Almost every one of us are born with the gift of hearing. While we are able to perceive sound, not all of us listen. Hearing is passive while listening is active. I’ve spent many years training people on how to listen. It requires removing or blocking distractions. It also demands that you give your attention to the one speaking. Listening is not an easy task. It’s one of the greatest ways you can show someone that you value them. When people don’t listen, it causes a breakdown in the relationship. When they listen intentionally with the intent to understand, it causes the relationship to grow. All of us could get better at listening.
In John 10, Jesus was talking about the Shepherd and the sheep referring to Himself and to us. In verse 14 He said, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]” (AMP). It’s important to note that Jesus points out that His sheep have a relationship with Him. Because of that relationship, He listens to us and we listen to Him. He went into say in verse 27, “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” We must be alert daily to hear His voice and to listen in to what He is saying so that we may follow where He leads us.
God is always speaking to us, but we are not always listening or hearing. We have such busy lives that are full of distractions, it’s hard to hear or listen in. This isn’t just a phenomenon of our modern world. Throughout history people have failed to be intentional with their quiet time. That’s why Jesus told us to go into our prayer closet to pray. Your prayer closet is simply a place where you can get alone, free of distractions to hear God’s voice. You must be able to hear Him before you can listen to Him. If it’s been a while since you have heard Him, find a quiet place today, free from distractions and interruptions so you can listen with intention. It won’t be easy because you will also have to learn to quiet your mind. When you are intentional about listening to your shepherd, you will have a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.