Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 5, 2019
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27
My brother and I have a great deal in common: the same college degree from the same school, nearly identical musical interests, and an irrational affection for the English Premier League. Additionally, we look a great deal alike, often confused for one another. And while our physical similarities are apparent, it is our voices that cause the most confusion. I’ve heard some version of “you sound exactly like your brother” more times than I can count!
As I reflect upon this, I realize today that there is one person who never struggles to tell the two of us apart – my wife. Having now spent more of our lives together than apart, she knows me and my voice like no other. She is the one person who has cultivated such familiarity and relational intimacy that, when others may be confused or misled, she knows with clarity and confidence when she’s speaking to me.
Jesus says his sheep hear his voice and follow him. While Jesus is perfectly able to speak in such a way that other voices are silenced and drowned out, in my experience this is rarely the way he works. In fact, throughout the Bible, the Lord is not in the earthquake or the fire, but in the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). Therefore, in order to hear his voice you and I must cultivate a familiarity that can only come through the intentional pursuit of God in silence and solitude.
In pastoral ministry I often hear people complain of the elusiveness of God’s voice, struggling with a sense of isolation in faith and the absence of the Lord’s presence. If I’m honest, I have lived through similar seasons in my own faith journey. Yet if I continue to be honest, I also know these seasons typically have far more to do with my own absence in faith than His. This reminds me of the powerful insight Anthony Bloom once made in his masterful book, Beginning to Pray:
“We complain that He does not make Himself present to us for the few minutes we reserve for Him, but what about the twenty-three and a half hours during which God may be knocking at our door and we answer ‘I am busy, I am sorry’ or when we do not answer at all because we do not even hear the knock at the door of our heart, of our minds, of our conscience, of our life. So there is a situation in which we have no right to complain of the absence of God, because we are a great deal more absent than He ever is.”
I long to hear the voice of Jesus, to know with faith and trust that it is in fact his voice that I am hearing. I want to hear him speaking clearly through the noise and competing voices that constantly vie for my attention. Yet like any loving relationship, this clarity only comes through a life of consistent attentiveness to his presence, learning to hear and obey the Master’s calling.
“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Father, forgive us for how often we are consumed with our own passions and self-interest, ignorant to your presence and invitation to know you and the joy of your Kingdom. Help us today to hear your voice and follow as you lead. Amen.
What is the greatest source of distraction in your life? Consider an intentional season of simplification and slowing down in order to learn to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to you.
Clarity only comes through a life of consistent attentiveness to Christ’s presence, learning to hear and obey. #listen #wisdomhunters #Jesus #truth
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