“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
Sheep are known to be highly dependent animals that rely on the shepherd for protection and guidance. Over time, the sheep learn their shepherd’s voice and they follow wherever the shepherd leads. For the sheep and shepherd to have this level of trust they must first establish a relationship. The shepherd leads them to green pastures and ensures they are fed. The shepherd protects them from predators who seek to kill them. The shepherd opens the gate to let them in and closes the gate to keep out the enemy. Once the sheep know the shepherd’s voice, they will not follow a stranger.
The verse today is found within the context of Jesus talking to the Pharisees and explaining why He is the Good Shepherd. He explains to them that He is the one who will lay down his life for His sheep. He knows His sheep and His sheep know and follow Him. Just like sheep, there is trust and relationship that is built between us and the Good Shepherd and there are key components to that relationship.
3 Keys to an Intimate Relationship with Jesus
1. We listen to His voice – When we have a genuine relationship with Jesus, we know His voice and we listen to what He has to say. We are not easily distracted and led astray by false narratives or lies that are designed to redirect us. We are aligned with Jesus and we can discern His voice in our lives. How do we know His voice? We constantly seek Him. We seek Him by reading the Word and becoming familiar with the nature and tone of His messages and what He has already told us. We seek Him by spending time in prayer and having a constant connection with Him. We seek Him by spending time meditating on the Word and simply being still. It is only when we are still that we can truly hear His voice. When we, the sheep, learn our Shepherd’s voice, no stranger can lead us astray.
2. He knows us – One interesting fact about shepherds is that they know each of their sheep individually. If one sheep goes astray, the shepherd knows and will go after that one. Similarly, Jesus knows us if we are His sheep and He will pursue us when we are lost. He knows our individual personalities, our tendencies, our quirks, our strengths and our weaknesses. He loves us unconditionally and has shown that He is indeed willing to lay down His life for us.
3. We follow Him – Sheep will go wherever the shepherd leads them. They do not stop and question his directions. They do not delay while they ask the opinion of the other sheep. They simply follow. If we are Jesus’ sheep, we should be obedient to His Word. We should be willing to go wherever He tells us to go, when He tells us to go.
Like sheep, when we have a deep, intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd, He leads us to green pastures and ensures all our needs our met. He protects us from the enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He opens the gate and brings us near to Him and closes gates that no one else can open. What a privilege it is to be in His flock.
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For more encouragement from S.A. Foster visit www.honorabledistinction.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram (@live_distinctly). Click here for a free pdf “Live Distinctly through Authenticity: 7 Verses to Help You Embrace the Real You.”
Dr. S. A. Foster is an author, blogger and speaker. Her passion is helping women to live distinctly through authenticity by showcasing their strengths and staying true to their core identity and values. Her blog, Honorable Distinction, encourages women to distinguish themselves in their everyday lives by exemplifying their faith and integrity. You can connect with her on her website, www.honorabledistinction.com
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