Algorithms are quickly becoming the controlling voice of our world. You search for a news feed, a video, song, “like” something on Instagram or Facebook and a math formula takes over and similar feeds pop up on your digital device calling out for you to look, listen, and like again and again. Before you know it you are sucked in and the screen begins to take over your life.
I remember that first month of hard lockdown in South Africa. I know I spent too much time before the blue screen and I was amazed how my digital devices kept feeding me songs, sermons, funny videos, news stories, etc. that fit my fancy. It was and is scary how much control and power these algorithms have over our lives. It gives us an illusion of “being in control” and “playing god” with a click of the bottom.
Not that everything is or was negative in the digital world. There were some great sermons, worship times, inspirational stories and movies. But, I also spent too much time watching news and listening to podcast that dampened the soul. I remember during that season asking myself what voices are bringing life to my soul and what is bringing me into a depressing darkness.
Scripture teaches there are two main voices in our world. One voice brings love that transforms your life the other voice brings you and I into a darkness that leads to a spiritual and eternal death. Jesus calls the dark voice a “thief” a “wolf, and a “robber” whose goal it is to “steal, kill, and destroy,” (see John 10:8-10). Jesus declares His voice is the voice of the Good Shepherd. His voice has purpose and brings His sheep into places of abundant life, into the fullness of eternal love, (John 10:1-18).
One way to discern voices in our over stimulated, noisy world is to ask yourself these questions, “What voices bring me into a life saturated by love and what voice robs me of life?” I found out that too much fear based news or social media depleted my spirit. But the more time I spent looking at Jesus, leaning into His voice by reading His Word, and losing myself with all it’s fleshly appetites, this voice opened my soul to the sweet whispers of the Father’s love. This love pushes out the voices of fear and fills me with security, hope, and a fresh purpose to follow His ways.
2000 years ago the Father shouted His love to the world as His only Son hung on the cross to save lost sheep. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice made it possible for the Father’s children to hear His voice call out from all eternity, “I love you!” When you hear those three words hit your heart you have found your way. Those three words from the Father directed Jesus on His mission to the cross and brought Salvation to a lost world. That same love fell on 12 disciples at Pentecost and empowered them to storm their world with the Kingdom of Christ living in them.
What would happen to our world if just a few heard the Father say this Holy Week, “I love you!” Heaven also has algorithm. The more we seek Him, search for Him, hunger and thirst for Him, listen for His voice, we will encounter His love.