|1 Peter 3:15 |
15 But sanctify [set apart] Christ as Lord in your hearts,4 and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and reverence;
4 Sanctify [set apart] Christ as Lord in your heart. In your thinking, set the Lord apart in your heart from the selfish spirit that reigns there. The Lord is holy and pure; your selfish spirit is evil, profane, and an abomination. Don't confuse the many voices of deceit you will hear from the evil in your heart with the single holy voice of the Lord in your heart.
It takes time, practice, and patience to learn to recognize the voice of the Lord. His words are always kind, gentle, peaceable, easily accepted, without sarcasm, without bitterness, without condemnation, without harshness, pure, clean, humble, wonderful. There are never any emotional words, there is never any emotion in his voice; his words are plain, factual, wise, easily understood, easily accepted, and never leaving you guessing as to their meaning. The enemy's many voices are usually* emotional, sarcastic, incomplete, condemning, harsh, fearful, and bitter. The enemy uses many voices: your's, friends, relatives, dignitaries, etc. Eventually you will hear the Lord. And once you begin to hear, you will hear with increasing frequency. He has a soft voice. Sometimes, you will not hear a voice, you will just suddenly know something immediately. George Fox called this an 'opening.' An 'opening' can be expressed in words, but it is a feeling that infuses your entire being, as feeling surrounded or immersed in the immediate understanding.
*Usually, but not always; beware, until spiritual maturity, the voice of the opposition can be indistinguishable from the voice of the Lord. The enemy will pretend to be the Lord, always tempting you to do something wrong that you want to do, or tempting you to do something that you have been told not to do. Based on the advice of Edward Burrough, (click to read), a giant in the early Quakers, we should do nothing for the Lord but repent until we can distinguish between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy; and William Penn wrote, "Though it is the duty of all to walk in the light, and to wait for it, that by it they may be instructed in the way of life and salvation, yet it is they only who are actually led* by it, [the light] that can rightly discern between the false spirits and the true."
By way of review: to be guided or led by the light, the light must first arise in your heart like a magnificent star, so that you are shown everything to do and told everything to say; the unmistakable arising of the light comes from faith in the voice.