by Commissioner Brad Bailey
Territorial Commander

We’ve all witnessed the meteoric rise of the TV show “The Voice,” which includes a blind audition in which contestants try out to join one of the coaches’ teams. But it has a twist; the judges never see the contestants. With their chairs turned away from the stage, they can only judge the contestants based on their voice alone.

It’s transformational to be able to hear the Voice of Jesus as He desires to shape us into being more like Him, no matter the circumstances.

Admittedly, at times discerning the Voice of Jesus may be difficult, and yet His Voice is a clear manifestation that He sees us, He loves us, and He knows who we are and that despite all we’ve been through He purposes to unleash in us the essence of who He’s created us to be.

By discerning His Voice, we can receive encouragement, holy boldness and the motivation to move with the loving nudge of the Holy Spirit, a nudge that may even prompt us to consider the Lord’s invitation to engage in full-time service in this God-inspired, God-directed and God-energized Army. Now, that’s awesome!

Our relationship with Christ, our service in and through The Salvation Army, and our approach to the responsibilities and opportunities we have been given in His grace don’t take place by chance. Instead, they combine where we come from, where we’ve been, those who have influenced us along the way and many other factors and realities that make up our personal journey.

My journey to Christ and eventually full-time service as a Salvation Army officer was shaped and influenced by my officer missionary parents, who served the Lord faithfully in extremely humble circumstances for more than 80 combined years in the Central Territory and beyond.

As I continued to be exposed to the Word of God, to the consistent enabling of the Holy Spirit, the counsel of mature spiritual leaders and hands-on participation in the mission, I began to see the world not only for what I could get out of it but for what I could put into it. All of these opportunities and more began to change my Spirit-squelching mentality into a posture of listening and obeying the Voice of Jesus.

I began to realize that God is after hearts that love Him so completely that they are willing, in FAITH, to lose themselves in Him, give themselves entirely over to Him, and yes, rest and take refuge in Him.

As His Voice became clearer, He provided the courage and strength to live with eyes wide open and allow my heart to go deep into the things of God and become more aware of the blessings that surrounded me. A life that would eliminate most of the “what if” types of questions. What if I had done that? What if I had moved on this? What if I had reached out rather than reached in? What if I had said “yes” to God? You get the idea.

Many people enter middle age and wonder what happened. Where did it all go? Where did we make a wrong turn? Did we fail to lean into God’s goodness in a crucial moment and decide to follow Him? Were we perhaps too frightened to take the risk? The question “Is that all there is?” can haunt us.

With a desire to live in a way that is pleasing to God and that squeezes out every adventure, experience and opportunity He has planned, listen to His Voice and allow Him to embolden you to embrace His purpose and invitation to be more like Him and to invite others to be more like Jesus. Strive to experience life with Jesus with eyes wide open and allow your heart to go deep into the blessings of God that surround you. Determine with Christ to win the battles you will face and live on the edge in anticipation of the moving of the Holy Spirit, inspired to live a courageous discipleship and unconditional dedication to the Lordship of Jesus in a John 15 inspired way:

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15: 7-8,11(NIV)

Full-time dedication and service to Jesus is ultimately a willingness to bet your very life on the promises and character of God. It isn’t an irrelevant and dry theological concept bound up in stuffy Churchianity. It is a risky, adrenaline-pumping adventure.

This life-giving, redeeming, reconciling and transforming adventure begins with listening to His Voice—The Voice.

 

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