I was reading an article in a magazine recently about Erwin McManus, pastor of the church Mosaic in Los Angeles. In it he quoted Genesis 3:11, “Who told you that you were naked?” and followed up with a tremendous insight.
Until the fall, the whole universe was filled with the voice of God, and everything that is was created by His voice. When God saw that the first couple had fallen, He did not first ask them, “Why did you do this?” or “What happened?” He simply asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?” And then as way of explanation, McManus hammers home a most important translation to God’s question to Adam and Eve: What other voice did you choose to replace Mine with?
This week at Journey Church I am starting a series on Philippians. As I do so I am still challenged by this Erwin’s question, for it is obvious that in spite of his imprisonment and abandonment by most of the Christians in Rome, Paul never replaced God’s voice with any other voice. Not despair. Not pity. Not loneliness. Not complaining or self-doubt. Instead, Paul remembers his calling to be a servant of Christ and continues not only to encourage the believers in Philippi, he even sees new converts in Rome. In spite of his circumstances, Paul writes a letter that has come to be known as the letter of joy.
The simple fact is you can only have this supernatural joy when there is only one Voice speaking in your head. When doubt, despair, sin or abandonment wants equal time with the voice of God, and it will, I can only encourage all of us to say, “I choose to listen to God and only to God.” Then we will all be able to say with Paul, “I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him” (Phil. 3:8-9). When that happens, our whole life will be a well-read letter of joy.