The Still Small Voice

The Power of Discernment: Discordant Voices


Chapter Six, Part Ten


Discordant Voices

Solid food is for the mature,
who by constant use have trained themselves
to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:14)

Many of the discordant voices that echo in our minds are nothing but the distorted projections of unresolved emotional conflicts, and an immature spirituality that is either over optimistic or underdeveloped. Our unredeemed nature predisposes us to hear what we want to hear – except, of course, perversely, when it inclines us to expect the precise opposite of what it most wants to hear!

Transactional Analysis goes some way to explaining this confusion when it speaks of the immature child voice within us clamouring for attention and approval. This child voice promises great things, but because it has no substance, it shies away from testing and inspection. The delusory promises of the child voice can lead us far astray. It wants all sorts of good things – and preferably right now! It is so deceptive that it even tries to reassure us that the sins of the flesh are perfectly acceptable in the sight of a loving God.

At the opposite end of the spectrum we find the parent voice. Speaking through our distorted conscience, this voice counterfeits the Still Small Voice, and imposes stern demands. At first sight, it may appear formidably ‘righteous.’ In reality, it owes more to a misguided idea of what religion ought to be, rather than to the true freedom of the Holy Spirit.

Following this voice leads to a kill-joy legalism which easily degenerates into a particularly unpleasant form of abuse.

The parent voice establishes ‘control’ in the hands of people who, deep down, relish the chance to exercise it. It is the power that lies behind totalitarian regimes and cults. Who is most likely to take this spirit on board? Those who are not truly humble, who (quite possibly to compensate for inner inadequacies) are grasping for positions of power.

People who have been used by the Lord in the past are by no means exempt from mistaking the parent voice for the authentic Still Small Voice. Some who were at the forefront of previous moves of God prove unable or unwilling to adjust when the Lord moves on, even to the point where they end up opposing what the Lord is doing.

Almost all new moves of the Spirit contain a measure of excess before swinging back into balance – but those whose spirits have been hardened by the parent voice are too self-righteous, and too judgmental, to make allowances for this.

It is precisely these patterns of control and domination that drive many lovers (or would-be lovers) of Jesus away from Church. Ultimately, the voice of control (the parent voice) represents the way of self and Satan.

The secret formula that Satanists are taught at the highest level of their initiation is, ‘Let my will be done in everything.’ This is the direct antithesis of all we long for when we pray, ‘Lord, let Your will be done in everything.’

Sensitivity to the Still Small Voice checks the demands of both the child voice and the parent voice, and sets us free from making unreasonable demands on our long-suffering partners, friends and pastors. When we look to others to fulfill needs that only the Lord can meet, we are as much off-course as when we expect God to do things for which we must accept responsibility.

When people have been taken captive by dominating and controlling ‘parent’ spirits, they may well need to be set free from the abuse they have suffered. Tragically, leaders in the Christian community are often amongst those most guilty of crushing others through their strong personalities and harsh words. This is especially the case if they have fallen into the trap of assuming that the means justifies the end in order to fulfill some vision they believe the Lord has given them.

If we have been making unfair requests on our friends, colleagues and (most especially) our spouses, there are steps we need to take to put matters right. We honour the Lord best by loving each other.

For Reflection and Prayer

Here is a very short prayer, but one that may require considerable thought and repentance:

Forgive me, Lord, for having allowed certain passing thoughts and counterfeit ‘voices’ to confuse my thinking.

Set me free from the grip of all that is soulish, selfish or seductive, but keep me open to receive – and pass on – all such insights and leadings that You really are sending my way.

Sharpen my spirit, Lord Jesus, to tell the difference between the clear accents of Your voice, and the fuzzy mists of deceptive ‘voices’ – and then expand my imagination to be a faithful vessel for revelation.

And as You increasingly set me free to pick up on Your perceptions and perspectives, let me not become forceful or controlling myself in the way that I share them, but rather cause people to look more fully to You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.