“… Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (I Kings 19:11-12)
Last week we talked about a few of the voices in our heads. Number one voice was â€˜sin-nature man.’ He’s the voice we were born with; the one who wants what he wants and he’s going to scream until he gets it. Whenever it’s too hot or too cold, or you haven’t been fed in a few hours, or your neighbor drives up in a nicer car than yours, or some guy at the grocery store butts in line â€˜sin-nature man’ is going to start hollering about how he’s been neglected and he hasn’t been given the nice things he deserves or how everyone else in the world has wronged him. And he’s going to keep hollering until he gets his way.
We also talked about a new voice, one that comes along when you agree to die to â€˜sin-nature man’ and become born into a new life; one paid for by God’s Son. â€˜Spirit-man’ lives inside now. This new life comes with an internal voice that has the power to shut down â€˜sin-nature man’. â€˜Sin-nature man’ isn’t dead; he still lives “… in the members of my body ….” (Romans 7:23), but â€˜spirit-man’ has the power to keep him in check. Until you were born-again into this new â€˜spirit-man’ life, â€˜sin-nature-man’ pretty much got what he wanted. But I’ve got bad news for him; there’s a new sheriff in town, the tables have turned.
Those are the two internal voices that really belong to you. One came pre-installed when you were born the first time – what the Bible calls “in the flesh.” The other voice comes to life when you’re born a second time – what the Bible calls “in the Spirit.”
I promised you two more voices this week. These two voices come from outside in. And they take sides. One voice feeds â€˜sin-nature man’; tries to get him to take over his old place in your life. The other feeds â€˜spirit-man’ and allows him to keep â€˜sin’ nature man’ in a cage.
You can invite either one of these outside voices inside your head and they’d both love to come in, but they’re completely incompatible. One won’t live inside your head with the other one there.
The first voice is â€˜accuser’. He’s been named a lot of things over the years, Satan, the devil, the tempter, the father of lies. He’s all that, but whatever you call him, he keeps a single purpose, that of â€˜accuser’. The Bible calls him, “… the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night ….” (Revelation 12:10)
Since man was first created, Satan has been â€˜accusing’ him before God; trying to prove that man isn’t worthy of God’s love and attention and grace; that God had made a big mistake in creating man in the first place. God has known Satan a lot longer than we have. He knows that Satan is a liar and He knows that man is worthy of His love and attention and grace, not because of something man has done to deserve worth but because God has chosen to give worth to him. God doesn’t pay attention to the â€˜accuser’s’ accusations.
So the â€˜accuser’ does the next best thing. He comes to us. He starts whispering in our ear about how we should be mad about this, or afraid of that, or how we â€˜deserve’ better than we have – anything he can say to wake up old â€˜sin-nature man.’ And â€˜sin-nature man’ eats it up; he thrives on that stuff.
If we’ve been re-born in the Spirit, we too know that the â€˜accuser’ is a liar and that he’s powerless to really make good on any of his threats. â€˜Sin-nature man’ eats that stuff up but he’s not in charge any more. The â€˜accuser’ will keep whispering as long as we let him; he’ll keep feeding old â€˜sin-nature man’ until we evict him. We don’t have to rent him space in our heads.
There is a Voice that feeds â€˜spirit-man’. It’s the voice of the One who gave â€˜spirit-man’ birth. It’s the voice of God. His Holy Spirit is ready to speak to you any time and every time you’re willing to listen. That voice is one you want inside your head at all times. It nourishes â€˜spirit-man’ and has the power to toss the â€˜accuser’ out on his ear.
Some folks think that either God doesn’t talk much to man at all (it’s a little whacky to think God talks to you) or, if He did talk, it would be in a big-thunder James Earl Jones voice coming down from heaven.
Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, probably figured that God had a big-thunder James Earl Jones voice. Some folks are just more comfortable thinking of God that way. But God wanted to show Elijah another kind of voice. God told Elijah to go outside and wait for Him. Then a great wind came and tore the mountains apart and split the rocks, but as powerful as it was, it wasn’t the voice of God. Then the earth shook, but God’s voice wasn’t in the earthquake. Then a fire, but it wasn’t the voice of God either. Then a whisper came, and it was the voice of God.
God is powerful. He’s all powerful. That means all of the power of the universe is wrapped up in Him. It was the voice of God that exploded the universe into existence. When we think of God in terms of this kind of power we have a tendency to believe that He’s too big and powerful to lower Himself by speaking to us in the first place, and if He did it would be in a big-thunder James Earl Jones voice from heaven.
He’ll speak to you in a whisper. And He’ll speak to you every morning or every evening or any time you will quiet yourself enough to listen.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
That voice feeds your â€˜spirit-man’. It provides the power to muzzle â€˜sin-nature man’ and it casts the â€˜accuser’ into a place where he’ll never reach you. That voice is like food and water; it’s sustenance to your â€˜spirit-man’. You need to hear it, to seek it out every day. Its power and life to the part of you that will last into eternity. It’s the voice in your head that puts all the other voices in their place. Stop and listen.
Next week we’ll talk about stopping and listening and exactly what we can do to keep the voices where they belong.