Listening to God

Jesus said, “My sheep hear 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 10:27-28). The eternal security that we have in Christ is not based on our ability to hang on to the hand of God. It is based on God’s ability to hold on to us and protect us against the spiritual wolves that would try to snatch us out of His hand. Jesus is the great shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. He calls every one of us by name and we listen to His voice (vs. 3). On His own authority, Jesus has laid down His life for us. He is not a hired hand who works for wages. He is the Great Shepherd who loves us.

God has spoken through His prophets and apostles who faithfully proclaimed His word and wrote it down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We listen to the voice of God when we read His word, and when we hear it proclaimed by faithful servants who are called as evangelists, pastors and teachers. We also listened to His voice when Jesus opened the gate and invited us in. It may have been in response to a gospel tract or an evangelistic meeting, or an invitation at church, or someone who simply shared their faith. You may have heard the Gospel proclaimed or saw it in print, but there was an inner “voice” that persuaded you to come. You felt convicted of your sin, but at the same time you saw the open door because your eyes were opened and you knew that somebody was calling you. It probably wasn’t audible, but you heard it in your spirit and you responded. Somehow you knew the truth in a way you have never known before.

The Friends Book of Discipline says. “Our power to perceive the light of God is, of all our powers, the one which we need most to cultivate and develop. As exercise strengthens the body and education enlarges the mind, so the spiritual faculty within us grows as we use it in seeing and doing God’s will.” We don’t always hear with our ears the voice of God, nor do we see with our eyes. The spiritual world does not operate through the same medium of our natural senses and therefore is not received through the normal channels of perception. Coupled with the written Word, which is hidden in our hearts, this inner voice nudges us in the right direction, or gives us a check in our spirit against that which is wrong. We start thinking thoughts that are wise, insightful, and in accordance with Scripture. Somehow we know what we are supposed to do or say with a sense of confidence that is not natural. He is leading you and you are following Him.

Dr. Neil

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