In my quiet time this morning I looked up the words, “voice”, “voices”, “word” , “words” and “tongue” in my Bible program’s concordance. I expected a fairly large number of hits but I was not expecting the volume I discovered. These five words are found over eighteen hundred times in the NASB95 translation. Only the Good Lord knows how many more text references refer to this subject concerning what we speak and what we hear. Anytime the Word of God mentions something with such numerical volume…we should pay close attention.
There may be no better portion of scripture than the one found in James concerning the power of the words we speak as well as the word we hear. James says,
James 3:1–12 (The Message)
WHEN YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH
1–2 3 Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.
3–5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
5–6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7–10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10–12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
This really doesn’t need much commentary does it? Our words, our voices are powerful instruments for good or for evil. In like manner we must choose which voices we are going to listen as well. A curse or a blessing could be the outcome of whom we choose to listen.
Listening to the wrong voice is what caused all the chaos in the word today. The woman listened to the voice of the serpent and ate. The man listened to the voice of his wife and life in the garden ended for everyone.
Genesis 3:17 (NASB95)
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
My friend, listening to and then acting upon the wrong voices in your life can ruin everything. They may ruin you, and like it or not, they may ruin things for others around you. This is no insignificant truth. Life and death are in the power of the tongue and how we choose to respond to it.
WHOSE VOICE OR VOICES ARE YOU LISTENING TOO?
The sad part is most of us are not discerning enough to recognize the voice of the enemy when we hear it. Why? Because it comes through a beautifully deceptive package. The vessel looks good and the words are smooth as butter. The woman was deceived by a “stranger” in a tree. But Adam, he was deceived by the words of the one closets to him. His wife. The principle here is clear. (No, its’ not that you can’t trust your wife!) The principle is that we must be aware that even our most familiar relationships can become voices of the enemy in our lives.
Yes, that is frightening in one respect but we must realize Jesus was aware of this truth when he rebuked the devil through the mouth of Peter and in dealing with the treacherous Judas who betrayed him with a “kiss”.
My friend, there is only one voice we are to hear and act upon. There is only one voice we are to hear and follow and that is the voice of the Lord Jesus Himself.
John 10:1–5 (NASB95)
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Before you act on anything, make sure the voice you are hearing is the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you hear His voice, you have a responsibility to follow it. If you don’t, it is to your own peril. It’s not that Jesus will “smite” you. No, no. It is that you refuse to follow The Shepherd as He moves ahead. In doing so you become open game for the hounds of hell and even worse deception and harm.
There may be many voices speaking, but only One that we must hear. As my precious wife says, “The voices in your ear get into your head. These words then become ingrained in your thinking, travel to your heart, and produce actions which may bless or curse.”
Whose voice do you listen too?