Because they know His voice.
When I was little and would run outside to play, I dreaded the times when Mom’s voice called out behind me, “Kelliii! Come back real quick…” Usually it was to have me finish a job or re-do one that wasn’t done well. Sometimes, I would pretend not to hear and continue running in the direction of all the neighborhood kids playing outside…it would have been easier to listen the first time. 😉 When it’s time to go inside for dinner, even though we couldn’t see our parents, we could always recognize their voice calling us to come home. And all of us siblings went running home for dinner…
God wants us to hear His voice in the same way, to recognize His voice when He calls and follow. “When he (the shepherd) puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:3-4, NASB). Jesus is telling a parable using sheep here, but God compares us as Christians to sheep and Himself as our Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:31, John 10:11). The sheep follow the voice of their shepherd because they know it. It’s familiar and trustworthy, and they go where he leads. If a stranger were to try and lead the sheep, not only do they not follow his voice, but they flee. They run from the unfamiliar voice!
Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14, NASB). and in verse 27 (NASB), “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” As God’s sheep, we’re not only to be familiar with His voice, but to know it, and know it well. We’re to follow His voice when and where He leads without question, with confident trust that our Shepherd will never mislead us.
We don’t have to experience evil to know if it’s wrong, and we don’t have to try out other “shepherds” to see if they’re worthy of our following. It’s unfamiliarity that makes us run, recognizing that the voice of the world is different than God’s. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:4, NASB). If we become just as familiar with every other voice, pretty soon we’ll be comfortable with them all and not know which one to really trust.
How do we “know His voice”? By filling ourselves with His Word and spending time with Him! When I was little I recognized when it was my parents and not my friend’s parents calling me in for dinner because I had spent so much time with them that I knew their voice. I would never have run to my friend’s house thinking their parents were calling me in for dinner…although I might have wanted to sometimes! We know God’s voice when we take the time to learn it. Through reading His Word we learn who He is, what His characteristics are, the things He loves and hates, how to respond in situations, we learn the difference between right and wrong and what things fall into those categories. By looking at the lives of other godly men and women we see how He’s worked in their lives, by journaling we can look back at how God’s worked in our own lives. We can learn from books and lessons from those who are further and stronger in their walk with God than we are. Our goal is to know His voice so much that anything that doesn’t line up with His Word becomes like the voice of a stranger…and we run from it.
God’s leading us every single day. He leads in small decisions just as much as He does in big decisions. He directs our steps and guides our paths. But if we can’t hear Him, none of that will help us. Sheep follow their shepherd because they know his voice. If we want to follow our Shepherd, we have to know His voice.
Do you know God’s voice? Are you learning more of who He is every day? Or are you comfortable with the voice of the stranger, making it difficult to decide who the true Shepherd is and where His voice is leading?
The Lord is my Shepherd. Not was, not may be, nor will be. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and is in war; in abundance, and in penury.
~J. Hudson Taylor
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Kelli Overturf and I met through facebook… somehow. I’m a little fuzzy on the details. Shortly after we became “facebook friends” I discovered she had a blog… an amazing blog. Kelli is currently living with her family on the beautiful island of Guam. Her greatest desire is to grow in her relationship with Jesus Christ and encourage other girls and women in pursuing Him as well. Besides writing, Kelli enjoys running, hiking, beach days, coffee shops, interior decorating, and playing the piano. Visit her blog over at The Beauty of His Love and let her know you were there! You can also follow her blog on facebook.