the circumstances, we would live a life of faith, and we would move more towards you, Jesus. May your whisper give us a healthy, holistic life. We love you Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.

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