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Cutting Through the Noise

CityRise July 24, 2020 E-newsletter, noise,

There is a concept that has been on my mind and heart throughout this season – even more so in recent days.  That is, how much noise there is in my life and as an extension of that, a need for careful consideration about which voices I give preference to.

Is it just me or does the whole world seem to be screaming out?  Whether it’s scientific data, political rhetoric attached to our current difficulties, news outlets, those we walk with in social media, or other, the level of “noise” in this season seems to have multiplied exponentially.  Of course the noise is elevated – people are concerned and even afraid and, in spite of our best efforts to stay informed, there are thousands of channels of information and they seem to change daily.  Who can keep up?  Who do we listen to?  How do we find peace?  Well – I think there is a reasoned and practical approach for this that is biblical and based in moderation.  On the practical side, look for those who really are trying to interpret known data in a measured way that can be useful to all. Their reports won’t be laced with political rhetoric, they won’t call out area leaders and they won’t be shoving their “take” down your throat.  Furthermore, limit those people or sources to a trusted few.  It simply isn’t practical for me to hear from every news outlet, every scientist, every friend and family member on this topic and stay balanced.  Social media has become political media and can be more about animosity than “friendship.”  If that is a major concern for you, you might consider a social media fast.  My mind is limited and I have had to work not to let it be overtaken by this noisy symphony of chaos.  Proverbs, on four different occasions says that in the multitude of counselors plans are established, there is safety, victory and more.  So what is the secret?  Choosing wise, trusted counselors!  Ask the Father for discernment about the voices that you allow into your life.  And further, ask Him for wisdom to distance yourself from voices that are holding you back from His great desire for you.

Biblically, we are called to be imitators – imitators of Christ and those accounted for in His Word that diligently followed His path for their lives.  On which voices did they focus?  Well – Christ focused solely on the voice of His father, Almighty God.  In John 5:19, Christ plainly declares, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”  Could it be any clearer than that?  Jesus’ unity with the Father was so intimate and they communed together so consistently that the Son’s whole life and ministry are shaped around the will and desire of the Father.  Sign me up for that!  I think this will prompt some of you to ask, “but how can I hear from God?”  I’m glad you asked.

Romans 10:17 states “so faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ!”  I suspect you already knew that, but if you truly make God’s Word your first and most significant trusted voice, He will not fail to speak to you.  What else?  Jesus makes another life-giving promise in John 14:16-17.  He says “and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Last week, Wendy and I spent some days at Alto Frio Baptist Encampment.  We had not been there in years and it was a delight to return.  However, there was no cell service and the WiFi reminded me of the old 90’s modem days – somewhere between slow and nonexistent.  For a few hours, that really frustrated me but when the noise and tethering of all the voices was removed by this limited access and we got to the edge of the river bubbling over the smooth stones, the world melted away pretty quickly and peace welled up.  In those moments, I could hear myself, I could hear Wendy and most importantly, I could hear God.

That’s it – put the Word and the Spirit first, surround yourself with carefully discerned counselors and reduce as much of the rest of the noise as you can.  God will meet you there!

I hope you have a blessed weekend!  See you Sunday in person or online for worship of the One who speaks peace and life.

Kirby Follis is the Executive Pastor of the CityRise network, overseeing an extensive amount of behind the scenes ministry that keeps our network running. He lives in Houston with his wife, Wendy.