“Who told you that you were naked?” – Genesis 3:11
Have you ever started to read a book or a magazine article, only to come across a sentence that was so good you couldn’t finish it because one key sentence held your attention and wouldn’t let you continue? It happened to me more than once. I was reading an article about Erwin McManus, pastor of the church Mosaic in Los Angeles, where he quoted Genesis 3:11, “Who told you that you were naked?” Naturally, I’d read that sentence before. It is what he said afterwards that stopped me in my tracks.
Until the original sin of Adam and Eve, the universe was filled with the voice of God—the voice that created the universe. When God saw the couple had fallen, His first question was not, “Why did you do this?” or “What happened?” He simply asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?” In other words (and this is the sentence that stopped me from reading more), “What other voice did you choose to replace Mine with?”
That question is still ringing in my ears, and we should all ask ourselves the same question. When I think about this question in light of the New Testament, my mind immediately goes to the book of Philippians. It is obvious in his letter, 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, pity, or loneliness. Not complaining or self-doubt. Instead, Paul remembers his calling to serve Christ and continues not only to encourage the believers in Philippi, he even sees new converts in Rome. Regardless of his circumstances, Paul writes a letter we call a letter of joy. Why? Because joy is a word used sixteen times in his letter to the Philippians.
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.”
It is a spiritual truth that no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). But what we fail to remember is the fact that every person on earth must serve at least one. Paul chose to serve Christ, and even calls himself a slave of Christ. He was once a servant of sin; now he served his Savior. He replaced all other voices with the voice of God.
With the constant pull of more money, more power, more prestige and just plain more stuff, I pray we all choose to tune out those others voices so we can 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 NLT). Then, as we learn to hear only God’s voice, our whole life will be a well-read letter of joy.