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The Voices We Listen To (Silence IV)

Transformation Blog

 

 

The Voices We Listen To (Silence IV)

Brandon Cook

Just as seeing who God is transforms us, hearing God’s voice is what brings us into reality and freedom.[1] The problem is that we’re surrounded by competing noise and competing voices, all vying for our attention. This includes the voices in our own head.

We all have, after all, an internal monologue that’s always running. It’s at work while you read this chapter, agreeing or disagreeing, questioning, perhaps resonating with what you’re reading. Our internal monologue reveals what we think is real and true. Often, that self-monologue is full of all sorts of beliefs which are quite real, even if they aren’t actually true. And these beliefs are often quite loud. If you were abused as a child, you may believe that something in you will always be broken. If you were abandoned, you may believe that no relationship will ever be safe. The beliefs in your monologue may not actually be true, but they can still be real; after all, the things you believe are true create your reality.[2]

Our noise problem, then, does not just come from cars and freeways and jackhammers in the external world outside us. The real battle comes from the internal noise of our own minds, a confrontation of competing voices, all vying to be heard.[3]

Jesus knew this battle of competing voices. He was beset by them, just like we are. Beset by the external voices of his friends and neighbors, or of the crowds who doubted or accused him. Beset by the voices of religious leaders who were jealous of him and hated him. But also, like us, beset by the inner voice of his own heart and mind. Jesus, too, struggled with his humanity. Jesus, too, wondered where his Father was.[4]

How was Jesus able to navigate all these voices? Very simply, he knew how to find the voice of his Father’s whisper, interrupting all other voices. This whisper, in fact, was the foundation of Jesus’ entire ministry: In Matthew 3, we read the story of Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan River, where God his Father said to him, “This is my beloved son.”[5] This whisper of God’s Spirit—this voice saying “You’re mine and you’re in”—was the starting point of Jesus’ ministry. It was this voice that broke through Jesus’ mere humanity into the reality that Jesus was the beloved child of God.

The scandal of grace and of adoption is that God does the same thing for us. “To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”[6] We are, as Paul says, “joint heirs with Christ.”[7] The whisper of God’s Spirit confirms us in our adoption as God’s children and empowers us, as it did Jesus, for a life of love and compassion for others. “[God’s] Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.”[8] Jesus drew his identity and his strength from the voice of his good and generous Father, and we are meant to follow the same path. We are meant to trust in our adoption, just as Jesus trusted in his own belovedness in God.

We, too, are “accepted in the beloved.”[9]

 

[1] 2 Corinthians 3:18.

[2] No wonder the Scripture speaks of “being renewed in our mind” (Romans 12:2) and “casting down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 2:4)! See also ‘The Thomas Theorem’ within sociology.

[3] Paul, for example, describes the battle between flesh and spirit as a war in the mind. See Romans 7:14-25.

[4] Matthew 27:46.

[5] Matthew 3:17.

[6] John 1:12.

[7] Romans 8:17.

[8] Romans 8:16.

[9] Ephesians 1:6.