“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:27-30
Many read this verse and immediately conclude that it describes their relationship with Jesus. They feel like the sheep who listens to the voice of the master.
Once asked a pastor to a church with nearly 8,000 members why the rate of sinful behavior is virtually identical to the secular world. If the question surprises you, there are many studies that painfully illustrate how as much as 80% of all churchgoers participate in illicit activities ranging from pornography, adulterous relationships, and drug and alcohol use, and more.
The pastor didn't have a clear answer other than telling me that people are deceitfully driven to behave in ways contrary to their faith.
You're probably as surprised at the answer as I was. It's pretty obvious that whatever is driving Christians to misbehave exists in the realms of the mind.
The lack of a good answer explains the condition of the church body and why it will continue.
I'm not critical of the pastor or the church. The pastor is only performing his duties within the purview of his knowledge and the guidelines set forth by the governing body.
Can we really consider these people the flock who hears the voice of Jesus and follow His instruction? You know the answer. Yet, many consider the verse applies to them.
Leaving aside the unsuitable behavior, we come across these words, "I know them". Pay close attention to what I have to say now. These words are sandwiched between, "My sheep hear my voice,..., and they follow me"
According to Jesus any man or woman who hears His voice and follows His instruction is known by Him. In other words, there an internal knowledge between both parties.
The kind of knowledge we're talking about is experiential. It's an experience in the soul where we commune with God in deep prayer and the meditation of His word.
These devotional moments form the driving characteristics of our personality. It impregnates the mind with beauty and heavenly attributes like grace, love, forgiveness, discipline, steadiness, goodness, and honor.
Now for the most important point.
Can we say Jesus lacks in any heavenly attribute? Of course not. It's unimaginable to think of Jesus without grace, love, forgiveness, discipline, steadiness, goodness, and honor. In fact, we can say that the attributes I just mentioned are part of God's nature.
If you subtract any attribute, and there's more, you end up with someone from the 80% crowd. The attributes that drive them are foreign to God's nature. Therefore, God cannot say, "I know them."
In those terms, we can understand that there are qualities within every human personality that reflect either light or dark.
So the personal qualities of Jesus reflect God's nature or light.
If we emulate the qualities of Jesus we emulate God's nature. Spiritually speaking we embody the qualities of God in Jesus. If you practice this enough you become more like Jesus, or God, whole, complete, and perfected in His presence. In other words, you will be "known" by Him through His presence which affects you in positive ways.
You may think that because you may not one the 80% this principle doesn't apply. So let's think about the 20%.
Although there aren't conclusive studies about this portion of people I can only relate to you from my personal experience.
About three-quarters of the 20%, we would view as "good" people. In other words, they don't indulge in what we may consider unsavory though and acts.
For the most part, they conduct themselves with honor and appeal to God's grace by word and work.
Again I go back to the Lord's words, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"
It's my personal experience that only about 5% of the entire church devotedly apply their heart, soul, and mind to the cultivation of the inner being in ways that please God.
The biggest culprit to a lack of spiritual discipline is lack of information and desire.
If information about spiritual discipline as a door to God's grace through Jesus is more available, I believe more people would take the necessary steps in cultivating a profoundly meaningful relationship with Jesus.
So this is what you do.
Take a few minutes each day, preferably in early in the morning. A good starting point is 20 minutes.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and pray. Love God through prayer, exalt Him, and then pray for guidance and help during your meditation.
Open your Bible an start contemplating on the selected verses. You may find that reading a verse and then closing your eyes and contemplating over each verse helpful.
One of my favorite techniques is to meditatively pray with the book of Psalms. I select one to three Psalms a day which I can deeply concentrate on. The practice is easy and has a wonderful effect of creating divine thinking patterns.
This technique will develop a godly personality in you. You will think, speak, and act more like Jesus. In other words, you will be part of the flock who listens and follows.
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