“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7
Some translations will say gate, some say door. The picture that the people would have gotten from what Jesus was saying is that of a sheepfold, where flocks of sheep were kept when they were brought home. A sheepfold would have one way in and out. It’s my understanding that many times it may be connected to the house, or in a town there may be one sheepfold that held many sheep from many flocks. Now when I look at sheep, I would think you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. But that is not so for the shepherd of the sheep. He would know his own, and the sheep would know their masters voice. So much so, that he could stand at the door of the sheepfold and call out for his sheep and only his sheep would follow. They could be commingled in the sheepfold with many other flocks, but when their master called they were ready to follow him.
“To him the gatekeeper opens. 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.” John 10:3-4
Also when the shepherd would lead his sheep into the sheepfold he would lead them through the gate by his voice and after his sheep were in safe and sound, he would lay down across the door of the sheepfold so as to offer protection for his sheep. No one could get past him when trying to get to the sheep and the sheep could not wander out of the door. Much the same way when we are following our shepherds voice there is a protection for us. When we are walking with the Lord, we are walking under His protection. Following His voice is protection for us. I can honestly say that the Lord has never led me wrong. When I am following His voice, even if He is calling me to do something I don’t particularly want to do, there will be a blessing at the end of the task when I follow His voice. And it’s one that I can look back and say oh I’m so glad I followed.
You might be asking how do you know His voice. Well I can honestly say it’s with time well spent with Him. Early on in my walk, even if I felt a leading or a stirring in my soul, I would question if it was the voice of God I was hearing or was it just my own thoughts running amok. However as I have spent time with Him, I can generally discern if my thoughts are a leading of the Holy Spirit or if it is my own thoughts. But when I do have questions there are a few things I might do.
First I will check it with scripture. If I feel a stirring that doesn’t line up with scripture, then that is my first indication that the stirring I feel is me, or worse yet it will be some other leading from the enemy. That one is always a sure thing. If it doesn’t line up with scripture, if it goes against scripture, don’t follow that voice, that is not your Shepherd.
Second if I can’t find anything scripturally that would lead me in a definite direction, I ask Him to affirm my thoughts. The answer to this one may come in a sermon or a song that I hear, or sometimes in a conversation that I have with someone that will address what is on my heart usually without even knowing it. When I receive affirmation that it is the Shepherd leading, I’ll follow Him where He leads. I have had things that He affirms quickly and I have had things I have pondered for a few days before I feel a clear direction.
Third, I must address that time spent with Him, will clarify His voice in your heart. I will know my spouse or my children’s voice when I hear them anytime and anywhere. Because we are familiar, we have spent years together. It’s much the same with Jesus. When you spend time with Him, you will know His voice, He will lead you through open doors and out of open doors. He will not lead you astray and He will protect you.
Friends if you are not sure if that is your Shepherd calling you, wait, check the calling with scripture, ask Him to affirm it, then spend time with Him daily so that you can know His voice when He calls.