Theme of the Week: New Beginnings
Bible Verse: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 NIV
Scripture Reading: John 10:27; John 14:25–27; John 16:7–15; Acts 13:2–3; 1 Samuel 3:1-21
Let’s be honest, listening is not every man’s strong suit. We often struggle to listen carefully, even when we care for or respect the person speaking. We tune out and miss vital details because there is so much other stuff on our minds most of the time.
Jesus said His sheep hear His voice so we should expect Him to talk to us. He speaks to believers’ hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer. The Greek word Jesus used for the Holy Spirit in John 14 and 16 is “Paraclete”, which refers to a person who comes alongside someone facing a legal difficulty. Paraclete can be translated as “advocate”, “counselor”, “comforter”, “strengthener”, “helper”, and “standby”. That gives us a pretty good picture of what the Holy Spirit does, especially when we face difficult times.
One thing we know about good legal counsel, is they will have something to say – to help us. It’s in our best interest to listen to them and hear their advice or directions. The counselor is there for a reason.
It’s like that with the Holy Spirit, in the believer’s life. He will speak things that will encourage us, guide us, challenge us, warn us, and strengthen us. He speaks to our hearts, so we must develop the discipline of spiritual listening. He will speak peaceful counsel to our hearts even while there’s chaos and confusion all around. No matter what, He remains with us.
There are some guardrails you need to be aware of to help you discern if God is really speaking to you or if you just had some bad pizza. Here are the guardrails: Judge everything by Scripture. God’s primary way of speaking to us is through Scripture. If He is speaking to your heart, it will always agree with His written Word. After all, the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Scriptures, and He’s not confused.
In the Old Testament, the priest Eli had practical advice for young Samuel (and for all those just beginning to learn to hear God’s voice), “Say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears’”. As you pray, praise, and read the Word, listen for God’s voice.
Prayer: Father, I want to listen more for your voice. There are a lot of other voices in this world that distract me but I want to hear from your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to listen better and discern your voice by knowing your Word. I am your sheep and I will hear and obey. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflection: Think about all the voices you have paid attention to over the years. Some gave you good counsel and others may have led you astray. You even got accustomed to some specific voices and learned to listen for them. You can do the same with God and get accustomed to listening for His voice.
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