I love the beautiful Christmas carol “Do You Hear What I Hear?” which announces the Savior’s birth bringing goodness and light. Ironically hearing voices in today’s culture is often a sign of mental illness. However, if we were each to be honest with ourselves, it is true that all of us hear voices in our minds from words we have been told repeatedly. These voices can have a positive or negative effect upon our life and actions. Being told you are ignorant as a child may later lead to poor self-esteem and many failures as an adult. On the contrary, being raised with steady words of love and affirmation will usually lead to the confidence needed to be successful.
During the 2011 Country Music Awards songwriter Chris Young sang a beautiful song about the voices he had known growing up- like words of advice from his father to never quit and instruction by his mother to always pray. A child cannot pick his or her parents, or their words, but those of us who are parents can pick our words.
The Bible often warns of the power of the tongue, especially in James. There it likens the tongue to a bit in a horse’s mouth or a rudder on a ship- both determine direction. Small, but dangerous, it is also compared to fire. Sadly, the first sinful flame began in the Garden of Eden when Eve listened to Satan’s voice, deceptively misleading her and Adam which led to devastating consequences for all mankind.
Today the world is full of voices competing for our attention. Millions of dollars are spent on voices used in marketing advertisements, music lyrics, and political campaigns. As adults we should choose the voices that speak into our life.
We can flip the radio dial, change the television channel, and participate in positive groups and worthwhile causes. We can select friends who encourage and bring out our best. It is wise to surround ourselves with others who are careful with their words, aware of their importance, and know how to speak truth in love.
The Bible warns us of those who use the same tongue to bless God, yet curse men- that a fountain cannot contain both bitter and sweet water. (James 3:9-12) If your friends use their words to harmfully gossip, beware.
Most importantly we can choose to listen to God’s voice by reading His Word. Daily input from scripture and prayer can transform our lives! It can guide and direct our decisions. It can even whitewash away the hurtful words that have harmed us in the past.
This Christmas I am thankful for the voices I hear and have heard. I am thankful for Christian parents, for wise mentors, for spiritual teachers, and those of my family. Most importantly I am grateful for the Lord’s voice. Hebrews 1:1-3 explains that God spoke long ago through prophets in the Old Testament, but He speaks to us now through His Son- another reason to celebrate Jesus’ birth!
For whether God whispers through His Holy Spirit words of correction, or clarifies direction, or calls for action, I feel loved knowing that He values me enough to speak into my life! This Christmas let us take the time to listen. Merry Christmas!