Opinions abound... everyone has one! There's a popular quote that could fit here, but it's not one of my favorites. Here's one I liked, "I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don't always agree with them." [George HW Bush]
This brings up a couple good questions— Can all opinions be right? Can any of them be right? "If you convinced me–And I convinced you, Would there not still be–Two points of view?" [Richard Amour]
Many people claim God told them certain things. But is this their opinion, or God? How can we know one way or the other?
Figure it out
A multitude of books focus on knowing the will of God. But I wonder, is it really that hard to know? (Tweet this)
Preschool-age children already know how to figure out their parents. As they get older, they know who to go to for a favorable response to what they want. We learn how to discern this at an early age, and likewise learn how to manipulate.
You can't manipulate God, but you can know His will. It's really not that difficult. (Tweet this) The hard part is giving up on trying to manipulate Him to agree with what we want (our self-will).
A tell-tale sign of not hearing God's voice is when we think we have it all figured out. (Tweet this) That's when we attempt to coerce others to believe it. It's a form of deception. We deceive ourselves that something is true because we are banking on it. Then we work on others to accept it.
The value of listening
Don't get me wrong. I'm as opinionated as the next person. Sometimes, more than most.
When I begin to hear my own voice sound shrill and uncompromising, I know it's time to listen, not talk. (Tweet this) You've heard the old expression, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." [Epictetus]
Over the centuries, or should I say, millennia, people have taken the truth, twisted it to their own design, and presented it as God's truth. (Tweet this)
Cultural swings can influence this. It could be the current flow of a culture, or opposition to it. Think hundreds of years, not decades for perspective.
Jesus dealt with this in His time. Experts in the Law had tweaked and twisted God's truth into their own version of it. The foremost ones were called Pharisees.
It's no different today. We have our own Pharisees. Of course, we think it's the other guys, not us. (Tweet this) We brand them with libelous labels. When we do this, we hide behind the shadow of Jesus—our version of Him—as if He's on our side.
How did Jesus deal with this twisting and tweaking of truth? He often restated truth in its original form, its intended meaning. (Tweet this)
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Never break your oath, but give to the Lord what you swore in an oath to give him.’ But I tell you don’t swear an oath at all. Don’t swear an oath by heaven, which is God’s throne, or by the earth, which is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, which is the city of the great King. And don’t swear an oath by your head. After all, you cannot make one hair black or white. Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one." (Matt 5:33-37 GW)
We need to know the truth ourselves. But how?
How? A simple path is looking at all the invitations Jesus gives in the gospels. Hear them. Take them to heart. Let them become life in you. (Tweet this) Here are a couple important ones—
“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest... learn from me, because I am gentle and humble." (Matt 11:28-29 GW)
“Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me." (Luke 9:23 GW)
But how will you know His will? How will you know if you're following Him in the right way?
Simple. When your life reflects the nature of Jesus, you're on the right path. (Tweet this)