walk in the word
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one (John 10:27–30, ESV).
The idea of God as a shepherd is familiar to many, both inside and outside the church. The reason is largely due to the 23rd Psalm, which opens with the words, “The LORD is my Shepherd” (v.1).
Jesus brought this concept into fully orbed, flesh-and-blood reality for His disciples—and for us, today.
In John 10:27, Jesus gives us a two-point test for knowing our shepherd:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Are you one of His sheep? You are if you can answer yes to these two questions:
Do you hear His voice? Does the Lord speak to you through His Word? Do reading and hearing the passages in the Bible convict your heart and compel you to act on His behalf? If you know what I’m talking about, you’re hearing His voice.
Are you following Him? Are you obeying the clear direction in the Scriptures? Do you seek out wise counsel from other Christ-followers? Do you have a growing desire to please God more than yourself? There is no use pretending; either you are following Christ or you are not.
Realizing the relationship and the obedience Jesus expects makes us pause. Sometimes we have to confess, “I hear His voice, but I’m not always tracking with what He’s telling me to do.” That’s the first step toward a turnaround—your awareness of your lack of attention is a warning from the Lord. It means you are hearing Him.
Even people who have known Christ for years admit, “I’m not following perfectly.” Jesus knows this. He knows we can’t follow Him perfectly; the amazing thing is that He invites us to follow anyway and offers His constant presence to help. In John 21, when He reaffirmed His unchanging plans for Peter to “feed my sheep” (21:17), the Lord twice insisted to this very fallible disciple, “Follow me” (21:19, 22).
We all stumble in many ways (see James 3:2), but our shepherd lifts us back up and renews His call to follow Him. There are frustrating times when you may think, I wish I didn’t fall the way I do, but if you are increasingly wanting to please Christ and caring about what He thinks, you are following Him. If the pattern in your life is continually pressing toward all Jesus has for you, He is your shepherd.
So, are you one of His sheep? If you recognize Jesus’ voice and are following Him, you can claim Him as shepherd. If not, today would be the perfect time for you to answer His call, turn from your sin, and place your faith in Him as Lord, Savior, and shepherd. It is the biggest and best decision you can ever make. Learn more about knowing God here. And if Jesus is your shepherd, thank Him and ask Him to bring someone to you who needs to hear about Him today.
When did Jesus become your shepherd? Who have you shared Him with in the past six months?
What aspect of hearing His voice or following Him is a particular challenge to you right now?
Lord, thank You for sending Your Son as my shepherd. Thank You for showing me that as a good shepherd, He laid His life down for me, in order to save me and provide forgiveness to me for my sins. Thank You that He lives to lead me today as I hear His voice and follow Him. And thank You for showing me ways I can hear and follow better! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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