Today’s reading: John 10:3-5 (NRSV)
3 “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
For the past few weeks, our women’s Bible study has been working through Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind. One of the lessons we’re learning is just what Jesus describes in John 10:3-5: learning to listen to Jesus’ voice and not to follow the voice of strangers. But I think we can go one step further and commit to not even recognising strangers’ voices.
You’re not good enough. Things will never change. Aren’t you tired of hoping they will? God doesn’t care. You’re such a bad person – a bad mother/a terrible husband/a lost cause. If we recognise these thoughts or their variations it’s because we’ve grown familiar with the enemy’s voice. Often we assume these thoughts – these lies – are just our own voices swirling back at us; another lie!
Learning to recognise and listen to Jesus’ voice is the only way to “unlearn” our recognition of the enemy’s voice. When we focus only on the voice of our Shepherd, other, conflicting voices will fail to reach our ears.
How do we do that? By listening to the voice of our Shepherd through prayer, the study of the Word, contemplation, fasting and worship.
We’re about halfway through Lent. If you haven’t set aside anything special, now may be a good time to pick one of the above practices (or others) and commit to them for the remainder of this Lenten season with the intent of growing more familiar with Jesus’ voice.
We don’t seem to have a problem hearing out the enemy and his poisonous monologues. Similarly, we won’t be able to learn Jesus’ voice unless we listen!
Prayer: Dearest Shepherd Jesus, I listen for your voice. I confess that your voice is the only one I’m interested in hearing! Help me to learn to listen to you, to find your voice in my heart, my prayers, my study and my meditation. Amen.