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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Shepherd

Submission, trust, and obedience are the main issues I consider in my response to the Good Shepherd behavior of Jesus in my life. “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). The sheep analogy breaks down at the point where we realize that we are created in the image of God and are expected to become progressively more like Jesus as we follow Him, whereas sheep cannot hope to become like the shepherd. I think we can view discipleship as a relationship that develops, sometimes beginning as adversarial and then progressing through various stages of trust and reliance until, ultimately, we submit our whole lives to His will and purpose for us and thus experience the epitome of intimacy. Another issue is that I think too much, instead of resting in the shepherd’s care. “He is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95:7). I like what Isaiah wrote which illustrates just how helpless and vulnerable I most often feel, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11). The good thing is that feeling this way causes me to be humble and reliant upon the Good Shepherd who is the lover of my soul and also illustrates how I am to esteem others more highly than myself and be self sacrificing. Self sacrifice is a real challenge for me when I lose sight of the fact that Jesus cares so perfectly for my well being that I am commanded to fret not. Psalm 27 is a favorite reminder to me of Jesus’ perfect care and is most useful in negating my worries.

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