July 17, 2017 | The Lord is my shepherd … so why do I find it so difficult to hear His voice?

There are so many voices vying for our attention. From the moment you open your eyes in the morning to the second you close them at night, hundreds of voices are begging for you to notice them. There’s the voice of your spouse. And there’s the voice of your employer. The voices of your children want your acknowledgment. And there’s the voices in each television commercial attempting to make a sale. Unless you’ve turned them off, many services now have an instant connection by way of the notifications of your smart-phone. When you check your email, there are voices wanting to share something with you. As you scroll through your Facebook feed, limitless voices are posting mostly nonsense for you to read. With so many voices filling our lives, it’s no wonder why so many find it so difficult to notice the voice of God in their lives.

One of the analogies that the Bible most often uses to describe the relationship between God and His people is that of a shepherd and his sheep. It’s a metaphor that shows up in Scripture more than five hundred times. One example of this is what Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” That’s the redemptive death of Jesus on the cross for our sins — He laid down His life for us.

If Jesus is the shepherd and we are His sheep, then of all of the voices that pollute our minds each and every day, His voice should be the one we listen to above all of the other voices in our lives. With so many other voices seeking to give direction to our lives, as members of Jesus’ flock, we must be careful only to yield to His voice. Here’s how Jesus describes this relationship in John 10… “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:14-15; 27-28)

Many of the voices we hear are good and valuable to our lives. We cannot live without the voices of our loves ones. It would be unwise to not listen to the voices of our employers. Sure there are many voices that are nothing more than “noise” that we could easily live without. But above all of the voices that are vying for our attention is the one voice of the Good Shepherd who speaks and offers us “life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). If we are going to live the full and abundant lives, then we must learn to hear the voice of God amid the myriad of voices in our lives and trust what His voice is saying to us. From one sheep to another, here are three suggestions to help you find and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

1. Make room for the voice of God daily.
Prioritize a time and place where you will commit yourself to listening to the voice of God. When I begin a new day, before I hear another voice, I want to hear the voice of God. That means I must wake up before anyone else in my house, and begin a conversation with my Shepherd in prayer and reading His Word. If I open my email, turn on the television, or login to Facebook before I connect with my Shepherd, then a thousand other voices will compete for my attention. Give God priority by intentionally making room for His voice in your day.

2. Learn to discern God’s voice from all of the other voices.
Once I heard a story about a group of shepherds who grazed their sheep in the same pasture. Each flock was intermingled to the point it was indiscernible which sheep belonged to each shepherd. At the end of the day, one of the shepherds let out a loud call to his sheep. And a group of sheep followed his lead. Next another shepherd let out another loud call to his sheep. And some of the sheep broke from the larger group and followed his lead. After each of the shepherds, one by one, let out a distinct call, each of his sheep followed his lead because they knew his voice. They did not follow any of the other shepherds because they knew that voice wasn’t the voice of their shepherd.

Likewise, as God’s sheep, we must spend time with our shepherd so that we can learn His voice. As we devote ourselves to reading His word and praying, we will be able to what is truth and what is lies. Even when competing voices are louder, we must compare them to the truth of God’s Word to ensure we’re listening to the right voices. When we’re become familiar with His voice, we will be able to discern God’s voice from all of the other competing voices in our lives.

3. Yield to God’s voice.
When God’s children are able to discern God’s voice from all of the other voices in our lives, we must make a choice to obey His voice. It may mean disappointing some very influential voices in our lives; however, only one voice has promised eternal life. When faced with competing voices, we must always yield to the Shepherd’s voice.

With so many voices competing for our attention, we’re likely not going to get it right every time. Thank God for His mercy. And by grace, keep practicing giving your attention to His voice.

In Christ,

Ashton

One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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