Summary: This sermon addresses the importance of listening to God rather than the world.
Who Do You Listen To?
Occasionally I have a dream that is so real to me that it impacts my waking decisions. The inspiration for this sermon comes from such a dream.
In my dream I was preaching at a church. I was giving it my all and then I looked at all of the congregation, some were playing with their phones, some were having open loud conversations, and some were sleeping.
No one was listening to the sermon.
So, my question this morning is, who are you listening to?
Today we are assaulted by many voices. There are many different sources of advice and direction for our lives.
This morning I want us to look at some of the primary sources of where we get direction for our lives.
1. I believe that for the most people in America, we listen to ourselves.
As I became a young man, I use to ask my Dad for advice, with a disclaimer, I will listen to your advice, but I will ultimately decide whether or not I take it or leave it.
I believe at some lever, we are all like that, nobody knows what is best for me more than me…
But the truth is, that is a lie that Satan has placed in our hearts.
The word of God speaks to this in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Why is that true? Because what we as individuals believe as right can be swayed by our passions.
a. Our conscience can direct our choices, but if our conscience is damaged, then our decisions will be flawed.
b. Our personal desires can drive us to make some pretty stupid choices: do I tell a lie to get ahead at work, do I take something that isn’t mine if no one will know, do I cheat on my taxes, and the list goes on and on…
c. Our lust of the flesh can drive our decision making ability; do I have sex before I am married, do I cheat on my spouse, do I act on a physical impulse or desire when I know it is wrong…
If we only listen to ourselves, then we are bound to make bad decisions that “end in the way of death.”
2. A lot of people listen to their friends. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who your friends are.
One of my favorite scenes from “A Christmas Story” is when the kids are around the flag pole and the one kid issues a “triple dog dare” to the other kid to touch his tongue to the frozen flag pole.
Friends and acquaintances are not always the best source of advice. Especially if there is a triple dog dare involved.
I know, as a mature Christian, that if I ask advice from a worldly friend I will get worldly advice.
I also know that if I ask advice from a Christian friend, I will most likely get Godly advice.
Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”
If you are heeding counsel from worldly friends, then you have a fool for a counselor. However, if your friend is a mature Christian, then what you receive from them is most likely “wise counsel.”
3. As I stated before, sometimes I ask my Dad for advice, and many people listen to the direction given by family members.
Really, the same advice given by friends also applies to family. If your family member is a Christian, you will probably get wise counsel.
But if your family member is lost, then you will get worldly advice.
There is one additional factor to consider when listening to family. If that person has, or does, hold a position of authority over you, you will be more inclined to take their advice no matter what the source of their “wisdom.”
4. Many people today listen to society for their direction or how to act and what to believe.
a. Maharashta state of India – throw babies off 45 foot temple to be caught in sheets. Believed to strengthen the child, make them courageous and intelligent, give them good luck. Practiced for 500 years.
b. Tibet – once common funeral practice to dissect the body of deceased and place parts on mountain tops.
c. In Kenya, Massai warriors commonly drink cows blood mixed with milk or directly from the vein
d. Satere Mawe tribe of the Amazon have a rite of passage for boys becoming men – place hand in glove filled with “bullet ants” for 30 minutes at a time, 25 times in a row.
e. In America, pledges to gangs must endure being “jumped” or beaten by the gang for a period of time as an initiation into the “family.”