“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jn. 10:3-5 The most reliable, ironclad protection for your marriage is found herein. Simply listen to the voice of God and resist every voice that is contrary. But I have often wondered, if his sheep know his voice, why do they (we) often listen to, and follow, the voice of a stranger? Jesus said that the sheep will not follow a stranger because they are not accustomed to his voice.
One key to understanding how this principle works, is to comprehend that whatever voice you’ve been trained to listen to, is the voice that is familiar to you and hence the one you are most likely to respond to. The voice that is not familiar to you, would classify as the “voice of a stranger.” One of the greatest areas of conflict in the life of a believer, is when they know they’re listening to the wrong voice but feel powerless to alter the sequence.
The good news is, we have a shepherd who is relentless to teach and train us, in the skill of hearing his voice. This is an ongoing process, though at the onset the stark contrast is evident: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor. 4:4 There is a finality of truth here, and rightly so. At conversion, we proceed from blindness to sight. I have seen and heard of amazing testimonies where one or both spouses comes to faith in Christ and the resulting foundational shift that comes into the marriage. The enemy of our soul however, is not abated in his pursuit and is intent on drawing us back into our old ways.We have a Shepherd who is relentless to teach and train us, in the skill of hearing his voice. Click To Tweet
Here is another clear passage on this point: “And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him], participating in evil things, yet Christ has now reconciled you.” Col. 1:21-22 (AMP) Our former condition was of being “estranged”, strangers to God in a way, having a thought life and value system that was contrary to God’s ways. Immediately upon reconciliation, a righteous upheaval and shift begins, as we are drawn towards a new and living way. Heb. 10:20
One of my first memory verses was Proverbs 3:5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” In the natural, we are prone to lean towards that which we were foundationally taught. This may not have been completely dark or without value, but as we grow in our Christian walk there is a higher level of obedience and transformation that we are called to. Even though my own marriage was founded in Christ from the very start, subsequent seasons of growth have probed deeper into my soul and revealed areas in my thought life that needed to be purified. Another longtime favorite memory verse is 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV) The literal translation for “sound mind” is “saving the mind”, with the implication that we have the responsibility to exercise self control or self discipline. We could also say that we’ve been given the spirit of a sound mind, the mind of Christ, the inner presence of Holy Spirit, the one who counsels us and stands ready to lead us into all truth.
The stranger’s voice, is what the enemy has declared, blended in with what I believe in my carnal mind about myself. The shepherd’s voice is what Jesus has declared along with what I choose to believe in my spiritual mind.
A “sound mind” then, is a gift to us, while the maintenance and upkeep of my thoughts, both personally and towards my spouse, is incumbent upon me to manage.A “sound mind” then, is a gift to us, while the maintenance and upkeep of my thoughts, both personally and towards my spouse, is incumbent upon me to manage. Click To Tweet
One of the attributes of love, listed in the well known “love chapter”, is that “love thinks no evil.” 1 Cor. 13:5 (NKJV) The literal meaning is to “take an inventory.” Another translation says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV) One of the most common hindrances in the thought life, is the temptation to be resentful, judgmental, bitter, and unforgiving. These are stubborn trespassers in our minds. When this dark ledger becomes full, in the context of a marriage, all it takes is a minor provocation to tip the scales into conflict. Thankfully, the spirit of a sound mind is connected to the spirit of power and love, serving as the energy supply we need, to win on the battlefield of the mind.The spirit of a sound mind is connected to the spirit of power and love, serving as the energy supply we need, to win on the battlefield of the mind. Click To Tweet
Words get exchanged in a marriage, or in any relationship for that matter, words that existed first as thoughts in our minds. We often wish to retrieve words spoken, kind of like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Or we say things in clumsy ways, not really meaning to come across the way we did. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both freshwater and saltwater flow from the same spring?” Jas. 3:9-11 No doubt every couple has been on the plus or minus side of this over the years, but we cannot let this dichotomy sit like a piece of furniture in our marriage. We must contest it and shift its occurrence to “minimal”, as opposed to being the daily environment in which we live.
Lord, I desire to hear and follow the voice of truth in my marriage. Reveal to me the lies I have been deceived by. Help me to renounce them and choose to embrace your words. Tune my ears to discern between the voice of the shepherd and the voice of the stranger.
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