My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27, ESV)!
All followers of Jesus are called “sheep” by Jesus Himself.
It is not a flattering description. Sheep can be stubborn, independent, easily getting themselves into trouble, and often ignoring their shepherd who tries, often desperately, to keep them out of trouble.
Sounds like me – and absolutely sounds like you!
Sheep were domesticated thousands of years before Christ called himself a “Shepherd” and then described us as “sheep.” Sheep, as a species, wouldn’t survive without the protection and interaction of a shepherd.
We don’t live in the fulness of God’s intentions without hearing and obeying the voice of Jesus!
But how do we hear that voice? Being an expert at living like a stubborn sheep, below are four things that I have learned about following the Shepherd.
- There are four voices that I can hear: myself, others, demonic, and Jesus. Obviously, it is best to listen to Jesus.
- I test the Spirits. The Apostle John says in his letter to, “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). I find it easy to ask about a thought, “Is this you, Lord?” Amazingly, just taking the time to ask this question helps identify the voice I’m hearing.
- Sheep need other sheep. When sheep are threatened, they group tightly. Independent sheep don’t survive in the wilderness. Always check your “group”. Who can speak honestly with us? With whom can we confess?
- The Shepherd calls when He wants to lead us, or when He wants us to change directions. The more distant you get from the shepherd is to hear less the volume of His voice. Trials become a way for Him to call you back. Best to listen while close because the Shepherd can then lead you to still waters.
We can’t discuss the Shepherd and sheep without consideration of the most amazing Shepherd/sheep verse in the entire Bible:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake (Psalm 23:1-3).
Consider the benefits of hearing the Shepherd’s voice: Not wanting – lying down (not striving) – the peace of quietness – restoration – guidance – and righteousness.
What is the Lord saying to us today? So important, as in the latter days, the wolves of darkness increase exponentially.
Don’t fear! Our Shepherd says…
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).