The Frequency of Life

I was driving my son to his friend’s house—he was 14 or 15 years old at the time—and along the way I shared this observation with him, “Music can influence you to accept thoughts and worldviews that you would never entertain had they not been put to lyrics with a pleasing melody. You have to be careful about what you take in.” After brief silence, Matthew replied, “You’re right.” (What dad wouldn’t savor those two words from the lips of his teenager?!?) From AM/FM to Wi-Fi, the air is saturated with radio frequencies, each carrying its own message and leaving its own effect. We choose from among them. The same is true about hearing God. There are many voices coming at us from different directions, all of them saying different things, and each of them demanding our acceptance. Then how do we choose wisely from among them? How do we recognize the Voice of truth and tune in to God?

We recognize him by what He speaks. On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that it was for their own good that He return to the Father, for in His place He would send us the Holy Spirit—“the Spirit of truth.”1 We will know Him, “for he lives with you and will be in you,” Jesus promised.2 Then this Holy Spirit who abides in us speaks to us only that which he hears from the Son.3 He teaches us and reminds us of Jesus’ words to us,4 for His are the words of life.5 In the veritable wall of noise that is our world, isn’t Truth the frequency we seek? It still exists. He is a person—Jesus the Christ— and the Spirit glorifies Him.6

So we tune in to what the Spirit says, for “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace,”7 and we tune out the worldly desires of our sin nature. We bypass the noise of the evil one, for he is “a liar and the father of lies,”8 and we select instead from the playlist of truth. We block out the voices that incessantly demand our constant fear, and we stream the song of Him who loves us. We take captive even our own thoughts and feelings and submit them to Christ Jesus,9 who is the Truth. The Spirit of God glorifies the Son of God. His voice is the frequency that speaks life. Tune in and take in all He has to say to you today.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”—John 10:27.

Father, “Speak, for your servant is listening.10 In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 John 16:7
2 John 14:17
3 John 16:13-14
4 John 14:26
5 John 6:66
6 John 16:14
7 Romans 8:5-6
8 John 8:44
9 2 Corinthians 10:5
10 1 Samuel 3:10


The Other Side of Hearing God

I was curious. A missionary friend had returned to the U.S. for a welcome respite, so I asked him how he in his vocation seeks and hears God. “Being able to discern the Spirit’s input starts with submission,” he began, “I think it’s very easy for us, myself included, to want to hold onto my own plans and say, ‘OK Spirit do what you want to do in my life that backs up what I already want to do,’ rather than saying, ‘You have my whole life, Spirit, what should I do today? What should I do in the next hour?’” My friend spoke as one who had come to realize that, while we seek the guidance of God’s voice, He seeks our obedience to His voice. It is the other side of hearing God—now that He has spoken, how will we respond?

To God, there is no separation between faith and obedience: the latter is an element of the former—“the obedience of faith,”1 the apostle Paul called it. In other words, the soul who knows it is loved to the point of sacrifice, that its most sinful slate is wiped clean, and that it is indwelled by the God who created it—this soul gratefully surrenders its will to God’s plan, obeying Him with a divine blend of deep humility and great joy. It is how at the angel’s command, Philip ran up to the Ethiopian official’s chariot, shunning any thought of personal embarrassment.2 It is how Ananias obeyed a vision and ministered to Saul, that zealous persecutor of the church, despite the obvious danger in doing so.3 It is how at the Spirit’s moving, Emily’s former lab partner reached out to her with specific and relevant words of encouragement, despite knowing nothing of her distress, risking rejection and ridicule through his obedience.4 These and so many faithful ones like them are the blessed ones who not only call Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” 5 but also do what He says. Their faithfulness inspires us to be true; their “Yes” summons our own.

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts,”6 penned the author of the Hebrews epistle. As my missionary friend said, it begins with submission. We seek His voice; He seeks our obedience—the other side of hearing God.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”7—Jesus, to His followers.

Father, You know how I seek Your voice and direction. Help me, in turn, to be faithful to You when You speak. Grace me with the heart to live today in the obedience of faith. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Romans 1:5 ESV; Romans 16:26 ESV
2 Acts 8:26-40
3 Acts 9:10-19
4 Read this brief story in our September 8, 2021 post: “Of People, Circumstances and Timing.
5 See Luke 6:46
6 Hebrews 3:15
7 Luke 11:28


Sitting Quietly with God

It was the 17th century mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and theologian Blaise Pascal who opined, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” (And that was before earbuds!) Personally, I see our “inability to sit quietly” as more of a symptom than a cause, but the man raises a good point, for have you ever noticed our tendency to fill “dead air”? Let us count the ways: podcasts, movies, TED talks, calling, texting, streaming, newsfeeds, YouTube, TV . . . we could go on. There is nothing wrong with any of these helpful means to learning, connection and leisure, of course, but when they conspire as enablers to our “inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” we can miss the calm of God’s presence and the balm of His voice.

God speaks through His Word, for the Spirit ignites its truth in our hearts, where it transforms us in beautiful ways and equips us for God’s meaningful work. (See our August 4 post: “The Bible is Changing Me.”) Still, there is a difference between reading Scripture and meditating on it, for when we engage the Word, knowledge matures into understanding, and a flickering light burns brighter inside. “I have more insight than my teachers,” marveled David, “for I am always thinking of your laws.”1 And when we mull Scripture over in our minds, insight leads to wonderment. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”2

Then how do we meditate on God’s Word, that it would speak to the innermost reaches of our soul? I have found that journaling takes me deep into the Word. I jot down a Scripture passage and then write whatever comes to mind—usually what I am learning from the verse and also how it is affecting me (e.g., praise, conviction, or a call to change or action)—after which I respond in written prayer. Of course, not everyone finds journaling to be helpful, so perhaps the memorization and recall of Scripture ushers you to a closer seat in the presence of God. Maybe you’re a student by nature, one who searches deep and wide to understand individual passages within the broader Biblical context, your heart burning with fresh insights to ancient words. How do you best focus?

Truthfully, we are never “in a room alone,” for God is always with us and He invites us to draw near to Him. He is the One who sustains us through “humanity’s problems,” for He is faithful. “Sit quietly” with Him, and meditate on His Word. He speaks.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.3 In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Psalm 119:99
2 Psalm 119:97
3 Psalm 19:14