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Today I had a phone message from a friend that I have not heard from in probably over a year. To hear her voice was a blessing & brought me such comfort & encouragement. I played the message several times just to bask in the familiar sound of her voice. This got me to thinking…

There is something to be said about “familiarity”. Webster defines it as: “thorough knowledge or mastery of a subject, a close relationship, intimacy, an absence of ceremony & formality, fellowship, friendship, experience.”

Now we’re getting somewhere!! “Fellowship, friendship, experience.” Let’s face it, that is it exactly. We experience that old pair of slippers that feels so right when we slip them on. We eat that favorite food that we even call, “comfort food”. We pick up right where we left off with a friend that we have been in close  relationship with. We can be ourselves with them – no airs, no formality. There is something strangely comforting, that we are drawn to even, in the familiar.

Christ called us His friends (John 15:13, 14). Here we go with the fellowship, friendship & experience from the above definition. He has a thorough knowledge of us. We are to be in close relationship with Him. There is to be no hiding of ourselves from Him. As we remain in relationship with Him, we come to know Him better. We get familiar with Him even. In the Gospel of John, we are told –

“The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name & leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, & his sheep know his voice.” (John 10:3-4).

The word “know” in this passage is the Greek word, “ginosko”, meaning….”to know Christ in the sense of having a relationship of faith & trust in Him, based on a recognition of his divine person.” (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words).

Simply put…if I want to know His voice & be familiar with it & recognize it then that will be only as I come into a relationship with Him based on faith & trust in Him, recognizing Him for Who He is in His fullness.

What makes all this so difficult at times is that there are so many “voices” vying for my attention on any given day. But Scripture assures me that I can recognize the voice of my Shepherd as I become familiar with Him. Yes, it takes a little time & effort on my part but it is worth it as then, I will never follow the lead of a stranger (John 10:5).

He has promised me that I can then live with hearing His voice instructing me each & every day. No matter where I go. No matter where I need to go. No decision need ever to be made blindly. There truly is no better deal than this.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21