The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. (John 10:3-4, MSG)
Isn't it amazing when, as a mom, you recognize the cry of your child apart from others? When you are in a crowd and a child starts crying, you instantly know whether it's your child or not. If it is your child, you immediately jump into action. The same is true on a playground where lots of children are calling out for their moms. You don't even flinch when other children yell, "Mom!", but when you hear the voice of your child, you recognize it and immediately respond. When your husband calls on the phone, he doesn't have to tell you who he is, you recognize his voice. The same is true with other people we are close to; we recognize their voice and respond when we hear them.
Jesus says it should be the same in our relationship with Him. He says He leads His sheep and they follow because they are familiar with His voice. I want to be familiar with His voice. When my days are hectic and there are many voices coming at me with many thoughts running through my head, I want to recognize and be led by His voice. I want the voice of truth to be the one that rises above all other voices in my life. When the Holy Spirit nudges me to action, I want to recognize His voice and obey. I don't want to miss God's voice and leadership throughout my days.
In order to recognize God's voice we have to spend time reading His Word. His voice in our lives will always be consistent with His Word. The better we know His Word, the more likely we are to recognize His voice. We also have to spend time praying and listening for His voice. The more time we spend talking with Him, the more familiar we become with His voice. How sweet it is to know that Jesus is calling each of us by name and leading us. I pray that each of us will take the time to become familiar with His voice, listen and follow.