>My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

A few years ago, I was on a weekly conference call with pastors from all over the country. Most of us had never met in person, but we talked every week about small group ministry.

Some months later, I was talking to someone in the lobby of Willow Creek Community Church. A stranger turned around, pointed his finger at me, and said “Allen White.” Guilty as charged. He had never seen my face, but he knew that no-accent Kansas voice.

Before the days of caller id, we all had our own version of caller id. If a friend or relative would call, we wouldn’t need to ask them to identify themselves. We would just start talking. If we didn’t recognize the voice, then it was probably a telemarketer or someone from church trying to recruit us for something.

Jesus said that His sheep, His disciples, listen to His voice. Part of the reason for saying this was to address the unbelief of the Jews. They didn’t hear and understand what He was saying.

The reason that believers face so much resistance or even hostility in the world is that unbelieving people can’t understand spiritual things. I didn’t say that they “don’t understand,” but that they can’t. The Bible tells us “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). That doesn’t make believers better than anyone else. Simply put it takes the Holy Spirit in your life to fully connect with God and understand spiritual things.

Jesus also pointed out that His sheep hear His voice, but that they run from strangers’ voices (John 10:1-5). There are many other “voices” in the world that want to change our thinking. We become confused as believers when we avoid the Word of God. The world subtly influences our beliefs and standards. The hard truth is that most Christians are discipled by television (and I don’t mean Christian television). When the Word of God begins to become objectionable to us, then we need to evaluate whose voice we’re listening to.

Please don’t take this wrong. I’m not saying don’t watch television. I’m just saying watch it less. Maybe even watch different things rather than the same programs all of the time. Break its pattern of influence in your life.

God is speaking to us, but often we can’t hear His voice because it’s being drowned out by so much noise in our lives. That noise may be sound. That noise is also busyness, hurry and worry.

How easy is it for you to recognize God’s voice? It doesn’t have to be some hyped up, spiritually extravagant sort of episode. God wants to speak to you every day. What is He saying in His word? What is He saying in your few quiet moments? He is speaking. How can you learn to listen more closely?

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