If not, maybe you’re not listening hard enough. I think most of us “hear” two opposing voices all the time. One of those voices belongs to the serpent who tricked Eve in the Garden, ruining God’s perfect world, and one is the voice of One who created us, loves us and died for us. From that perspective, you’d think it would be easy to decide to whom we should listen, wouldn’t you? But it really, really isn’t. In fact, it seems like most of the time I find myself listening and acting on the wrong one. In fact, I feel exactly like Paul describes in Romans 7:14-25:
We know that the law is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. I don't understand what I do. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. I do what I don't want to do. So I agree that the law is good. As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them.
I know there is nothing good in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I can't. I don't do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don't want to do. I do what I don't want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me.
Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. Deep inside me I find joy in God's law. But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body. What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So in my mind I am a slave to God's law. But in my sinful nature I am a slave to the law of sin.
So, how do we learn to hear God’s voice over Satan’s?
In Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 52&53, Ellen White says that Adam and Eve weren’t taken by surprise by Satan, that “heavenly messengers” had showed them the war in heaven and had warned them that Satan would be out to get them, but that if they followed God’s rules, they would be safe from him. “While they were obedient to God, the evil one could not harm them; for, if need be, every angel in heaven would be sent to their help.” I hadn’t really thought about that before. Another thing I just learned is that Satan wasn’t allowed to chase them around the Garden to tempt them; he could only stay in that one tree. Thinking about it now, it seems like it should have been pretty easy to stay out of trouble…they knew what to expect and where to expect it, and they still walked right into trouble. We haven’t gotten any better over the years have we? God has told us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And what do we do? We douse ourselves thoroughly with raw hamburger; walk right up to him and say, “Howdy!” God must just shake his head, roll his eyes, and wonder… “What are they thinking?”
He must cry as well. Can you imagine the heartbreak He felt as He watched Eve and then Adam take bites of the fruit? Sure, He knew they would, but when it happened for real, it must have torn His heart out. I don’t think it gets any easier for Him as we trip, stumble, fall, crash into things and make fools of ourselves as we try to keep ourselves from sinning.
It should be so easy! You just tune your ear to God, and you’ll be fine. Right?
Yeah, sure. Six thousand years sinning have brought each of us to the point that it’s just easier to hear the lies that Satan tells, than the truth of Jesus. Satan is free to chase us around and tempt us all the time. We can be doing really well, walking in Christ, doing what we should be doing, and BANG! Satan will put a thought in our minds that has nothing to do with anything, but we entertain that thought for just a micro-second…and he has us. Satan uses the same tricks with us that he used with Eve. He takes the gifts that God has given us and uses them against us. Satan appealed to Eve’s “physical, aesthetic and intellectual nature.” He approaches each of us in the same way and because we have given ourselves over to those natures and forgotten our heavenly natures we almost can’t help but sin.
There is hope though. God promised back there in the Garden that He would stand with us against evi,l that He would never leave us to face Satan alone. Unfortunately, even though He never leaves us, we are always wandering away from Him. Part of that is another inheritance from Adam and Eve. After they sinned, they tried to hide from God because they had an “overpowering sense of sin and a dread of the future.” So, they hid. But they were also hiding from themselves. When we sin we separate ourselves from God and from who God created us to be. We, like Adam and Eve, try to sidestep the responsibility of our sin and place it on someone or something else because we are trying to avoid seeing how sinful we have become. Amazingly enough, though, God knows, and He loves us anyway. All He’s waiting for us to do is to turn to Him and ask for His help and forgiveness. As soon as we do that He’ll wrap us in His arms and tell us He loves us and how much He’s missed us.
So, whose voice are we listening for? Jesus voice isn’t loud or pushy and so many things out there scream louder – work, school, radio, TV, newspapers, families, friends, shopping, even relaxing. It’s really, really hard for me to turn all those things down so that I can hear “the still small voice” that I need to listen to. I’m so glad that Jesus doesn’t give up when I don’t listen the first, or the thousandth time He tries to teach me. I’m thankful that He’s patient, more patient than I deserve, when I fall over the same sin time and time again. I feel blessed that He loves me so much that He gave up His life so that I could live with Him. I’m looking forward to walking with Him through the heavenly garden like Adam and Eve walked through Eden with Him. And, can you imagine, Jesus is looking forward to that too. I want to hear Jesus talking to me face to face someday, but for now, I will listen to His still small voice – the Voice of Truth.