The Shepherd

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone during a concert? A loud game? A loud restaurant? You’ll probably spend more time trying to read lips than actually listening or understanding what the other person is saying.

Obviously, these places aren’t the most ideal to have a longer conversation. Even when we are so focused on paying attention to the conversation, you found yourself still distracted by the loud voices as well as listening. You’re so focused you’re unfocused. Which is really unhelpful when you’re trying to hear someone.

God also calls us to listen to Him at all times as well. But just like in any loud place, there are many voices that sometimes make it really hard to decipher what the Lord is trying to say.

In John 10, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, making His children the sheep of His pasture. Jesus says “my sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. Jesus does not tell us that if we dig deep enough or focus hard enough or study long enough that we will be able to discover the key to hearing His voice. Rather, His only prerequisite is to be one of His sheep.

But we all know that Jesus’ voice is not the only one who is fighting for our attention. There are also people who beg for our attention who do not love us and do not want the best for us, but their goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.

So we clearly would prefer to listen to the former, so the choice is ours: who will we hear? As long as we are one of His sheep and our hearts are aligned to those things that His heart are aligned with, we will be able to hear from the Lord and follow Him.

But what if we know we are one of His sheep but His voice still seems faint compared to the other things that are asking for our attention? And I know it can certainly be overwhelming at times. If you’re feeling like this, consider the places where you go where you go to hear someone’s voice. When we want to hear someone, we set aside time in our schedule to meet with them. When we are intentional about when and where, we have a much easier time blocking out other sounds.

God is always speaking to us, so it is then our duty as His sheep to make sure we are following our shepherd. And when we lock into what He is saying to us, we can experience His love all the more. – Katie Hufnagle

Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. What are some things the Lord is saying to you in this season?
2. Are there loud voices/circumstances that are distracting you from hearing from Him?
3. What are some things you can do to make a regular time in your schedule in order to hear from the Lord?
4. Take some time to write a prayer to God.

Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. What have been some of the most prominent things that are distracting us from the Lord right now?
2. What is an encouragement the Lord has shown us recently?
3. What are some practices we can do to be sheep to our Shepherd?

Prayer: Read John 10 and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, thank you for being my shepherd all the time. I pray that you quiet the noise around me that makes it challenging to focus on you because I know your voice is the one I want to hear. Help me to follow you today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life. Speak to me, my family, and my neighbors as we all learn how to better follow and love you. I love you. Amen.