Jesus said: “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John10:1-5)
Jesus tells us that the sheep follow him know his voice. But in the noisy world we live in today, it is at times hard to hear Him.
Pastor Roger Barrier once reflected: “During the week I prepare sermons, read my Bible, counsel the troubled, perform weddings, officiate at funerals, raise my children, love my wife, play golf, read for pleasure, develop relationships, lead the church, balance the checkbook, phone my parents, spend time with my in-laws, mow the grass, participate in a small group, ride my bike, and shop at the mall. Pastors like everyone else, leads busy lives. Near the end of the week, it dawns on me that I have not heard from God. When I look inside my spirit where the Holy Spirit resides, what do I find? I find sermons, Bible studies, needy people, weddings, funerals, children, my wife, golf, novels, friends, the church, my finances, my mom and dad, my in-laws, the lawn, my small group, my bike, and the mall ... Where's God? ... Then once again I remind myself to take time for God, reduce the number of my activities, and cultivate the art of hearing from God.”
Jesus warns us that there are a lot of competing voices out there. He calls these other voices, the voice of “thieves and bandits.” He tells us that our future is bleak if we follow them. So how do we, in the midst of so many competing voices, hear the voice of the true shepherd?
First, we need to understand how important hearing the right voice is. If we don’t embrace this fact, we will never work hard enough at becoming attuned to Jesus’ voice in our lives. As an example: One day a young man knocked on the door of an expensive home seeking odd jobs to earn some money. The owner hired him to paint the porch using the green paint in the garage. A few hours later, the young man, returned to get his pay. As he pocketed the $50, he said, “By the way sir, that’s not a Porsche, it’s a Ferrari.” Hearing the wrong thing can get us into trouble.
Secondly, to hear the right voice, we have to get familiar with the voice. Parents will tell you that they can hear the cry of their child even if they are in the middle of a large group of children. Their ears (and hearts) are attuned to the particular voice of their precious one. We need to make Jesus’ voice just as familiar to us. To do this, we need to spend time with God: read Scripture and you will begin to hear Jesus’ voice speak to you through the words. Take time in prayer and during this prayer time, be quiet and rest in the silence until you can hear the voice of Jesus speaking to you.
Yes, it’s a busy world we live in. It is also very loud. So, you will have to train yourself to quiet your life and soul. Begin this weekend, to get familiar with the voice of the Good Shepherd, who wants only the best for you.
~ God bless, Dan
P.S. We’ll spend two more devotionals looking at this topic. I hope you enjoy them and I pray it makes a difference in your life.