We hear many voices on any given day. And, as you are well aware, a fair amount of those voices are about you. So, I thought it might be wise to spend some time talking about those voices.
The first voices to consider are those we hear from others. What do others say about you? If you’re fortunate, people say encouraging things about you. Our family, friends, and even co-workers often provide a steady stream uplifting and inspiring commentary on our behalf. At best, it's not completely accurate, and, at times, downright ego-inflating propaganda.
But, our press from others is not always positive. We’ve all heard the expression, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Here’s the thing, that’s just not true. A black eye goes away in a couple of weeks, and a broken bone heals in only a couple months. Words, however, cut deep and have a way of remaining open for years. Perhaps you’ve been told you’re too skinny, too fat, too old, too stupid, too poor, or any number of more painful descriptors.
Sometimes these voices know us. Sometimes they don’t. But just because the guy on the TV talking about our need for a new car and clearer skin doesn’t know us, personally, it’s hard not to listen to him.
The voices of others are not the only voices we hear. What do you say about you? We all talk to ourselves. We talk to ourselves when we look in the mirror. We talk to ourselves when we are alone. We talk to ourselves in the boardroom during a meeting, in the classroom when we are looking at a grade, and when we’ve just had a bad interaction with a family member. What we say to ourselves has a profound impact on our lives.
Maybe you wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like me!” Or, perhaps you wake up each morning and tell yourself things that are even more hurtful than any words others could say. Many of us live each day telling ourselves that it’s only a matter of time before we are exposed as the failure we already believe we are.
Between the voices of others and our own internal dialogue, we can end up with a wildly inaccurate and unhelpful view of ourselves – positive or negative!
Fortunately, there is another voice that is speaking to us. One that is offering words that truly matter. So, what does God say about you?
First, God says some things that we probably don’t want to hear. He says that we are sinners who have broken covenant with Him, transgressed His Law, and deserve his wrath. Or to put it more directly, “For all (that’s you) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
We might call these words the beginning of a “come to Jesus” conversation. And well they are!
Fortunately for us, Jesus came to save sinners, and we need to listen to what he is saying about us. Early in his ministry, he declares, “For God so loved the world (that’s you) that he gave His only Son that whoever (that’s you) believes in him will never perish but have everlasting life.”
As we learned last week, God tells us through the Apostle Peter, who was always trying to prove himself, that contrary to what we or anyone else tells us, “But you (yes, you) are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you (yes, you) may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you (once more – yes, you) are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
He also says through the flawed Apostle Paul “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
As Jack Miller, who started a course called Sonship is famous for saying, “Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”
The voice of God, spoken through Scripture, by His Son, and the Apostles, are the words through which we should filter all others.