Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario continues the sermon series Hannah’s Heart: A Longing for God with “Voices”:

Peninnah is the voice of condemnation and comparison in Hannah’s life.

You are not what you produce.

Hannah is cultivating the inner fruitful life, tilling the ground and waiting for harvest.

Henry Nouwen states, “We need to make a distinction between being fruitful and being productive.”

Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, is the voice of fear and compromise.

Hannah is longing for something more. Her husband is suggesting something different. He asks, “Aren’t I enough for you?”

God is drawing Hannah into a deeper revelation and understanding through the voice of destiny. He’s inviting her into the future. But her husband’s voice is the voice of compromise and it’s pulling back in the other direction.

Nothing smothers a God-shaped vision faster than an appeal to the status quo.

Let’s never trade our good for God’s best.

Instead of moving further into destiny, this voice of compromise is a slow retreat into defeat into the place of unfulfilled potential.

Find out what pleases the Lord and then do it with all your might.

If God has put a little inkling of something in your heart, chase after it because that thing, if it actually comes from the Lord, the reality is it’s already true in heaven. Your job is to make it true on earth.

Eli is supposed to be a spiritual authority in the story. He’s supposed to represent God’s will and God’s way. But all we find is a passionless administrator, a voice of spiritual apathy and another voice of fear and courageless faith.

What voices are you listening to?

It’s time to be a discriminating listener and to cut those things out. To not allow those voices to shame, to not allow those voices to manipulate, to not allow those voices to smother the gift that God has placed within you.

Long for something more – more impact in our community, more of the life of Christ in the vitality of our congregation.

Dallas Willard states, “The greatest capacity we have as human beings is to choose what we will allow our minds to dwell on.”

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

That’s called the Philippian filter. Let that be the filter through which all the voices into our lives come. And if a voice is negative and destructive and hurtful, pass it through the filter and if it doesn’t meet this test, discard it, put it away. That’s not the Lord’s voice, that’s not the voice of love. That’s the voice of fear and fear only unravels, fear only destroys. But love builds up, love heals, love restores, love sends us into the future and our destiny.

Let those be the voices that guard and shape our lives; let them form us into the kind of people God wants us to be.