Hearing Jesus’ Distinct Recognizable Voice
Recently, I had the opportunity to read Jim Samra’s book, “God told me: who to marry, where to work, which car to buy and I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy – learning to listen for guidance from God.” As many of my readers know, I’ve been on a journey and have become passionate about what it looks like to truly hear God’s voice. Many have listened to my yellow bird, Pacer Tickets, Almond Joy, and many more stories with much skepticism. You can click on the category, “Hearing God’s Voice” to read a few firsthand. As Samra, indicates in his title, while there is a fine line between insanity and following Jesus, “I’m pretty sure I’m not going crazy.”
While I recommend reading Samra’s book, I also ran across a video of Jim’s teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. In it, Jim talks about what it looks like to hear God’s distinct, recognizable voice. Most would agree that there are people in their lives that have distinct voices: a parent, sibling, spouse, child, best friend, etc. Well, as Samra shares, while God normally doesn’t speak to us audibly, He does have a “distinct, recognizable voice” Sighting John 10: 3-5 as a key passage Jim offers a few thoughts. Jesus says:
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and 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. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:3-5 NIV)
For Christ followers, you all can look back on a time where “He called you by name”. There was something about the circumstances that you knew in your heart that the Great Shepard was calling you, the lost sheep. This is a very real example of a time you heard God’s distinct, recognizable voice.
What many miss out on is the second half of this passage where “his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Yes, not only did Jesus call us to Him, He also desires to be in a relationship in which we follow Him as He acts as our guide.
Often today, when I share my story, I let people know that I accepted Christ in middle school; however, it wasn’t until my early 40’s that I surrendered to following Him. Since that time, while I’m still an infant and have much to learn, I now am starting to understand what it means to truly love Jesus and hear His distinct, recognizable voice as our guide.
Please allow me to elaborate a bit on Jesus being a guide. I believe we have great freedom in how we fulfill our purpose on this earth. However, I view my relationship with my Heavenly Father much like my relationship with my earthly father. I know my father loves me. I know he would support me and tear down barriers for me in whatever path I chose assuming it didn’t conflict with God’s commands. I also know that my earthly father finds great joy in times when I come to him seeking his advice. While I don’t have to implement my father’s advise, he takes great joy in offering. Well, isn’t that what our relationship is like with our Heavenly Father? In fact, let’s look at Matt 7:7-9. Jesus says:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Matthew 7:7-9 NIV)
Yes, our Heavenly Father wants us to seek Him and promises to give us wisdom. Yet, how many are actually taking him up on this offer? Unfortunately, as a believer in Christ, I can tell you I wasn’t for years and I’m finding very few that do. Thus, my passion for sharing what I’m discovering.
So, I encourage you to watch the video, read the book, and listen for God to show you His distinct, recognizable voice. I assure you, when you start to hear it, you’ll know it. Be prepared though, because as Samra points out, God’s wisdom isn’t always consistent with man’s wisdom. You might be guided to do some things that are perceived as being “crazy” in this world.
Let us hear via comment below some of your stories of how you’re hearing God’s distinct, recognizable voice!