Luke 8:8 “He who has ears, let him hear.”
As disciples, it is our supreme privilege to hear the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus.
How do we know we are hearing Jesus’ voice and not the voice of an imitator or imposter?
The sheep know their shepherd’s voice.
John 10:4b …his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
When I became a mother I had the benefit of staying home to be her mother. Her bedroom was on the second floor of our tiny townhouse. When she would awake from her nap, I would whistle to let her know I was coming to get her. This tiny baby was able to whistle when she was four months old!
Do you think she recognized her mother’s voice? She certainly recognized her mother’s whistle – and imitated it well.
Think for a moment about your parents’ voices. Are you able to recognize those voices in a crowded room? Indeed we would recognize those voices anywhere, anytime.
Not only do we recognize the voice of our parents, but we recognize the content of their character by the content of their conversation. We hear their voices in our thoughts; they influence our character all the days of our lives (good and bad).
It is the same with knowing our Shepherd’s voice. Every steadfast disciple of Christ has learned to recognize His voice and follow it as well as imitate it.
His voice is in our heads and hearts. Therefore, it comes out of our mouths via the process of transference.
Whatever our hearts are filled with spills out of our mouths unaware.
“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b
Have you ever participated in a conversation with a bitter person?
What about an angry person?
What about a Jesus lover?
Think about all your family members and friends for a moment. They are a mixed myriad of characters that have influenced your life story and your voice.
Each person we engage in relationship with has a distinct character aspect to their conversation. We recognize them by the content of their conversation.
All disciples need to learn to recognize Jesus’ voice by the content of His conversation with us in His Word.
As disciple makers, it is essential we teach those we disciple to hear The Shepherd’s voice. So, how do we go about teaching the delicate skill of hearing His voice?
There are three critical habits that must be formed in every disciple’s life. It is not an overnight occurrence but a repetitive, habitual, learned discipline.
#1 Reading God’s Word
“The Word of God is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.” Hebrews 4:12
Teach those you are discipling to acknowledge the truth that our God, Savior, and Holy Spirit are present when a saint opens their bible to read.
I have made it a habit of saying this simple prayer as I open my Bible:
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
3 Benefits of a Simple Prayer:
It places us in a position of consciously listening for His voice.
It acknowledges His presence in our midst.
It subjugates our self to His authority over us.
Reading God’s Word is a habit to instill in every soul you disciple.
Teach them to listen for His voice as they read. Instill in them a fondness for His Word. As they meet Him in His Word, they will become familiar with His voice because it is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.
It is noteworthy that we all benefit from journaling after reading. This is where we process what we have heard. In this electronic age we are able to journal electronically. Teach them the discipline of journaling after they read God’s Word. The journal provides stones of remembrance that we can go back to for encouragement. It enables us to see the work the Lord has wrought in our lives for His glory and our highest good.
Introduce them to a Bible Reading Plan. Any Bible Reading Plan for learning to hear His voice is one of the more successful tools for making disciples.
You may discern that a Bible Reading Plan is what will work best for you and those you disciple. Let the Spirit lead in deciding the best approach for the one you are discipling.
#2 Scripture Memorization
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Ps. 119:11
I know, I know – I’m hearing your audible sighs from cyberspace on this one. However, I can testify to the validity and veracity of scripture memorization.
As a brand new babe in Christ, I was put under the strict discipline of a valiant disciple maker who required me to memorize scripture. I memorized one verse per week.
Those first memory verses are still hidden in my heart to this day. They pour forth in my mind and out of my mouth with ease.
I like to refer to scripture memorization as “God’s Tool Box.” The verses and passages we commit to memory are always with us and are available for God’s purposes as we interact with others in our daily lives. By memorizing scripture, we are transformed into His living, breathing representatives to a lost world.
Allow me to borrow a superb list of scripture memorization benefits from John Piper. I am giving him full credit and linking to his blog post called “Why Memorize Scripture.” I could not have constructed a better list. (The link to this article can be activated by clicking on the title, “Why Memorize Scripture.”
- Conformity to Christ
- Daily Triumph Over Sin
- Daily Triumph Over Satan
- Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
- Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
- Communion with God
Helps for Memorizing Scripture
Topical Memory System
The Topical Memory System has been used by generations of Disciple Makers and is a proven means for memorizing scripture verses that encounter life’s various demands. Published by The Navigators.
An excellent free app for your electronic devices called ScriptureTyper. You type in your memory verses and this app helps you memorize it by displaying some of the words of the verse (every other word) and you fill in the missing words. You can also type the verse from memory until you have mastered it.
What does prayer have to do with hearing His voice?
Prayer is our conversation with God, therefore prayer is a two-way conversation.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isa. 64:24
The prompting we receive to go to prayer is from Him.
In the midst of prayer He hears us.
Teaching those you disciple to pray is critical to their progress as a disciple.
Can you imagine going through your entire life never communicating with the people you love?
How can we say we love Jesus if we never communicate with Him?
Prayerlessness isolates us from God and His mountain-moving power.
Prayer is where we get to know Him and His voice, but He also gets to know us and our voice. Prayer is where He transforms us into His image. He changes our mind, He corrects us, and He transfers His character into us.
Prayer is beneficial on many levels:
Prayer humbles us.
Prayer places us in His presence.
Prayer is our lifeblood to the ruler of the universe.
Prayer puts us in touch with the one who has all the answers.
He assures us He is in our midst while we are in prayer.
He answers prayer.
He prompts our spirit to pray for matters we do not foresee.
Here is a link to The Prayer Hand. It is a tool for teaching disciples to pray.
In conclusion, let us all discipline ourselves in such a manner as is pleasing to God. Let us draw near to Him that He might draw near to us and speak into our heart and soul that we might have ears to hear His voice.
Please comment below and let us know if this article has been helpful for you. We invite conversation at Disciple Makers!