Hearing God happens in holy relationship. If you’re not in a close, personal, and dynamic relationship with God in Christ, you’re going to have trouble hearing his voice.
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep… the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” ~John 10:2-4
This whole passage in John 10:1-18 is about relationship. The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice because he owns them; they belong to him. He calls his own sheep by name. That’s a big part of it – this belonging. But it’s much more about relationship. Notice that Jesus doesn’t use his voice to lead all the sheep; he speaks to his own. Jesus knows his sheep. His sheep belong to him. He calls them by name. They’re always together and they’re listening and they hear his voice and they follow.
“I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.” ~John 10:14-15
The sheep who hear the shepherd’s voice are in a close, tight relationship with the shepherd. And it’s not just mutual – it’s comprehensive! It’s total! Jesus and his followers have an intimate relationship, the same relationship, he says, that Jesus has with God the Father. That’s staggering! That’s mind-blowing! Jesus is willing to die for you not just out of obedience to God, but also because of the close relationship he has with you. And in this mutual relationship, this committed and devoted relationship with Jesus, is where we hear his voice.
“The one who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” ~John 8:47
If you have a hearing problem, it might be that you have a relationship problem.
My dear friend Valerie Gooch was asked to preach Sunday at Messiah’s House Church in Amarillo and, by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside her, she knocked it out of the park.
Valerie is the founder and Executive Director of The Panhandle Adult Rebuilding Center, or PARC. It was her God-ordained vision to convert the old Route 66 strip club on 6th Street in Amarillo into a day center for those experiencing homelessness. And it is thriving today as a unique Christ-centered sanctuary of love and grace where lives are being changed. Valerie was one of my biggest encouragers during our ten years at the Central Church in Amarillo – we were blessed to partner together in ministry in that downtown space and I was blessed by her pep talks and prayers for me. I still am. She encourages me a couple of times a week by her PARC email updates and with a text every few months when I seem to need it most.
You can watch her sermon here. It begins at the 56-minute mark.
The story about smelling marijuana made me laugh.
Valerie’s illustration about the eyeball and how wonderfully made we all are in the image of God and how we have to look for that in others, even when, especially when, it’s not always easy to see – I’m stealing that.
God doesn’t call us to fix people, he calls us to love people – I’m stealing that, too.
And the story about Reggie made me cry.
God bless Valerie and Royce and every person who walks through the doors at The PARC.
And Go Stars. Huge game tonight.