The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
— John 10:3-5 NIV

Read the entire chapter here.

This is one of the many conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees to explain to them what believing in God really looks like. Jesus is using the metaphor of sheep and their shepherd to describe the relationship between believers and Jesus. This is an important metaphor because he uses the phrase “listen to his voice”. He doesn’t ask us to know where He wants us to go without any guidance.

For us, this means that not only are we saved when we believe in Jesus, but we’re also able to be guided by His voice. Some of you may already be familiar with this concept and some of you may be wondering what I’m talking about. To explain, I think in an everyday sense, this could show up in really small ways - you felt like you were supposed to talk to a classmate sitting next to you and then you realize you cheered her up because she felt lonely before. Or maybe you felt like you should tell your mom you love her and you find out that’s just what she needed to hear in that moment. Sometimes it may be directed at you - someone gives you a compliment about the very thing you were feeling insecure about and it changes your day. The more we spend time with God, the more we will become familiar with the ways He’s speaking to us individually. 

I encourage you to take some time today and be with God. That can look however you want. Ask God what He thinks about you and write down the things that start coming to your mind. Sometimes it feels like you’re making it up, but try anyways. Then leave the paper somewhere, and come back and read it a few days later. See what stands out to you in those moments. Oftentimes when I try things like this, I don’t even remember writing most of it, that’s when I know God was speaking something to me that I didn’t believe for myself yet.

pray

God, I pray that we would understand what it means to hear Your voice. I pray that we would constantly want deeper relationship with You over any answer You can give us. And God I pray that we would be sheep that know their shepherd’s voice when He calls us. Amen.

- Michele Houston