Some recent neurological studies out of Stanford suggest that when a mother speaks, a kid’s brain will light up like a Christmas tree. Apparently it takes less than one second for a child to recognize his or her mom’s voice (with 97% accuracy) and begin to process the material they are speaking. The researchers were amazed at the way a mom’s voice would trigger such “quick access to so many different brain systems.” Clearly kids know their own mother’s voice and are programmed to respond accordingly.
When I read that article, I immediately thought of the passage in John 10 where Jesus declared, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.” But when you start to analyze that Biblical principle, it brings up a question or two. For example, how do we know for sure that the “voice” we are following is the voice of Christ? How do we “test” (I John 4:1) that input and ensure that we are making the right choice?
There is a great illustration attributed to Sandy Gregory (Acts 17-11.com) that can really help us…
“Imagine you are hired to open up an office in Anchorage, Alaska. Your new boss gives you a high-tech looking two-way radio, a policy and procedure manual, and tells you that you will receive instructions once you arrive, and off you go. Upon arrival you hear your boss’s voice over the radio, saying, ‘I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes.’ ‘Oh no!’ you panic, ‘Then how will I know if it is you or the enemy giving me instructions?’
Your boss’s voice comes back over the radio: ‘Three ways. First, considering the situation, check every message supposedly from me against the policy and procedure manual. Since I wrote it, I’m not likely to ask you to violate it, right? Also, if I am not talking, don’t focus in on the noise, pretending that I am. If I am not speaking, let the manual be your guide. Don’t let any impersonating voice mislead you, or your own overactive imagination.’
Second, since the Manual does not cover every situation, you will have to get to know my voice. I know, this will take time, and so I am not likely to ask you to do anything radical until we both have some low-risk successes under our belts. Remember, I understand the situation perfectly well, so I’ll go slow at first. A time will come when I will be able to tell you to do the wildest things, and you will know it is me. In the short-term, you must be trained through low-risk experience.’
‘Third, over time, my overall purpose for your work will begin to come into focus. You will begin to see the grand strategy in the policy and procedure manual, and the overall pattern of my true instructions. When this happens, you’ll know instantly if what you hear through your unit is ‘of me’, just your imagination, or enemy misinformation. False instructions will begin to appear silly to you then. So take heart, and get to work.”
So the bottom line this week is to make sure that the “voice” we are following always agrees with our Bible. God simply will not ever contradict His written word. No TV or radio preacher ever trumps the Bible in our lap. No Bible teacher is ever allowed to guide us outside the confines of scripture.
Listen and check. Listen and check. That’s our responsibility. Soon our spiritual boss’s voice will be crystal clear!