Dr. Willard says that the “weight of authority” is the first element of the voice of God.
Then he states that the next element is the spirit.
Spirit is a tough thing to quantify, tough to describe, tough to explain but that is what comprises God’s voice, Part 2.
What is spirit?
He uses the words “exalted peacefulness,” “confidence,” “joy,” “sweet reasonableness” and “goodwill.”
Let’s explore those a bit.
Lack of peacefulness is something we all have from time to time. When we don’t have a “solid” feeling about life, it is troubling. Sometimes lack of peace is associated with worry about an uncertain future. Sometimes lack of peacefulness is caused by not knowing what to do or experiencing indecision. Sometimes lack of peace can be caused by dissatisfaction with our behaviors. You get the point. There is some reason for turmoil in your life. I have had moments of turmoil but I have also had times when the turmoil was totally erased by God. A few days ago, I was in transit to an event where I had to participate in multiple things and I did not know how I would do all that I had to do. I was extremely anxious. I was talking to God alone in my truck and then I felt sudden peace. At that moment, I knew that all was going to be ok. And folks, it was ok. I made it through the day very well [thanks be to God].
Confidence is a misused word. Confident people draw on lots of sources from new age thinkers to some “get rich quick” seminar leaders. But can honest, humble confidence come from God? It surely can. My spouse has an arrogance meter. By that, I mean that she senses when I am a little too “full of myself” and she “helps” me adjust myself. I don’t mean to feel confident by what I do all by myself; that is a prideful man’s trap. I have to admit that I sometimes slip into that frame of mind. I desire for my confidence to come from God instead of man because it will be based on something substantial. God will allow me to do a lot more than I can do by myself. It is “right-minded” to have confidence sourced from God because we want to do our best work and we want to have reasonable, humble attitude, not an arrogant attitude.
Joy is another thing that characterizes the spirit voice of God says Dr. Willard. It means excitement about life. You see a future challenge and look forward to it. You have a “can do attitude” even in the face of obstacles. I will be honest; joy is infectious. People may show interest in the negative; I am convinced that news organizations lead with negative news just to get our attention. The term “breaking news” is now so common and when you see it on the screen, it means something negative. Newspapers may be dying but they are going out using the negative. Bad news dominates the front page usually. But just show some joy in your life. People will gravitate to you because they really want that. I don’t believe that humans want to be miserable. They want to enjoy life. They just don’t know how. The key is living a God-led life. That will bring joy.
Have you ever been around a person you would describe as having sweet reasonableness? What does that mean? After doing some research, I believe it means moderation. People who have sweet reasonableness have a spirit of fairness and gentleness about them. Today, I am afraid that extreme is the word of the day. Politicians make extreme statements to garner attention from the news media. Religious groups carry out extreme acts to terrorize the general public. Even churches do extreme things to put their message into society [ever hear of Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka Kansas]? A person with sweet reasonableness is not extreme.
Goodwill is the last word that characterizes the voice of God. Goodwill is a seminal idea in our faith. Luke 2:14 states “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”, a foundational idea that is expressed from the very birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ whole life is a study of goodwill. God does not mean harm to us when He speaks to us. He wants to show goodwill to us and wants us to pass along goodwill to others.
Dr. Willard writes, “The sweet, calm spirit of God’s voice carries over to the lives of those who speak with His voice” He cites examples of a man who heard the voice of God tell him that he neededjkmnkm to go back to school. The man described the experience as a word “spoken straight and strong right into my spirit…. I knew it was the Lord.”
It was not a demanding, urgent voice.
It was a peaceful, confident, joyful, sweetly reasonable voice, a voice that exhibited goodwill for the listener and for all the people he came into contact with.
What a wonderful God we have, with a wonderful spirit-filled voice.