My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Here the Teacher gives a practical daily discipline for His students.
What is necessary and natural for helpless sheep – following their shepherd’s voice – must become a more conscious choice for those who follow the Good Shepherd!
Any shepherd knows his sheep. It is the sheep who must come to know and trust his voice. Learn to discern the one voice that can lead them out of harm’s way into green pastures and contentment.
And our Shepherd says He already knows us. It is we who must come to know and trust Him if we are to avoid the pitfalls of life and live the abundant life into which He seeks to lead us.
But listening to the voice of the Teacher is not a one-time choice but a practiced daily discipline. This is because of all the competing voices that call out to distract us. Voices from the outside and even our own often misguided thoughts and impulses!
Serious discipline is necessary if we are to be trained to recognize His voice in the daily noise of our lives.
Part of this training is reading His words. Communication – prayer – is also a vital regimen.
And one thing more – practicing the presence of the Shepherd!
The Teacher has promised to be with us always. Recognition of His constant presence is the key difference between one who merely believes in Jesus and one who is being led by Him moment by moment.
Anyone who has attempted to have such a personal relationship with this Teacher knows the ability to pay attention to Him and listen to His constant leading requires dedicated focus and training.
But growing in this discipline is the only way one actually follows Jesus every day.