Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)
In the game “Simon Says,” there is a leader, called Simon, who calls out all sorts of different types of commands and the rest of the group has to follow them. The catch is that the leader has to call out “Simon Says” before every command. If he doesn’t and someone in the group does the command, then that person is eliminated from the game until there is eventually one person left standing and they become the next leader, Simon. You can also get eliminated from the game if the leader calls out “Simon Says” followed by a command and you don’t do it or don’t do the right command. The whole object of the game it to deceive each person that is participating in the game by not saying “Simon Says,” doing a different command then the one you said, or by speeding up the rate of each command in order to cause confusion.
James explains to us that this exactly how it works for us in our walk with Christ. If we just listen to what God says and never do what He has command us, then we deceive ourselves. Jesus goes to say that if we love Him, we would do what He says (See John 14:15).
Jesus says in John 10:1-5, 14-17, that his followers, sheep, know His voice and they won’t listen to a strangers’ voice. There are times that instead of doing what God has told us to do; we listen to a strangers’ voice. We will listen to what the world has to say, what our family has to say, or what our friends have to say before we do what God says. This is how the enemy tries to kill, steal, and destroy the purpose and potential that has been put inside of you. Most of the time we listen to the other voices in our lives because we want to be a people pleaser, what they say won’t challenge us to step outside of our comfort zone, or because everyone else is following around with what they say or are doing. Other times we listen to what others say because we aren’t able to distinguish between the voice of the enemy, the voice of the world or the voice of God. Other times we don’t recognize the voice of God. Sheep know their shepherd’s voice because they follow close by him, stay in the pen where He is, have a relationship with him, and trust that he has their best interest in mind. We too need to have a relationship with God, need to be talking with Him through prayer, need to be in His Word. If you’re not in the Word of God, you won’t be able to recognize the voice of God.
Just like the leader in “Simon Says” tries to eliminate the people in the group by various forms of deception, the enemy is trying to put different voices in your head, place different distractions around you, and bring people into your life that are doing the opposite of what God has told you to do. Pastor James MacDonald, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, said “Satan condemns with generalities, God’s Spirit convicts with specifics.” Satan will try to bring you down, but God is trying to raise you up. Satan will try to get you to do something that will make you think that you are disqualified from God’s love, but God will try to get you to do something in order to prove to you His love. Satan will discourage, but God will encourage. Satan will disapprove you, but God has already approved you. Satan will try to make you feel defeated, but God will lead you to triumph. Satan will want you to follow everyone else, but God will make you a leader. Satan will contradict himself, but God remains the same. Satan will lead you in paths of destruction, but God will lead you in paths of righteousness. Satan will try to leave you powerless, but God has made you powerful. Satan will try to make you lose your life, but God has saved your life.
What voice are you listening to? Do you recognize God’s voice? Don’t be deceived any longer. If you do what God says, you will see what God sees, and you will live the life that God intended for you to live and the life that Jesus gave His life for.