Have you ever said, “I want to know that the voice I’m hearing is the voice of God?” I know I have. But I’ve also come to learn that it’s not enough to want to hear God’s voice. My desire has to be deeper. I have to desire to know that the voice I’m hearing is His. Not mine. Not someone else’s. And definitely not the voice of the enemy of my soul.
But as young people like to say, “The struggle is real.”
There are so many things that try to drown out God’s voice and replace it with other stuff. And, some of that stuff is not bad. Some are good, but they may not be God’s things. Those good things can clutter our minds so much, that we simply can’t hear God’s voice.
Let’s use my prayer time as an example of what I mean.
When it comes to prayer, there are days when I feel like Elijah and I can pray like I am calling down rain from heaven. On those days I know I’m in the presence of the Lord and I know without a doubt that I’m hearing from Him.
But then there are those days when I try to pray, and it sounds something like this:
Heavenly Father, I come into Your presence this morning, giving You praise as God Almighty. The Creator of the universe. The one true and living God. Thank You, Lord, for Your love, Your mercy, and Your grace. [Wait a minute, did I take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner?] Lord, You are the Good Shepherd. Thank You, [Oh, the electric bill is due today. Did I pay it already? I need to check on that.] Um, let’s see…thank You, Lord, for a brand-new day. Help me to walk in wisdom today. My desire is not to lean on my own understanding but [Oh, I have to remember to call my brother. Let me make a quick note.] Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. I want You Lord, to direct my path and make my way straight and um, um, [oh no, look at the time]. Oh well, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Can you relate? Have you ever gotten ready to pray, started praying and your mind starts wandering into all the other things you need to do?
The truth is, Satan knows that if he can distract us by cluttering our minds with the things of this world, it is much harder for us to hear from God and to be sure that what we’re hearing is actually coming from Him.
As I thought about the things that clutter our minds, one thing that often keeps me from praying and hearing from God is busyness. Busyness stops you from being still and it forces your mind to be dominated by too many voices, often pushing God’s voice to the side.
The truth is, busy is not beautiful. It’s not a spiritual gift. There is no prize for it. Yet, we often wear our busyness like it’s a badge of honor. We proudly quote Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and proceed along on our busyness path.
But Jesus never told us that we have to do everything, all at one time. He gives us the strength to do those things God has called us to do in the season of life we’re currently in.
Life’s seasons change and the things we’re called to do can change with them. When we do things out of season, a too-busy life and a cluttered mind are the results.
So, if we want God to clear the clutter in our life and mind, what do we do?
First, identify your clutter. Satan knows which distractions work best to clutter each of our minds. And, he will use anything at his disposal to take our focus away from God. But God is always sovereign, and He will do whatever it takes to bring our focus back to Him and His will for our life.
One of the things scripture says is that if we need wisdom, we only need to ask God, and He will give it to us. (James 1:5)
So, take a moment and ask God, “What’s in my life and my mind that’s keeping me from clearly hearing your voice?”
After you’ve identified your clutter, the second thing you need to do is leave it at the foot of the cross.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” Jesus wants you to give Him whatever is cluttering up your mind. You don’t have to try to carry those burdens alone. He promises that He can handle it; you don’t have to. (Matthew 11:30)
And, finally, once you’ve identified your clutter and given it to Jesus, leave it there.
Galatians 5:1 tells us: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” When something is removed from a space, that space is now empty and if you’re not careful with how you re-fill it, you can end up right where you started. So, make a commitment that you won’t allow life’s distractions to re-clutter your mind and drown out God’s voice.
With everything that’s going on in our world today, prayer is the most important weapon we have in our arsenal. So, of course, Satan throws up all kinds of mental clutter to keep us from praying. But being able to hear God’s voice in prayer is truly the time to believe Philippians 4:13. He wants to be the dominant voice in our heads and our lives. And, not only can He cut through the clutter, but He can clear it once and for all.