You will be able to genuinely follow the Shepherd of your life in as much as you are able to hear His voice for yourself.
The Lord Jesus categorically stated that His sheep hear His voice.
My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.
It is a given, an absolute given that those who are His hear His voice. Hearing the Shepherd’s voice is neither an option nor an extra. As far as Christ is concerned it is the bog standard, the absolute norm for all His sheep. It was a matter-of-fact statement that the Lord made when He categorically stated that His sheep hear His voice. End of. There is no room for anything else.
And this fact or truth about His sheep hearing His voice cannot be an extra because it is the basic precondition, the primary means by which it is assumed we follow Him. Without hearing His voice it is impossible to follow Him, without the ability to hear His voice and clearly recognise and discern it from other, counterfeit voices, it will be impossible to confidently follow Him.
The question is, are you hearing God’s voice? Never mind following Him because that only comes when you are hearing His voice.
But how does one hear His voice? Where do you go to hear it and how do you learn to hear and discern it from other voices?
There are clear and confirmed ways on how God has spoken. Cue Hebrews 1:1 — 2
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
God’s chosen or preferred means of communicating with us in the past was His prophets whose accounts we find in the Old Testament while in these last days, God’s preferred and final means has been through His Son Jesus Christ whose account we find in the gospels and the rest of the New Testament.
It follows then that it is in discovering what God has already said to the entire human race (of which you and I are an integral part) that we discover what He’s said and is still saying to us for God’s word is not only living and active (Heb 4:12) but wholly prophetic (2 Peter 1:19), i.e. speaking into our situations and circumstances today in the here and now and not only in the past.
Scripture is literally God’s word to us. In other words we can wholly and fully hear God in and through Scripture, which is His word to us. He has spoke to us through it and it is when we first embark on this journey to discover what He has already said to all of us (me and you included) and we honour and uphold that through our obedience that God is able to progressively reveal details regarding our personal lives.
But in the final analysis, as Hebrews 1:2 states, God’s speaking to us culminated in His Son through whom He revealed all (John 1:18) and why the Son has become or is the Word of God (John 1:1). Christ is at once God’s ultimate revelation and final word to us His creation.
It is within the body and framework of God’s general revelation to all mankind that you are able to hear and discern God’s personal revelation to you.
So we see that it is the written and living word of God, which in fact have one and the same source, that are central to our hearing God’s voice for us today. There is no way we can reliably and in a failsafe manner hear God without scripture playing the central role and having the final say. Therefore our personal relationship with the written and living word becomes critical in our quest to hear the voice of our Shepherd, each one for ourselves.
It is impossible for us to reliably hear His voice to a level where we can discern it as His, distinguishing it from that of an imposter or charlatan, without a sound knowledge of scripture. It is when we prioritise scripture (the written or revealed word of God) that, we not only hear God Himself through it but also construct a framework through which we can reliably filter other voices to discern whether they are from Him or not for not everyone claiming to speak in His name is genuine. We have been warned against false prophets, even those who verbally acknowledge Christ and pay lip service to Him.
Therefore our relationship with scripture becomes at once both Foundational and Central in our ongoing quest and journey to hear the voice of our Master with ever increasing clarity and certainty.
What is your relationship with the word like? Do you have a regular reading plan accompanied with a journal to record your findings, i.e. what God is saying to you? Or your relationship with the word of God is at best occasional and shallow?
Do you make time for personal study of the word of God in order to get to know Him and His ways better? Or studying scripture is not something that features high on your list of priorities?
Without a regular and systematic reading plan and a commitment to the study of scriptures, it is impossible to know God or hear His voice for it is in knowing God we access all that God has given us for life and godliness – 2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
The quality of your relationship with God’s word is a reliable indicator of the quality and depth of your personal walk with Christ. And it is determined wholly by you and no one else.
Back to the word!