Community. Conversation. Connection.

Living Open to the Voice

I would like to share a couple of lengthier quotes from A.W. Tozer and hope you let them sink in,

This universal Voice has ever sounded, and it has often troubled men even when they did not understand the source of their fears. Could it be that this Voice distilling like a living mist upon the hearts of men has been the undiscovered cause of the troubled conscience and the longing for immortality confessed by millions since the dawn of recorded history?

…the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty: how can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, “It was genius.” What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands?

The voice of God resounds and is evidenced everywhere. Not only is He speaking, but there is a conversation happening constantly. The heavens declare the glory of God. Creation groans for His freedom. Jesus once said that in a moment of overwhelming praise if the people hadn’t joined in with what was necessary and required, the rocks would have cried out.

All this pulls on our hearts and those of us who have responded to the Father, His word, and His voice need to be tuned to the frequency of both His heart and His praise, but often we live oblivious.

What if we learned to listen intently, to listen with our lives?

Interesting that Tozer correlates works of enduring beauty that convey some truth as ultimately being a response to the Voice, even if the person didn’t fully understand. It’s sort of like those rocks crying out, it had to be expressed and God found someone who would pay attention and respond.

Think about the implications of that. Christians have the opportunity to develop their skill in hearing because our Father is a God who speaks wisdom, truth, beauty, and transformation. That can be displayed through music, art, business, preaching, teaching, or any area of society.

Really we should be creating the most amazing versions of well, everything, but since we never learn to distinguish His voice or even deny it’s there, we are too often relegated to creating Christian versions of what we see in the world instead of leading the world.

We settle for maintaining a Christian subculture instead of transforming our culture with the power of truth that comes from listening and proclaiming His voice.

I’m guilty, but may we begin to bold enough to hear His voice in whatever area He’s gifted us and follow. When we do, we’ll be leaders. I’m tired of lagging behind in music, art, business, and everything else. It’s not God’s heart or doing.

To listen or not to listen–that is the question. We make the choice.

What do you think about these quotes and/or my conclusions?


Welcome to week 12 of our book club discussion of the Pursuit of God (disclosure) by A.W. Tozer. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it, and to fully digest this book, we’re spending two weeks on each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

14 Comments

  1. I was having this discussion with my wife a couple of months ago after a quiet time watching the sunrise. Artists are inspired by the beauty they see on creation. Scientists are inspired by the order they see in creation. Both see God, but don’t always recognize it. This section from Tozer stood out to me for the same reason. To hear God’s voice, sometimes we only need to open our eyes!

    • Yes, exactly! I’m right there with you. Thanks so much, Frank.

  2. I get so frustrated with the way we tend to copy a formula from the world and put a Christian spin on it so that people will come. What that says to me is that we haven’t embraced Christ fully. Jesus didn’t have to conform to anything to bring people to Him. He often spoke right over everyone’s head, but He had power and presence that made it imposible for people not to be drawn. God help us know and understand that people don’t need what they already have seen, but a life drawing and changing experience that can only come from something yet unseen.
    Philip recently posted..Build One Another UpMy Profile

    • Methods are nothing until breathed on by the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived completely surrendered and abiding in the Holy Spirit to show us the way. It was never about an earthly kingdom or earthly expression. He was revealing the Father and we get the privilege to do the same, but it only comes by hearing, responding to, and proclaiming what His voice speaks. Those are eternal words, living words. Thanks Philip!

  3. To listen or not to listen…

    I can be busy being Godly without ever listening to Him. In so doing, I will miss out on knowing Him and hearing His voice. WEAK

    Or, I can be still and listen to His voice. In His presence and instruction, I will know His direction and be empowered to follow Him -- to the highest mountain or the lowest valley. STRONG
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Overcoming Self Doubt in Relationship with GodMy Profile

    • That’s kind of where I am today. I got derailed when God had another plan for me, but I gave my life to Him so I suppose He should be Lord of my time and everything else. He’s big enough to work it all out! I definitely find strength in hearing His voice and responding. Great contrast, Dusty. Thank you.

  4. I loved those quotes my Tozer! I had another point I wanted to add highlighted in my book, but I’m out of town and forgot to bring it! It was similar to last week I think. We are driven by the Designer and the lost world just won’t open their eyes and hearts.

    • That’s the key. I want to learn to be more and more sensitive to that Voice so my life will be more and more effective! Thanks Floyd.

  5. You said, “We settle for maintaining a Christian subculture instead of transforming our culture with the power of truth that comes from listening and proclaiming His voice.”

    About three years ago, I remember crying out to God and saying, “I’m surrounded by Christian people! Don’t you trust me with UNChristian ones?”

    Ha!

    Well, look at me now… It’s definitely a case of “be careful what you ask for.” Because now, I’m living fully immersed in an unchurched, mostly unChristian place…

    If I moved to Brazil and spoke only English, nobody would understand me. And what I found out was that when I moved to an unchurched sphere, I could no longer get by with speaking Christianese. It’s not that the CONTENT has changed. My LANGUAGE has changed. 9 times out of 10, if I speak to one of my friends and say, “God says…” or “In the Bible…” their eyes glaze over and their ears slam shut. But if I use REAL language and NOT Christianese, they hear me and understand me and what I say makes sense to them, even if they disagree with it. (And sometimes, they actually AGREE with me!) It’s just the language I use.

    Incidentally, I think that this is one of the main problems with evangelism today. We’re trying to speak “English” to “Portuguese” people and they’re never going to get it until we speak a language they can understand.
    Sarah Salter recently posted..He SpeaksMy Profile

    • So true! Evangelism has to move from being something we do to something we are. It’s relational. It was that way with Jesus and He points us the same direction. What a valuable thing to enter someone else’s world and shine a light--may you have lots of eternal fruit from your heart to love and give, Sarah! :) Thank you.

      • As I drove away from my parents’ town in June, on my way west, sobbing my eyes out, God said, “You can go BECAUSE you’ve been loved.” And it gave me peace. Last week, as I crossed the interstate bridge into Portland, on my way to work, God said, “I brought you here because there are some people who need to see real love, up close.” It’s all about love. (God is love.) But I have to give love to people in a way they can understand it or it means nothing. Oh God, help me to do that!
        Sarah Salter recently posted..He SpeaksMy Profile

        • Amen. Grace is sufficient! :)

    • Sarah, I remember hearing someone once saying how silly it would be if we approached people in our outreach saying, “have you been sanctified by the blessed blood of the Son of Man?” While we don’t always go that far in our church-y language, we still have our colloquialisms. Yes, we need to add salt to our speech, but just like with food, no one wants to eat it if it has too much.
      Frank recently posted..The Powerful VoiceMy Profile

      • The sad thing is I’m sure there are people out there who feel like they’re serving God by doing things and talking this way. Lord, help us to be that salt and light!