Last term I spoke at the 6:30 and encouraged the congregation to think about who they follow (eg: a sports team, band, someone on social media) and then invited them to shout out that thing all at the same time.
The point being that you then couldn’t hear what everyone was saying, which is a bit like life – there are so many voices calling out to us, enticing us to follow them, that it can be hard to know which one to listen to. It might be advertising voices, magazines, celebrities, political voices, social media posts, all speaking to us about what we should do and who we should follow.
I continue to be challenged by this thought. In this day and age it’s getting harder and harder to suss out the right voice to follow, or which one is even telling us the truth, there is so much ‘fake news’ about now (and I shall refrain from commenting on that!).
I think if we are honest, most of us want something to follow, a path, or we want a label. We want to be loved and accepted and those paths or labels we use to help us fit in. So when we choose to follow things we are actually just looking for, or forming our own identity. What or who we follow, reflects who we are, or who we choose to be, or how we want to be seen. And I feel that now more than ever we need to really take stock of who we are following, what voices are we listening to and taking on board.
Because the real truth is, a truth that can’t be changed, and an identity for all of us… is that God loves us. Every one of us. No matter who we are, what we’ve done or said, we are loved, just as we are. The bible tells us that Jesus gives us the right to become children of God. That can be our true identity if we listen, if we choose to follow him.
But perhaps amidst the babble that is hard to hear, I mean why on earth would anyone choose to follow Jesus’ voice in this day and age? With all that choice? Can he give us as much street cred as an iphone X? Can he get us the best seat in a restaurant ? or make us part of the in crowd?
When I preach I love to leave the listeners with a challenge and I guess that’s what this whole post is – a challenge to you to really think about how you are shaping your identity. What or who influences you? What or who do you spend most time thinking about? Where do you spend your money? Your time? Your energy?
Because most of those voices we hear have an ulterior motive – financial, political, for personal gain; but the voice of Jesus simply wants us to know how loved we are, wants to draw us closer to him and to that ultimate truth. That’s why we should listen to him over any other voice.