Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I watched a gaggle of eight-year-olds play a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. One was blindfolded, spun around in circles, and then pointed in the direction of a donkey posted on the wall. As she made her way toward where she thought the donkey was waiting, her friends yelled out which way she should go.
“Move to the right!”
“Move to the left!”
“You’re getting cold!”
“Now you’re getting warmer!’
“Go up a little!”
Some of the voices intentionally tried to mislead her, but I could tell she was trying to pick out the voice of her closest friend, someone she could trust. After returning the donkey’s tail to its rightful position, or pretty close to it, she removed her blindfold to see if she had chosen correctly.
This made me wonder, whose voice am I listening to today?
Here’s a truth: The voice we listen to will determine the path we take and the decisions we make.
The Bible says that we are in a spiritual battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2-3). All three are whispering to lead us in the opposite direction of where God wants us to go. When I say whispering, I’m not talking about an audible voice, but an inner inkling.
How do we tell if the voice we’re hearing is the world’s, the flesh (the way we’ve been programmed to get our needs met apart from Christ), the devil’s, or God’s?
By knowing the Truth from God’s Word.
What are the world’s voices? They are the voices of the temporary values that oppose the life of Christ in the believer—human systems that oppose God’s purposes.
See, from the time we are born, we are programmed by the world around us. From movies to media, education to entertainment, and friends and family, we are pushed to fit into cultural norms and expectations. As long as we are in the world, we will have the tension of discerning whether the wooing we hear is from God or from the world.
All through John chapters 14-17, Jesus prays for us to be in the world but not of the world—not persuaded by world systems and ideas. Here are a few differences.
- The world says weakness is unacceptable.
- God’s voice says when you are weak, the power of the Holy Spirit in you will make you strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
- The world says get all you can.
- God’s voice says give to everyone who asks. (Matthew 5:42)
- The world says claim your rights.
- God’s voice says give up your rights. (Philippians 2:5-11)
- The world says only the strong survive.
- God’s voice says only those who depend on Him will thrive. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- The world makes decisions based on common sense.
- God’s voice tells us to make decisions based on His Word. (Psalm 119:105)
- The world says divorce if marriage gets difficult.
- God says what He has joined, no man should separate. (Mark 10:9
- The world says this is as good as it gets.
- God’s voice says the best is yet to come. (John 3:16)
- The world says seek happiness in your circumstances.
- God’s voice says seek joy despite your circumstances. (James 1:2-4)
Some of the mostly worldly people during the time of Christ were the Romans. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
I love how Peterson paraphrased that verse in The Message: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
So, whose voice are you going to listen to today? If we listen to the right voice, we will make the right choice.
Father God, help me to listen to the right voices today. Give me wisdom to shut out the voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil and to take in the voice of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are some examples of the world’s voice speaking today? How are those voices in opposition to God’s voice?
More from the Girlfriends
Do you want to learn more about how to listen to God’s voice? Sharon’s book, Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God will help you understand the many ways God speaks today and tune your spiritual ears to the right frequency to hear Him speak.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
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