I walked past the door of the man whose office was next to me. The voice then spoke to me, but it was a voice that was “travelling” on a “wave” of fear. “Be afraid! You’ve got to tell this man about Jesus!” The man was a senior manager of the company I was working for. For once, however, I recognized the voice. This was not the voice of my heavenly Father, but the voice of fear. That “fear” had its roots in insecurity. That insecurity came from a life of condemnation, fear, and rejection.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice … they will not follow the voice of a stranger.” (John 10:27,5). When Jesus said this, He was saying, “This is the way it ought to be. This is the way I designed it.” He was NOT saying, “This is the way it ALWAYS will be.” Jesus knew that following His voice was a matter of making a personal decision. I needed to make that decision, now, and say, “No!” to that voice that was trying to speak to me, to “get” me to “do” something that, at this time, was not of God (maybe tomorrow, it would be God’s will for me to speak with that same man.)
Now, with much more security than I had ever been used to before, I was able to calmly say to that “voice” that was trying to persuade me to do so, “No, Satan, I will not share the gospel with that man based on a spirit of condemnation and fear. I don’t have to. I am not afraid.” And, in peace, I continued on my way. I knew that this was NOT God speaking to me, because when God speaks, He speaks without a sense of condemnation or punishment. “The one who fears is not perfected in love, because fear involves punishment.” (1 John 4:18).
I kept walking and pushed the button on the wall in order to wait for the elevator to arrive. A man whose name I do not know (although I recognized his face) soon came and stood there. Suddenly, another “voice” spoke to me, this time, “riding” on a completely different “wave!” This time, it was riding on a spirit of peace, and I knew it well. “You can give this man a Billy Graham invitation tract, if you want!” The voice was so clear. It didn’t originate from my mind (like the other voice did), or from a spirit of condemnation, or “fear of punishment.” Rather, it came right out of my “innermost part.” I could almost feel it coming “up, from out of my stomach area.” Hey, that is roughly where the Holy Spirit dwells! Quietly, I asked the Lord (almost whispering under my breath), “Is that really You?” “Yes!” shot back the reply! Again, the “voice” came right out of my inner man! “Really?” I asked again. “Yes!” the voice shot back again. I knew it was the voice of my heavenly Father speaking to me this time. The first time, yes, even the second time, had been a test for me. Whose voice am I going to follow? Whose do I want to follow?
Two voices saying practically the same thing, but in totally different ways. The first had its roots in condemnation, and in the fear of punishment (“do this, or else!”). The second, however, had its roots in love. “Perfect love casts out fear. And the one who fears is not perfected in love, for fear involves punishement.” (1 John 4:18). I am not perfect, and it has taken me a long time to even get this far in my faith. But I encourage you to listen carefully to the voices which are speaking to you, and try to discern well between them. God will bless you as you make the decision to shun the voice of fear (paying it no respect), while appreciating and following the voice of God. You will know when you are truly following the voice of God, because your life will be characterized by a sense of real love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which, as the Bible says, is the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22).