Discerning The Voices

Written by Phyllis. Posted in Articles

God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.  Hab 3:19

   He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.

  Psa 18:33

  There is a luring to mountain heights for some. The light of His Goodness, His Wisdom, His promise ( of the impossible for us in our strength).


    Men of God have asked for hinds feet to negotiate the impossibly sheer rock faces that separate them from the next visible footholds. Our pastor had a dramatic vision of the Lord showing him a mountain peak and asking pastor could he climb to the top - he didn't have to ask if he wanted to climb to the top; they both knew he did! And pastor said no , I can't. But the Lord said "I'll help you, and you'll be able"

     The climb to the top is sanctification, it is dying to flesh and to self will. It is not an effort made to subject oneself to exhaustion and suffering for exhaustion's and suffering's sake; it is an effort made to get to the top! Peace, truth, ultimate fulfillment- he who loses his life shall gain it.

      The past several teachings deal with yieldedness; more than obedience, a joyful acceptance and delight in the yoke of the Lord. The hinds feet that the psalmist speaks of are yielded to the skills and instincts of which God is the author. I've proposed that we must find comfort in his rod and staff; the writer of Hebrews urges us to consider that true sons- those who are valued and cherished by their fathers are chastised and corrected. I've spent a lot of ink talking about submitting to spiritual leadership. Once again the writer of Hebrews instructs us to value our leaders, consider their responsibility to us, consider their lives of faith and model ours after them, and not cause them exasperation. I've talked about the very mechanical act of putting off the old self and putting on Christ.

 To reach the mountaintop, we will also need to discern the voice of the Lord. In our fellowship, we believe in the logos word, but we hold that there is a Rhema word that can be spoken by the Holy Spirit straight into our heart or by a prophet or by any Saint as a charisma. Unfortunately, that opens us up to many voices. As the Lord gives us hind's feet rather than picking us up and carrying us to the mountaintop, so He gives us discernment rather than preventing voices from reaching us.

   The mature Christian must yield to the process of discovering that voices he or she had attributed to the Lord or the Lord's mind- much as a child would say "Dad wouldn't like that, or he'll be mad about that"; the child is interpreting the mind of his father- may not be the Lord or His voice at all.

    We can reassure our hearts in His presence ... (w)henever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [Forwe are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything.

1 John 3:20

   This passage from one of John's short letters reveals that our conscience, though everybody's first acquaintance with internal communication with God, is not always God's voice and it can do the work of the enemy. This is not a reason to throw up your hands and say "well to heck with being sensitive to that!" In essence, that's the gist of the false grace movement: my conscience tormented me so I'm throwing it out! But truly that is throwing the baby out with the bath water ! As Paul said, don't quench the Spirit ( but ) test every prophecy! 

     Finally, we need to reexamine a very familiar portion of scripture that is so familiar we can miss the sophistication of the teaching of it. When Jesus was led into the wilderness for a 40 day fast, He got every bit as hungry as you or I would. He was full of the Spirit but still growing and maturing and as tempted by the needs and sufferings of the flesh as we would be. There's nobody reading this that hasn't noticed how extreme fatigue or prolonged depravation can cause you to revert to near heathen reactions to stress or annoyances. So the Son of God, fully human, is alone dealing with thoughts for hours and days on end and the voice of ....God(?) to which He has made every effort to yield to and will continue to yield to and will cause Him to do public miracles to convince people who He is( a major theme in the gospel of John is believe my words because of the miracles and works I perform) tells Him to throw Himself off the Temple so everyone can see the miracle of God and know that Jesus is the Messiah. Now Jesus, like you and I perceives He hears the voice of God and reflexively does what? Scans scripture to validate or invalidate what he heard. Exactly what we're supposed to do! So the prince of the power of the air has a passage from Psalms -the same collection of scriptures containing qseveral prophecies that will guide and inform Jesus throughout His ministry and into His death- to convince Jesus of the divinity of this command. Jesus is all about the Psalms written by His blood relative - well I could go on. So this thing about jumping off the Temple is really not far fetched or absurd and it has serious scripture to back it up. But there's something in Jesus that is saying I'm not sure about that. That's the beginning of discernment ; the enemy will panic when he sees it and tell you it's doubt or lack of faith ( remember what we said about Satan hijacking your conscience?)! Jesus then grabs the passage from the hand of the Holy Spirit, and like David slinging the stone into the giant's forehead, Jesus delivers the sword of the true Rhema word to Satan: "since I discern that it was neither the Father instructing Me to jump or giving me the verse about angels' protecting Me if I purposefully put myself in danger, but you trying to confuse and tempt me, I'll dismiss you with the real truth that I'm not to test my Father's love and protection with wanton acts of my will"

     The climb to the top is impossible without Gods help. We depend on Him for hinds feet, dying to selfishness and self will, embracing correction, submitting to human vessel, spiritual leadership and discernment of the voices; discarding of voices that have become comforting and familiar but more representative of the flesh and the enemy than God!

Don't shrink from this daunting challenge, but trust in the Lord and keep climbing! Theo