Researchers say that adult Emperor Penguins can recognize their mates and their chicks by the unique sounds of their voice. This is vital so parents can care for offspring and each other in colonies with thousands and thousands of members. I don’t know how they do it, but that is what God made them to do.

Jesus said that voice recognition is an important trait for believers too. In John 10:3-6, he explains that sheep respond to their shepherd’s voice.

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Sheep know their shepherd’s voice and they trust it, but not a stranger’s. Christians know Jesus’ voice and trust his ways, but they don’t trust teachings and ideas that go against what he said.

It is interesting that the folks who heard Jesus say that didn’t follow his illustration, “but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Some people imagine that Christianity is about going to heaven and not hell. That is an important benefit, but it is not the main point or focus of the life or practice of a Christian. Christianity has always been about believers training believers to trust God’s revealed truth. Believers hear his voice by knowing and living out what Jesus says. He explains it like this in John 15:7-8, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Remaining in Jesus and having his words “his voice” remain in us is key to bearing fruit and being his disciple (a part of his flock). So, study, read, memorize, and focus on his words all the time so you will know them and be able to quickly recognize whenever you hear voices that are not from him.

John Riley

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