Distinguishing the Voice of Truth
by Rachelle Dekker
All of us have voices in our heads. Voices that represent our past and our future. Voices that encourage and condemn. Voices that challenge us to love and voices that beg us to give into our fears. Amid all the chatter, it can be hard to discover and hear the voice of truth.
This is never more true than when the chips are down and the darkness is rolling in. When you feel like your back is up against a wall—you’re faced with a choice and uncertain of which step to take. In these moments when the world is closing in around you and all the voices in your head are screaming at once, how do you distinguish truth from fiction?
I’ve discovered, for me, that the only way to distinguish chatter from wisdom is to ask one question: Does this voice lead me to love or does it lead me to fear? I’ve found that all the clutter can usually be divided into one of these two categories: love or fear. In fact, I may argue that all of the choices in life that we face come down to either walking forward in love or walking forward in fear.
Now you may be thinking life is too complex to be divided into only two categories. That makes it too simple. And I would answer, yes, you’re right. It is very simple, yet how often do we find ourselves fighting to hear love through our own fears? Why do we struggle to hear the truth Christ says about us through the darkness we perceive around us?
Picture the moments when you fail. When you set out to complete a goal and miss the mark. We can all identify with this. Whether it relates to our careers, finances, health or self-image, we all fail. And as soon as we realize the end result isn’t what we wanted, those familiar voices of doubt and self-loathing show up. Right on cue. Every time. You begin to limit yourself. Maybe you look in the mirror and even hate yourself because you’ve failed.
Or imagine when you are faced with conflict. Either someone you care about or a complete stranger has threatened your beliefs. We have all faced this—recently more than ever. And those voices of fear, disguised as pride and moral justice, roar to life and call for blood. You have been offended, and you deserve to hold on to that offense. At least until the offender apologizes. Here those familiar voices of anger urge us to be defensive. To protect ourselves from the opposite side, for fear that their way will destroy us all.
I may sound a bit dramatic, but only to demonstrate the point that in both cases, the voices in our heads screaming for anything other than love are fear. So let’s just take a second to talk about the kind of love I mean.
I simply get my definition from Paul when he writes about love in 1 Corinthians 13. I won’t write out the whole chapter here—though if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to stop and do so—but I’ll sum up some of the most staggering parts.
“If I have enough faith to move mountains, but do not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind.” And then a few sentences later he goes on to write, “Love is not provoked; love keeps no record of wrongs.”
Paul made a bold statement about love here. Is patient and not provoked? Holds no record of wrongs? Does that mean when I judge myself for failing or hold a grievance against someone who has wronged me, I am not listening to the voice of love?
These are the questions I often find myself asking. So when I am faced with a choice and I have voices pulling me in either direction, I always try to slow down and think: Which voice here leads me back to the definition of love I find in Scripture? Which voice leads me to love? Because the choice is always ours. Love my enemy or not. Love myself or not. Love my situation or not. Listen to the voice of the Father, who is love, and follow in His way, or choose to listen to the voices of fear that usually take us in the opposite direction.
This doesn’t mean I don’t make goals, or have certain beliefs, or pick sides, or stand up for my choices. It just means that I try to temper my reactions to all situations—whether they be internal or external—with love. A love that isn’t provoked, that is kind and patient.
Because as the church, we are called to love the same way Christ loves us. That means toward ourselves and all others. And these days it is easy to get consumed with voices of fear. So go back to the definition of love, because the voice of truth will always align itself there.
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She won a Christy Award for her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Choosing, which was followed by two more books in the Seer series: The Calling and The Returning. Rachelle graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at www.rachelledekker.com.
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