Hearing Jesus’s Voice in a Crowded World
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
John 10: 2-4
My husband has an ear for voices. When we’re watching a television commercial or animated film, he can quickly identify the actor who is speaking. Sometimes (often), I don’t believe him. I’ll argue for a minute and then look up the movie on IMDB.com and, almost always, find out that he was right. He hears the nuances that I miss because the actor has altered his or her speech with an accent or, as John Leguizamo did when he played the role of Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age movies, with lemons. Rumor has it that he tucked lemons in his cheeks to create Sid’s voice. My mouth hurts just thinking about that!
Some voices, though, are unmistakable. You instantly recognize the voice of an old friend over the phone, even if you haven’t spoken to one another in months—or years. Similarly, you can be in a crowded room and hear your spouse or child through all the noise. Maybe it was your husband’s laugh or the sound of your child calling out, “Mom?” Even if it’s faint or from across the room, you hear it.
When it comes to Jesus, I don’t have to worry about not being able to recognize His voice. Neither do you. He wants us to hear Him and follow His call. And because of His desire to for us to know Him, He speaks clearly and directly to each one of us.
When you hear someone call your name, your ears perk up. Your mind tunes in to find out who is talking and what the person wants from you or has to offer to you. Hearing Jesus call your name is a little different because it very likely won’t be audible. Nonetheless, when you listen, you can clearly hear it. What might it sound like? It could be:
- Silent whispers in your mind that initiate a sense of curiosity and make you want to know more about who Jesus is or what he wants from you.
- The desperate desire to feel loved that draws you in and makes you wonder if He could care for you.
- A quiet sense of comfort that comes over you reminding you that you are not alone.
Those thoughts, desires, doubts and moments of gratitude are an invitation—a call—to listen, follow, and lean in to His love.
Jesus wants you to know His voice, the same way you know your best friend’s voice. The reason you know your friend’s voice so well is because you’ve spent time listening to it. The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice for the same reason—they’ve heard it, they listen to it, they know it means sustenance and protection.
Just like with our dear friends, the more we listen to Jesus’s voice—by reading and studying the Bible—the better able we are to recognize it. The conversation may start when you see a verse from the Bible on a pretty picture on Facebook or Instagram, or while you’re praying or thinking quietly alone, or when you hear someone mention what God has done in his or her life. There’s no doubt that God speaks to our hearts. But our hearts and minds can also get crowded with voices—from friends, family, social media, even church members and leaders—that distract us from His truth.
Going to the source—to the Bible—allows us to get to know God, and who Jesus is, how the Holy Spirit works in our lives today. And the better we know Him and His words, the easier it becomes to hear the nuances that distinguish His voice from others in this crowded and busy world.
Share your thoughts: What verses from the Bible have helped you better understand God and His love for you?