Everyone has to follow. Everyone. We follow directions, commands, behind other cars in traffic, the next person in line, etc. We have to learn to follow. This is crucial for leaders; followship helps leaders identify with their teams. What about when it comes to discipleship? Do we become a disciple of Jesus Christ to then chart our own path? Let me help us: no. No, we do not.
Yet we have MANY in the Body of Christ who follow strangers. Strangers with unfamiliar voices, and the people of God — some of us — do not run away. We turn toward our curiosity about the voice. We tout an open mind. And we lean in, only to be taken in by the stranger.
Discipleship is being a follower. It is being taught until one can teach another. And the cycle of teaching and learning continues. Being a follower means making choices. Who will we follow? To whom will we give the privilege of our ear, our attention, and as a consequence, our obedience?
The verse before gives a contrast. “When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow because they know his voice” (Jn. 10:4 CEV). Discipleship means learning and then knowing the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Learning God’s voice is a lifelong process as we do not discover God only once. Throughout our lifetimes, He shows us how versatile He is, and we learn how He speaks to us on the different paths of our journey.
Following Jesus through discipleship looks like following His voice. And that can be tricky. All voices are saying something. Not every message is for us, though. How do we learn God’s voice? What disciplines of discipleship help us? Here’s a short list…it’s not exhaustive though.
We find the voice of Jesus in the Bible, and through messengers like pastors, teachers, and other ministers. We may receive an impression or a feeling we cannot explain but are almost convinced Holy Spirit is leading us to do something. We move out to obey that impression, believing we are being led by the Holy Spirit. What happens next confirms that we heard him or we heard part of what He said, or we did not have a good understanding of what He said. THAT IS OKAY. This is how learning happens. The point is to bravely follow His voice.
Dear Ones, discipleship is following HIM and letting others hear how they hear. There may be the temptation to compare and judge ourselves as unable to hear because others claim to hear so clearly. Remember that hearing is not how we hear. Following His voice is how we learn to hear. Selah.
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the lead contributor to The Bereans’ Commentary.
Studying the Bible for love and with integrity.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."