She looked up at me with her bright blue eyes filled with so many inquisitive thoughts and asked, “What does God’s voice sound like?” My twelve-year-old niece and I were talking about hearing God’s voice and the many ways He can speak to us. I told her to picture herself in a crowded store, much like how Target looks on Black Friday. She is in the clothing department, probably looking at some really cute cardigans. Suddenly, she hears on the intercom, “Kenzie! Kenzie, come to aisle three.” Without hesitation, she immediately walks with purpose to that aisle. Why? Because the stern but gentle voice on the intercom was her Father’s, and although she does not know why she needs to meet him on aisle three, she trusts him.
I recently returned to the land of free refills, air conditioning, and plentiful ice, also known as America. I had been on a mission trip for the past eleven months. Since returning home, I have received many questions. One of them is what were some of the lessons I learned. As I dwell on this question, one statement screams at me—I learned my Father’s voice. I knew His voice before, but now I know it so much louder and clearer. Because I know it so much louder and clearer, I know the enemy’s voice so much louder and clearer as well. As I thought about hearing my Father’s voice, I was drawn to John 10. In John 10, we see two “I Am” statements, one of them being “The Good Shepherd”. I love watching how Jesus interacts with the Father and how we are supposed to respond in the same manner. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
My Sheep Hear My Voice
Sheep are known to be dumb animals; however, they are incredibly important for sustaining life and providing food and clothing. Besides being important, they are intelligent enough to know their shepherd’s voice. Many times shepherds would gather together with other shepherds while they were watching their flocks, and still the sheep recognized the familiar voice of their own shepherd and listened to him.
Jesus is the good Shepherd, and we are His sheep (verse 14). His Father is the One who gave Him the sheep (verse 29). For God the Father to entrust Him with such a big responsibility, there had to be an intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. How does one form such a sweet relationship? Through communication. God talked to His Son, and His Son talked to His Dad. Jesus positioned Himself to hear from His Father. He understood how vital it was to be in constant communication with His Dad, so vital that He showed us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Your ability to hear affects your ability to respond. In order know God personally and follow Him, we must first hear Him.
I Know Them
Once we start talking to God as we see in Jesus’ example, we know Him and His voice so much better. I have a friend who just married her high school sweetheart. They dated long distance, starting his senior year in high school when she went off to college. They continued dating while they were in two different states through college. Finally, they were joyfully married this past year. He was not physically here with her for the majority of their relationship. Through communication, they were able to grow in their relationship and get to know each other so well. She would tell me all these random facts about him that would usually be followed by lots of giggles and rosy cheeks. After the infatuation stage wore off, they went through many mountain top and valley experiences together. During this time, they were able to grow to accurately know one another.
This is very similar with God the Father and Jesus. God was not physically with Jesus, but they grew in their relationship because of communication. Through talking and listening to one another, Jesus knew more about the character of God. Through the mountain tops and valleys, Jesus was able to hear God’s voice due to the relationship He had with God. John 8:47 states, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” We are able to communicate with God when we are in a relationship with him. To know someone well, we have to tune out what others might say about the individual and get to know her for ourselves. To know God well, we have to turn the volume down on the world and be intentional about knowing God. God already knows us; He simply yearns for us to know Him .
They Follow Me
After hearing God and knowing Him, you cannot help but passionately pursue Him. This does not always look glamorous. Following God does not mean your life will look like Sadie Robertson or Beth Moore; however, it does promise to satisfy. The sheep followed the great Shepherd because they knew He would keep them safe. Sometimes to keep the sheep safe, the Shepherd would have to take them up a steep mountain. It did not make sense to go this way, but the sheep still followed the Shepherd because they knew the final destination would be a safe one. We can follow the Shepherd because He confidently followed God the Father. Watching the example of how Jesus followed God allows us to boldly follow Him as well.
Jesus followed God to the point of death on a cross (verse 15b). Just as Jesus sacrificially followed God, we are called to do the same. It might not look like death on a cross, but following God the Father means death. It means dying to your flesh woman. It stinks. It’s gross. It hurts. But the spirit woman is more satisfying than we could ever imagine because of the work of God within us (Ephesians 3:20). The result of Jesus following God the Father and dying on the cross was abundant life. You do not truly live until you die. Freedom is not free; it always comes with a price. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Dead women have no rights.
After explaining everything to my niece, she said, “I will hear from God and do what He asks me to, but He better not call me around the world!” I chuckled to myself, but how true are those words for each of us. We long to hear from God, then He speaks to us, but we do not want to act on what He has said to us because it is not in our plan. We see in the example with Jesus from John 10:14-29 that He heard God’s voice, He knew God’s character, and He responded by following Him . How can you follow Him? Start by prayer. Talk to Him. Get to know Him. Remember He already knows you. Charles Spurgeon said, “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” Want to hear your Shepherd’s voice? This week start talking to Him intentionally every day for ten minutes. I promise you it will multiply. Before you know it, it will be a constant conversation with your Heavenly Father throughout the day.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be our Shepherd. Thank You for the example that He gives us to know You better. Let me drown out the noise of the world and the enemy so I can hear Your voice. Let me draw closer to You, so I can truly know Your character. Lastly, let me follow You recklessly.
2 Timothy 2:19