“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  John 10:27

Right or wrong, true or false, left or right? In a world of choices and conflicting answers how can anyone know which way to go? The world today is trying to tell us that truth is relative and everything depends on your own perspective. The only problem with that is when you decide to build your life on someone else’s popular truth, and they change their truth, you find your life has been built on sand and it evaporates under your feet. It’s at that moment you discover you need something more substantial to build your life on than another person’s opinion. Understand me here, I’m not telling you to take my word for it, I’m asking you to consider listening to the only voice that matters, Jesus.

I just returned from a week spent in Colorado looking at what the Bible has to say about building a fruitful marriage and raising Godly children. It says a lot more than you might think, but that is a subject for another day. The thing I want to bring up is a game all the families there played with our kids. Since mine are now 34, 30 and 26 years old, they weren’t with us so we “borrowed” a few for the week from two families that help run the camp. What was supposed to be an entertaining exercise had me holding back strong emotions of anger and frustration by the end.

It went like this: your kids are blindfolded and placed in the middle of a 20 yard wide circle. My wife and I (and the other couples) stand outside the circle in a fixed spot and call for our kids to come to us. When they reach us, the game is over. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast. 

As soon as they say go, seven sets of parents are screaming as loud as they can for their children. Add to that a group of interns and staff members inside the circle, directly in the kids ears, who are giving false instructions from a closer vantage point than us. All this is designed to lead our kids away from us. Away from the only voice that promises true protection and security. As I watched our two children going the wrong way, being lied to right in front of me, the anger inside me started to build as my voice grew louder and louder. After what seemed like an hour (closer to two minutes) they finally zeroed in on us and ignored the other voices and worked their way to where we could grab them, pull them to us, and hug them both tightly. Can you feel my anger turn to exhilaration? I still can even as I write this.

The joy felt is what Jesus experiences when we finally hear His voice over all the deception the world throws at us and we move toward Him. The anger is the realization of how the world wants to get between us and our kids and between us and Jesus. A world that promises false safety, comfort, protection and love if we just listen to it. But it’s all lies, and will ultimately lead to destruction. 

In chapter 10 of John’s Gospel, Jesus gives a short but stark contrast between what the world offers and what He offers. In verse 10 He points out the thief (Satan) has only one objective – to steal, kill and destroy. Let that sink in a bit. The key word in that section is “only”; it’s not part of his mission, it’s his only mission. Jesus then contrasts that with His mission – to give life, and give it abundantly. Who you choose to listen to matters a great deal.

After we were done with the game and Letia and I were finished hugging on Ayden and Viv Joy, I thought back to when we arrived at camp earlier in the week. Viv knew she would be with us that week and when we were talking at arrival said “I need to spend time with you so I can recognize your voice”. I didn’t know what she was talking about until after the game, when it all sunk in. She knew what was coming and where her protection would be, and she did not want to follow the wrong voice. She wanted to know the sound of the voice that carried authentic love and truth.

Jesus said the kingdom belongs to children such as these, and I was taught a great lesson from Viv Joy. If I – and you – want to stay on the correct path, the one that leads to an abundant life, we need to spend time with Jesus so we can hear His voice clearer and clearer. There will be things the deceiver throws in our way and louder voices telling us it can offer us more and easier things, if we will only turn away. I think I will try to be more like Viv Joy. I think that today I’m telling Jesus “I need to spend more time with you so I can always recognize your voice.”