Evangelism for All Time, Part 3: Discerning God’s Voice (1)

Rick Mattson Devotion, Evangelism 2 Comments

In the prior post I told of an encounter I had on an airplane with a world traveler.

Thinking I was following God’s leading toward a spiritual turn in the convo, the traveler nevertheless stopped me out cold by declaring himself an atheist.

I was confused. I thought God had said, “Rick, speak about me,” but when I obeyed . . . boom, brick wall.

I must have misundestood the Lord.

Is that possible?

Hah, definitely.

Sinful me (though forgiven) in mind and body, I often fail to discern God’s voice. Gosh, I can barely hear my wife Sharon’s voice around the house with all the distractions in my head.

But in retrospect, maybe it was OK that I spoke up on the plane. Maybe God was asking me to obey even if the convo wasn’t a smashing success.

In fact, maybe there’s no necessary correlation between obedience and success in a spiritual conversation.

Maybe God was asking me to plant a seed in the traveler’s mind, to be watered by someone else, to be brought to life, eventually, by God.

I remember my fourth grade Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Cadwell, scattering seeds of faith on the hard soil of my heart. Nothing happened for nine years. Finally, in college, one of the seeds took hold and I came to Jesus.

I’d like to suggest, then, that when we respond to what we take to be the voice of God, and if we do it regularly, fruit will be born.

Yes, we might make mistakes. But to my thinking, the bigger mistake is to be so cautious and self-protective that we never step out in faith, never open our mouths, never take a risk . . . never walk through the doors the Lord is opening.

And if our actions are in line with Scripture, everything will work out, mistakes and all.

The apostle Paul asks for prayer from the Colossian believers. He says, “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message” (4:3).


The world traveler’s name is Elam. Despite his apparent disinterest in God, I’ve come to believe the Lord opened a door for me that day in the friendly skies.

Lord Jesus, would you grant Elam the gift of faith. You are the chief Evangelist. And would you help your followers, flawed as we are, discern the still, small voice, that we may share you regularly with others.


Next post: Discerning God’s voice, the sequel. How does it actually happen? How do we “hear”?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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