The voice is meant to be the conduit through which the heart speaks. Yet, the voice of the church has been silenced and believers are no longer able to speak what’s on their heart. As a result, we’ve lost connection with our heart and many of us have no idea what we really believe. We read Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:18-19 and we think that our hearts are filled with evil and evil thoughts. Yet, the truth is that we’ve been given new hearts filled with the life of God so how can our heart be filled with evil. So, what was Jesus thinking? What was he talking about?
As explained in my previous post, Jesus’ ministry while on Earth occurred during a transition period at the end of the Old Covenant. Since the New Covenant didn’t go into effect until after his death and resurrection, the words he spoke (those red letter words we love so much) were actually spoken to people who lived under the Old Covenant so they do NOT apply to us today. Those words as recorded in Matthew were spoken to people who had not been given a new heart as we have been given today.
Our voices were meant to express what’s in our heart yet many of us have no idea what’s in our heart. We sing songs that others have written and we’re told to sing them because that’s how we’re supposed to worship God. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to sing those songs. There are many of them that I love and they do express what’s on my heart but, since our voices have been silenced, we never get to sing the song that in our heart. So, although the songs we sing in church may be meaningless to us, we go along and pretend that we’re worshipping God while the true song of worship that’s in our heat goes unsung.
Week after week, we’re told what to think and what to believe. Week after week, we sit and listen to someone tell us what God is speaking to the church and, if what we’re hearing doesn’t agree with what is said, then we decide that we must be wrong and that God doesn’t speak to us the way he speaks to the “man of God.”
This constant doubting and questioning of ourselves causes us to lose connection with our heart, the place where God live and, when we lose connection with our heart, we lose our awareness of him and of his presence and love. As a result, we end up with what I call a second hand faith that is built on what we’ve been told instead of what we really believe. So, we try to “witness” but we end up parroting what we’ve heard others say instead of what we’ve experienced and once again the voice of our heart has been silenced.
God is our Father and he wants to speak directly to us, his children, just like any other father. I have two children and seven grandchildren and when I want to speak to one of them, I don’t tell it to that child’s brother or sister and then tell them to relay it to the other child. No! I just speak directly to that child. God is no different. He doesn’t use a go-between. He wants to speak directly to us so we need to stop depending on someone else to tell us what our Father is saying to us.
I believe it’s getting more and more critical for the church to develop its listening ears. We need to hear God when he speaks to us and to understand what he’s saying. We need to develop our listening ears by learning to trust our hearts. We can develop this greater sensitivity by listening for the simple things that it might be saying. Learning to recognize the desires of our heart is key since God speaks through the desires of our heart. What do I like and what don’t I like? What do I want to do and what don’t I want to do? These are important questions and we need to know the answers.
I’m finding out that by honestly answering questions like that that I’m learning more about myself and, in the process, I’m discovering my true self, the real ME. It’s important that we recognize our true self because that’s where the life of God resides and that’s where he’ll communicate with us.
“When Jesus spoke, he spoke to the heart.” (Darin Hufford) The same is true today so, if we’re not hearing God, it’s because we’ve lost connection with our heart.
Leadership in the church is critical, however, not the type of leadership that we’ve grown accustomed to. I’m becoming more and more convinced that the function of leadership isn’t to tell us what God is saying but to help us develop our own listening ears so we can hear him for ourselves without a go-between. When that happens, we’ll become mature sons and daughters of God. However, for the church to move into the fullness of what he has for us, we need to re-connect with our heart. Only then, will our voice be able to speak from the life of God that is in our heart.Silencing the voice of the heart is a common tool used by spiritually abusive groups in order to control their members. Once we leave those groups, we often discover that we have no voice other than to echo the voice of the abusive leader. It's s difficult journey to freedom but it's critically important for us to re-connect with our heart and discover our own voice.
I’d love to hear some of your stories about how you’ve been able to find your voice and the freedom to express what’s really on your heart. If you’d like to share your experiences, please post a comment. I believe it would be encouraging to others who are just starting this journey to freedom.