Listening and Following

Posted on September 28, 2011 by

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In a world of loud voices and tempting opportunities, there are spiritual rhythms that we must exercise lest we lose the deep, vibrant inner life of our soul that is so necessary for a spiritual leader.  The pressures to be relevant, to make the most of our time, to be a successful leader, and to reach more and more people for Christ can crowd our lives and make it difficult to hear the Lord’s “still, small voice.”  If we are not careful, we can become numb to his presence in our lives. We can find ourselves too busy with his “business” and lack the relationship with him that he so desires and we so desperately need. He wants to speak to us, through his word and in our inmost being, but I know that it is easy to forget what his voice sounds like. In the noise and clatter of our busy lives, it can be increasingly difficult to hear his voice.  If we are not becoming more and more familiar with his voice in quiet retreats with him each day, how will we ever recognize his voice in the noise of each day?

Chuck Reinhold, former Eastern Division Vice President with Young Life, instilled in us through the years that “there is nothing more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ.”  It is more important than anything else in the ministry and it affects every aspect of our lives. It affects the way I do contact work, the way I proclaim the good news, the way I interact with everyone that I come in contact with every day.  It affects the way I view myself and the way I view the world. When I receive God’s love, I extend love to others.  When I understand that I am forgiven, I extend forgiveness to others.  When I know that I am His, I can live a life abandoned to His call. When I grasp the truth that I was made by Him and for Him, I begin to learn that my identity and purpose need to be wrapped up in knowing Him.

The most important thing I can do in my ministry is to know Jesus better each day. I fear that I often forget the purpose of my time with the Savior and reduce it to just another task or routine to maintain. It can become just an item to check off or a discipline to keep. What I have found is that I often don’t need to be more disciplined; I need to have a better vision of my life in him.  I find that discipline is much easier when my vision is correct.  Jesus says concerning himself…

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…”  John 10:14

I am one of his sheep. He cares for me and wants to guide me for his name’s sake. I need to be able to recognize His voice and respond to Him.

“His sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize his voice.”  John 10:4-5

I need to resist the voice of the stranger. I need to, I want to, spend so much time with Jesus that his voice is intimately familiar to me, not just in the quiet time, but throughout the entire day.

When was the last time you heard Him say…

I love you…

…I forgive you…

…You are mine…

…I made you and have called you by name

He is speaking; I hope we have not forgotten how to listen.

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