While driving through the city on a rainy morning last week, I found myself preoccupied with the high tensions and negative energy coursing through this culture, and how easy it is to be swept up in it all.
It seems that all I’m hearing, seeing and ingesting lately, is breaking news, opinions about said news, and more opinions. I wake up and scroll through my phone, and see it there. I drive to work listening to various news broadcasts, and hear it there. I get to where I’m going, and mouths are always moving, stating their opinions on every topic under the sun, and I ingest what I see and hear.
Suddenly, it hit me: I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard God’s voice regarding all of this.
He’s been quiet for a while, letting me and letting us, take it all in and try to grasp what’s happening.
But in that moment, as I waited at that red light and the news broadcast began to fade into background noise, I felt Him start to prod my heart.
“I have an opinion about all of this, too. Come and listen. Come listen to my voice. Shut out the noise and the chaos, and turn your eyes and heart to me. Don’t forget me. Don’t let the blaring voices of everyone around you drown out my voice. You must hear me, you must not let go of me.”
Immediately, I felt my heart pull away from it all. I need a break. I need a reprieve from this loud chaos.
As Christians, we can share our thoughts and opinions all day long, as loud as we can, but the only words that can breathe life and healing and hope into this mess, are His words. We desperately need to hear His voice in these times. We need the word of the Lord, because that is the only word that is going to have any real effect.
As the church, and as leaders in the church, we have to shut it all down and listen.
I’ve seen many leaders in the body of Christ share articulate, well-written and well-spoken thoughts regarding all that is happening in our nation today. While this is not a bad thing and encourages dialogue, it is not the best answer right now. Unless those words and thoughts are backed by spending time in prayer and communication with the Lord, even good-sounding, feel-good rhetoric, will not change anything.
Now more than ever, we need to stay close to the Father. We cannot afford to be swayed by the ever-shifting winds of the culture around us. We must remain steadfast, and the only way this can happen is by abiding in Him.
I want to call all of us who profess the name of Christ, to take a step back and look at our hearts. Our hearts may be in the right place, or they may not.
We live in a world where raising our voices and speaking out is so common that waiting to put your voice out there, is rare. It is a rarity to hold off on sharing your opinions for a while. The kind of atmosphere in which we are currently living can cause a false sense of urgency to come to a conviction or conclusion and immediately speak it - because if we don’t speak now, we’ll never be heard. We may feel an urgency to share something, because we feel obligated, or that God needs us to speak up.
This is simply not true. Don’t give in to the pressure to speak out on an issue or topic just because everyone is doing so. I realize that some leaders in the church will argue against this because they have a church to pastor and people to lead. I would encourage you, however, especially in those situations, to wait and listen for His voice. Make sure that what you are feeding your sheep comes from Him. It’s so important, as leaders in the church, to be led by Him so that we may lead others properly.
While standing up for truth and what we believe in is absolutely necessary, it is not urgent. It is not so pressing that we speak now.
What is urgent is that we hear His voice accurately, and in turn tell others what He tells us. We need real fruit. We know others by the fruit we see coming from their lives. I want to be someone who is full of good fruit, the fruit that comes from remaining close to Jesus.
Don’t speak out just to get your voice out there. Speak out because you have something deep, real, and prophetic to say. Speak because you’ve heard Him, and you want to tell others what He’s told you.
It is appealing to speak. We all want to be heard, and we all want to feel like we are an important part of the fabric of this story. We want to feel significant, and sharing our thoughts can make us feel significant.
But if we’re professing the name of Christ, and claiming to be His followers, let’s walk out what that really means. What does it look like, in this time, in this culture, to be a real disciple of Jesus?
The most important thing is that we not neglect the place of communication and intimacy with Him. Because even more important than speaking His words to the world around us, is having our heart changed by those words.
He’s ready to share His thoughts with us, and if we quiet down and listen, I have a feeling we’re going to see our culture shift when we step out with life-giving words. The place of abiding in Christ is so rich with reformative potential. Let’s step into that and make history.