I can still vividly recall the experience to this day.
I was at a basketball camp with my high school team. During one of the sessions we did an interesting exercise. A few members of our team were chosen to participate. They blind folded us one at a time and explained that we had to make it through this “mine field”. Our coach would be guiding us, helping us to avoid the mines. However, the rest of our teammates would be trying to distract us and cause missteps.
When it was my turn, I remember finding my coach’s voice and listening to only what he said. I was patient, discerning his commands from whatever mess everyone else was yelling. When he was silent, I made no moves, even though everyone else was still trying to sway me. I knew that my coach had my success in mind, so I only moved when and where he told me.
I was either the only one or one of two people from my team to make it through without a misstep. The exercise was meant to help us learn to recognize our coach’s voice in loud and distracting environments.
But it meant more than that to me.
I’m reminded of Jesus saying, “My sheep will know my voice.”
Distractions are around us every day. God is trying to speak to us, using his Word and his Holy Spirit to lead us through each moment. If I do not listen carefully, I can become easily distracted and lose my way or take steps that are detrimental to my relationship with my Savior.
You see, that exercise proved that I knew my coach’s voice from the rest of the voices and that I trusted his instructions. So if my coach wanted nothing but the best for me, how much more does my God want what is best for me and will ultimately bring him glory. If I listen to God’s leading in my life, I will avoid pitfalls and end up where God wants me to be. But if I do not listen closely for his voice, I will either stand still too long or be swayed by the voice of society or, even worse, the voice of the enemy of my soul.
Another lesson I have learned from that exercise is that, when listening for the voice of God, there may be people close to you who are communicating the same thing that the Lord is trying to say. He may even be using them as his mouthpiece in that moment. There is a huge caveat to this statement though. What any person says must match up to the Word of God. In other words, if someone’s direction or advice to me is in direct or even semi-direct opposition to the Bible, I do not need to listen. But if it is godly wisdom that matches up with what the Scriptures say, then I must take that advice into consideration.
This is why I must be reading the Scriptures, and staying close to the Lord. Because he is always speaking, so I need to be ready to hear what He is saying.
So to recap, I learned the following spiritual lessons from the exercise:
1. Listen for and recognize the voice of God
2. Listen for and recognize the voice of distractions as to discern the difference
3. Focus intensely on the voice of God (Scripture reading, prayer, being lead by the Spirit)
4. Drown out the other voices
5. Trust God and be patient when his voice is silent
6. Only move where and when he says
7. Weigh the voice/advice of close friends against God’s Word to discern if God is indeed speaking through them
8. No one else hears God for you. It is up to you to listen.
For Open Doors, the young men and women who participate to be able to trust the voices of leadership in their lives. As we develop this relationship with them we will also be explaining how the one true voice that is trustworthy- God. Our hope is that they will learn the same lessons I learned in that exercise through their time spent with us.
To learn more about Open Doors Christian Coaching, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our donation page at www.gofundme.com/opendoorscc to learn more about partnering with us.