The word “listen” can be used two ways in our relationship with God:
1) to hear what He says
2) to obey or follow what He says
To get on page with God’s purposes for the Church, we first need to listen to Him with our ears, and our heart, to learn what that purpose is and then we live it out.
Listening to God Only Makes Sense
In John 10 we see both of the above definitions in the illustration of us being like the sheep with their Shepherd. In verse 3 we read “that the sheep listen to his voice” and then verse 4 says “his sheep follow him because they know his voice”. As we continue to read this passage, we discover that it only makes sense to listen to God.
- A personal relationship with God forms the foundation for listening to Him and continues to be the driving force in following after Him and His purposes.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (Jn. 10:3)
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me (Jn. 10:14)
- We are here for His purposes so it only makes sense to listen to Him and follow where He leads us.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Ps. 100:3)
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him … (Jn. 10:4)
- Because we belong to Him, we should be listening to His voice above, even to the exclusion of all others.
… 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. (Jn. 10:4-5)
- When we listen to the world, rather than our Good Shepherd, the Church loses its life-giving dynamic that can only be found by listening to Him, following His purposes, and doing what He says is most important.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn. 10:10)
- Because He is a Good Shepherd who loves us deeply, He will tell us what we need to know and it will lead to the best life we could know — one in which He not only provides for but also protects us.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (Jn. 10:11-13)