According to one report, the average person hears 100,000 words and 34 gigabytes of information every day. That is a lot of information! The voices are constant, speaking out all sorts of agendas and motives and worldviews. That much noise can easily lead us into confusion and chaos. I raise this issue to ask an important question: Who are you listening to? What are your primary sources? How do you know they are trustworthy and true?
Recently, I was discussing politics with a few family members (risky!) and was encouraging us all to work harder to grow in civility and grace when discussing issues that we disagree about. During that conversation, there was a statement challenging a news report my wife mentioned. Rather than arguing, she responded, “That’s an interesting thought, what’s your source for that?”
All of us rely on specific sources to inform our many viewpoints. We can choose from countless news networks, social media outlets (which adjust what you see based on algorithms), podcasts, blogs and sound bites. In other arenas, like medical or business or religion, the options are also limitless. In fact, at this very moment you are reading my words and my view of the world. What are we to make of this? Should we limit our exposure to an overload of ideas? Should we shut out certain voices?
Numerous issues are being discussed and debated by fellow citizens, colleagues and church members making it challenging to discern who has the “right” opinion. I believe we must pay closer attention to where we look for information and work on consuming facts firsthand and fully rather than gobbling up brief, repetitive talking points from the second- or third-hand interpretations of others.
May we pause for a moment to establish the most essential voice, the source whose principles and purposes and promises should be shaping our core beliefs and convictions?
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I the LORD, have spoken!’” Jeremiah 9:23,24, NLT
“And [Christ Jesus] who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold I am making all things new.’ Also, he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘I am and Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.’” Revelation 21: 5-7, ESV
Before Creation God was speaking, and He has continued speaking through his Prophets, His Son (the Word), the Apostles and His written Word. Recently, the overwhelming number of political, medical and economic forecasts are nowhere close to being clear-cut for me. Only one source–even when I’m not paying close attention–is always reliable and speaks from an eternal perspective on all people, in all places and all times. When I filter everything else I’m hearing though that one source, I find all the truth, clarity, vision and hope that I need for another challenging year.
Please join me in meditating on these lyrics by Keith and Krysten Getty about listening to and embracing God’s words:
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You,
To receive the food of Your Holy Word;
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us,
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness.
That the light of Christ might be seen today,
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.
Teach us Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see,
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds,
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Lord, I come before You this morning pleading with You to speak to me. Oh, how I need to hear Your “still, small voice”. All the noise around me is pulling me down and diverting my attention and devotion away from You and Your truth. The world keeps telling me that a true Christian will be with one group or another, yet both are made up of sinful, often unloving humans. Jesus, I want to be found faithful only to You. By Your grace I am your follower. You are my source . . . my one and only source. I need to hear the sweet words of Your lovingkindness and power and promises to keep the right perspective today. Amen.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John, the Beloved Disciple (10:27-28)