Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 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 10:1-5)
The singular attribute Jesus postures his followers to have is the ability to their ability to not only hear his voice but to be able to recognize it. Today, many struggles with their ability to hear God’s voice, but it shouldn’t be this way. God speaks, and his followers listen. But how does one hear His voice?
It is clear, in this passage of scripture, that Jesus is juxtaposing his follower’s relationship with himself versus those who followers the posturing of the Pharisees. In context, in John 9, Jesus heals a man that has been born blind and tells him to show himself to the Pharisees so that they will believe. They disregard the healing entirely because it was done on the Sabbath claiming they “know God”, but that they do not know where this “Jesus” comes from (see John 9:29).
This is the exact conundrum that Jesus speaks into with his followers, as the Pharisees listen nearby. He preferences His voice against that of the Pharisees who are controlled by the enemy. Because they claim to “know” God, they condemn themselves because they neither know God or hear his voice. As Jesus explains, the ones that truly know God are the ones that not only hear his voice, but they recognize it.
Hearing God’s Voice
The greatest pursuit a person can have is that of hearing God’s voice. Often times, when seeking to hear His voice, we believe it will come 100% audibly. Although this is an amazing way God speaks, it is not the norm in my own personal experience. The most consistent way to hear from God is to maintain a lifestyle connected to Him through His Word.
Jesus models this perfectly for us because He is the Good Shepherd (see John 10:14). Some say that the Bible cannot be trusted for eternal life, others look outside of God’s Word to hear from God. Those who truly yearn to hear His voice should look no further than Scripture, Jesus models this for us. When tested in the wilderness by Satan, Jesus relies on the Word of God to be his source of truth.
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
When faced with opposition from the Devil, if Jesus relied on Scripture, shouldn’t we? If Scripture had no power, why did Jesus us it against the enemy? If Scripture was not written by God, then why would Jesus quote it?
All of these are direct clues into the power of the word of God. It was the secret source of Jesus’ strength, and the same is true for the followers of Jesus. The Bible is the primary way in which a believer hears God’s voice.
Recognizing God’s Voice
Now, it is one thing to hear God’s voice through Scripture, and it is an entirely different thing to recognize it. Jesus reveals to us that his followers know his voice and can directly distinguish between it and the enemies. How does this happen?
Recognizing God’s voice is a result of one’s frequent time spent hearing his voice. Because the primary way in which God speaks is through Scripture, a follower of Jesus is bent on reading scripture. For them, it is a life source. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “We are begotten by the word of God: it is the instrumental means of regeneration. Therefore love your Bibles. Keep close to your Bibles.”
Spurgeon understood that a life devoted to reading Scripture enables one to clearly recognize the voice of God. Jesus revealed to that his followers will not follow the enemy because they do not recognize his voice. Their ability to distinguish between God’s voice and the enemies was a direct result of their time spent hearing the Good Shepherds voice.
Later on in the Gospel of John, Pontius Pilote struggled with his ability to hear and recognize truth.
“Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37,38)
Jesus Christ positions the verbiage of John 10 eloquently to Pontius Pilate by identifying his voice as the sole proprietor of truth. When Jesus speaks, the truth comes out of his mouth. He is the living Word of God tabernacled in flesh for all of mankind to hear and recognize truth (see John 1).
My Sheep Hear My Voice Meaning
Those that follow Jesus “hear” his voice over the other competing counterfeit voices. Emotionally, there are many voices that speak to us (stress, anxiety, fear), but the one who knows God’s voice takes every inferior voice and emotion into the Word of God for answers. In this way, he or she combats the thieves of robbers of truth.
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible” (Charles Spurgeon)