Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. Job 34:4
Yesterday I began this lesson from chapter 14 of Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parablesby F. LaGard Smith on listening to Jesus our Shepherd. I ended with a question about listening to the wrong voice. I'll continue this morning by, first of all, quoting LaGard. He says: "Indeed have we begun to listen to our own voice? Do we dream our own dreams and attribute them to the voice of God? Do we read into Scripture what we want to find? Have we begun to say, 'God said to me...' even when it may run counter to a clear biblical teaching? What a tragedy it would be if we ourselves became the 'stranger among God's sheep'!"
Remember...there is a "mothering up" or bonding process that sheep go through, so they know the sound of their mother's voice, and the voice of the shepherd. We must go through that same "mothering up" process, so that we will follow God's leading and not listen to our own or other false voices. We must learn to spiritually discern God's voice, as the apostle Paul said, "The man without Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Because we are born of flesh, we are like those little wet, wobbly lambs before the "mothering up" process. Not until we are born of the Spirit are we able to discern the voice of the Good Shepherd, as well as being able to discern those counterfeit voices that would lead us astray.
When there is danger, little lambs not only run to mother, they immediately begin to suckle. Their sense of security is connected to the very sustenance of life, which they know instinctively. Are we like the little lambs...only turning to God when we're frightened? Of course, when we're frightened, we realize how completely dependent we are on God for survival. What we should come to realize is that it is absolutely essential that we turn to God daily, because He is the only worthy explanation, the only encouragement, and the only hope. He is the One who leads us out of harm's way.
We should begin each day recognizing our need for spiritual nourishment and strength. And we should praise Him for being the true source of our life, remembering that He is the One in whose image we want to be continually re-created.
As we come to know God, we learn how much He desires to satisfy our hearts with every longing and need. He is our Sustainer and suckles us with life and love! Like little lambs who are dependent and lovable, we are lovable to the heart of God. And when we're in need, we can run to His open arms. He isn't hard to find, because His voice is calling to us all the time. Do you hear it?