By Caleb Bobrycki
“My sheep hear my voice.”
- John 10:27 (esv)
My wife and I have made it back from a refreshing time at the 2017 National Ligonier Conference (which we plan to attend in 2018, and you should join us!) The refreshment from constant preaching (26 sermons in three days, to be exact!) is unmistakable, but seems to me that many Christians find such a vacation as burdensome! It occurred to me that week the most refreshing times for the sheep of Christ are those in which they put themselves directly in the line of fire of his voice. And perhaps this is why conferences such as these, sabbath rests, Christian fellowship, and so on, are exceedingly helpful. Our problem lies not in our troubles, but in the desire to find refreshment from sources other than God’s Word. Not that God cannot use the theme park or beach to pine the pining (on the contrary, we quite enjoyed the beach and Universal Studios on our trip as well!), but that we usually are compelled to run to the world first, and sometimes not Christ’s voice at all! I feel compelled to pen down simple consolations for the afflicted, and remind them that the sermon, the daily reading of Scripture, the sacraments, and all the ordinary means of grace, are sufficient remedies for the downtrodden soul. Christ’s voice is precious to the sheep! For those that are confused by the berating of the world, their own conscience, or the condemnation of the devil take heart this day that Christ’s voice is louder still, if only we have ears to hear.
These extra things may help, but our flesh quickly sets them up as idols at the expense of Christ, and so subtly that we did not realize it has happened! If your soul is weary, turn your eyes from the fleeting things of earth for a moment and draw your attention to this little phrase: His sheep hear his voice, dear ones! Oh, and not the devil’s, nor not any false teachers’; those may merely pass through the hearing, but bear not significance in the mind of the sheep. Those who belong to Christ will hear his voice as sufficient. And they that belong to this Shepherd effectually hear him, meaning with faith, for faith comes by hearing his words of life (Romans 10:17)! They believingly hear their Master’s call, and no one else’s leading means much at all to them, if anything. Now, other things may vye for their heart's affections, indeed, but Christ’s beauties always outshine the allurements of the world. The Spirit of Christ continually calls them back to him, though not audibly on this side of eternity, but deafeningly loud to the soul by the still waters of the Word of God. This Word eclipses all the treasures of Egypt, deceits of the devil, and lusts of the flesh. Throughout every pilgrim’s life, he or she will find Christ’s voice persistently romancing away from the call to conform to the world. May he lead you to the precious Scriptures, morning by morning, which will shine brighter to the sheep than all the vain glories of the World.
Do not put all your trust in failing friendships, theme parks, beaches, and medication, but put all your trust in the gentle and firm voice of Christ. Set yourself up to hear him daily, and never stop feeding on his Words of life.