A few days ago I was listening to a speaker online discuss the ways that God speaks. When he started to talk about how God speaks to us through the Bible, particularly mentioning that it isn’t always about warm fuzzies and that God uses the Bible to convict us too. He suggested that when God convicts us it makes us uncomfortable, makes us squirm, and puts us in the ‘hot seat’ so to speak.
I believe that God does convict through the Bible but as I was listening to him, panic and dread quickly built up in me. I turned off the sermon and asked Jesus what was going on and why was I reacting so strongly to something I mostly agreed with.
In listening to this teacher speak, I felt that old fear that maybe God did require something of me and if he found me out it was going to be very uncomfortable and awkward and I would be embarrassed. Then I felt a slightly newer fear that maybe I was going to be persuaded by a nice sounding man who has a lot more training and experience than I do to return to those dreadful lies. Then I was afraid that I’d never be free of fear while listening to sermons!
I know that fear comes from the Enemy and is in direct opposition to the truth and love of Jesus so I asked him how was the Enemy giving me this fear?
Very quickly it came to me. “He’s suggested that you don’t know my voice. And you agreed with him.”
Now that is how God convicts. Just the facts. Firm but not the slightest bit condemning. I’m thinking, “Okay . . . if that’s a lie . . . then . . . the truth is that I know your voice. I’m gonna choose to believe you but how can that be true?! I feel like I’ve been fooled so often.”
I guess I got him going a topic he likes because he suddenly became loquacious. I wanted to share this because, well, it’s genius and because God is so much better than we’ve imagined.
“My voice never condemns, accuses, or shames you. My voice never communicates disappointment with you. My voice to you gives you peace, my direction to you is clear. When I ask you to repent it is an invitation to freedom and a request to accept more of my love.
“My voice does not give you confusion. My voice does not say what you are not ready to hear. My voice marks a clear path to freedom. My voice is enjoyable to you since you love my truth.
“My voice rolls with authority, affirms who you are, speaks to you with respect. My voice, even my correction, gives you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. My voice brings light and understanding. My voice does not cause you fear. My voice relaxes or excites you but I do not bring you tension or worry.
“My voice speaks of my goodness. My voice will not manipulate you or suggest that you are failing or a failure. My voice will speak better of you than you speak of yourself. My voice is gentle and kind because kindness leads you to repentance and gentleness makes you great. My voice is everything you desire.”