“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” [John 10:2-5]
How do you hear God? How do you tell the difference between God’s voice and your own? When other voices speak into your life, how do you know if they align with what God is saying?
These are some of the most commonly asked questions within the Christian faith. The God of the universe speaks directly to us, as individuals? Completely awe-inspiring, if you ask me.
Learning the Shepherd’s voice has been something I have been desiring to "master" for quite some time now. As I spend time reflecting on my past, I can see certain points in my life where I should have gone left, but I chose to go right when I knew God was speaking to me otherwise. So why choose wrongfully? Oftentimes it’s not even our own voice that distracts us but rather the voice of other people. Jesus speaks about this, “...for they do not know the voice of strangers.” We live in a world of opinions and people who feel more entitled to speak into our lives than they ought to. This can become very conflicting when we are truly trying to hear God speak to us.
I won’t say that I am a master when it comes to hearing God speak, but one thing I’ve held onto is trusting that I have the Spirit within me, and He is truly guiding me. I surrender to that, releasing all of my personal motives and desires to the Lord, and invite God to speak to me, in whichever way He chooses. God will speak and God will move when He wants to, and we have to remember that it won’t always look the way we expect it to. Actually, more often than not, it usually looks nothing like we think it should.
The tools to learning what God’s voice sounds like is something we should all be constantly sharpening. Perhaps you’re a logistical person, like myself, and you want steps to get you in the right direction.
Dive into the Word of God everyday.Start small if this is something you’re not used to. Be intentional to study the words that God has given to us. Scripture says the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword - that is powerful and so relevant!
Be in prayer. When we speak to God, He responds. Prayer is not just a one-sided conversation; it is truly a dialogue between you and your Creator.
Find time to sit in silence and reflect. The Bible often speaks of being still and sitting in silence to hear God speak. Sometimes we hear God best when we decide to stop talking, and stop our day and allow God to just fill us with His words.
Journal. I am a firm believer in journaling consistently about our day-to-day occurrences and struggles. You will find that God will often speak to you as you’re writing, where you might even feel as if He is writing to you as you put pen to paper. What a beautiful and unique God we serve! The greatest part about journaling is that you can see how God is active in your life and see the way He answers you when you call on Him.
There are many other ways to hear the Shepherd’s voice, but the aim that you should have is to become more like Christ, and with that you will become more in tune with the Spirit. I encourage you to look at your personal life and even closer at your daily routine and see the ways that you can become more intentional with spending time with God.
Remember, you will constantly have "strangers" who will want to be the voice into your life, but do not allow the voice of another interfere with the voice of your Shepherd, Jesus. His voice is truth and love, and His ways are perfect.