it’s amazing how God designed the human brain to be able to pick out individual voices in a crowd. There could be any number of people talking all at once in a crowded room and you could mentally focus on one conversation and then another without having to move around in the room or tilt your head to hear better. The brain uses the different characteristics of each voice to give it something to focus on. This makes for an interesting experiment (and powerful sermon illustration).
Suppose several people were in a room all speaking at once. The room is totally dark so you can’t see them. To make things worse, you don’t know any of these people. If I told you one of the voices was “John’s” voice and I asked you to tell me what he was saying, you would not be able to. He could be speaking just as clearly as the others but because you don’t know what his voice sounds like, you could not know for sure which voice is his. Your mind would focus on one voice, and then another, and maybe even John’s voice for a time. You could make a guess, but most probably it would be wrong.
However, if I introduced you to John and you had a short conversation with him, then you would be able to pick out his voice in a crowd because you would know what his voice sounds like. I could ask you what he is saying and with a little concentration, you would be able to tell me. Sure, it wouldn’t be as easy as hearing his voice alone, but you could do it. You wouldn’t mistake someone else’s voice for his.
The world is alot like that crowded dark room. There are alot of “conversations” going on at once: ideas, philosophies, and other distractions that make it hard to concentrate on God’s voice. What makes it harder is that many of those other voices are impersonating God. We see this in the news when someone says they committed some crime because God told them to.
Jesus said in John 10:
When he has put forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.
– John 10:4-5 (JND)
As Christians, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, but we also need to be aware that the enemy is out there trying to lead us astray.
How do you know when God is speaking to you? You can’t unless you’re familiar with His voice. Now I’m not talking about some audiable quality. He doesn’t usually speak to people that way. I’m talking about the things He says. God is not going to tell you to do something that is contrary to what He has already spoken in the Bible. There is safety in knowing God, recognizing His voice, and following Him. We can’t do that unless we become familiar with His voice. To do that, spend time meditating on God’s word. Then you won’t be fooled by imposters.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
– 1 Corinthians 2:16 (KJV)