For those who profess to be Christ followers, I ask: “Are you sheepish?” Oh, I don’t mean shy or embarrassed easily, that would be the total opposite of what Jesus meant. When teaching on who is a true follower and what they will do, Christ used the following example:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:1-5 NLT (emphasis mine)
So, now that you know Jesus’ definition of a follower, I ask again, “Are you sheepish?”
1. Do you recognize the voice of Jesus?
Have you ever been in a crowd of people and heard that one voice you couldn’t mistake? Maybe it’s the voice of your spouse, your child, or maybe your dearest friend. You would know that voice anywhere. As a Christ follower, we should be ‘dialed in’ to the voice of our Savior -that still, small voice that beckons us. 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV) gives us this awesome picture of Elijah’s interaction with the Lord:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. …
We must learn to listen for His voice! He may not speak to you audibly, but He most definitely speaks to your heart.
2. Do you come to Him willingly?
Are you able to put aside any and everything He asks? Most importantly, does your actions come out of a desire to please Him or out of a sense of obligation?
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:24-25 NLT
3. Can you distinguish His voice from the devil’s, the world’s, or even your own?
Are you distracted by the various things in life that are competing for your attention? Be careful of what you allow to enter your spirit, and which voice you are hearing. Along those lines, Paul gives a very passionate message to the followers at Corinth, which is very applicable to today’s followers.
For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 NLT
If you are having trouble connecting with the voice of Jesus, make sure you have a connection. Is the Good Shepard your Lord and Savior?
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 10:9-11 NLT
If you have already accepted Christ as your Savior, but are still having trouble hearing His voice, make sure there is no unconfessed sin standing in your way.
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV
Most importantly, remember, we have to listen in order to hear.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.