I AM... The Good Shepherd

A fact that most people don’t know about me is that I love sheep.  I think they’re adorable!  They just go about their daily business - roam around their field, have something to eat, and then they roam around a little more.  I love sheep so much that one time I actually wrote a song about them, but we’ll save that for another time! Sheep, more so than a lot of other animals, are reliant on their master, their shepherd.  He takes great care of them and provides all that they need.  As long as he’s around, they have no reason to be afraid because he will protect them from harm and look after them.  However, sometimes sheep like to stray away.  They see something attractive elsewhere and take a walk outside of their field, away from their safety, and go wandering in a place where they could come to harm.  A good shepherd will put his own life on the line in order to protect his sheep from danger and bring them back to safety.
 
Just like sheep, we sometimes try to leave the safety that is found in our master, our Good Shepherd, Jesus.  He protects us, He provides all that we need and yet we often think that we know better and try to work things out for ourselves.  We see something that looks more appealing to us and we go chasing after it.  Sometimes we are attracted to go to places we shouldn’t go, watch things we shouldn’t watch, or say things we shouldn’t say.  We see other people doing these things and think that it looks like more fun, but these things will NEVER satisfy our hearts.  We’ll always be left wanting more.  There’s a popular saying that I’m sure you’ve heard before: “the grass is always greener on the other side”.  This could be taken quite literally for sheep, but what it means is that things always seem more appealing when you’re an onlooker, but once you’re there, it’s really not as great as you thought it would be.  When a sheep leaves their home field, they figure out soon enough that it was a bad idea.  They come into danger, they’re far away from their shepherd and they don’t know how to find their own way back.  Before leaving home, they thought they knew where they were going, but in reality, they didn’t.  The same could be said for us.  Isaiah 53:6 says, “all of us, like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own”.  We think we’ve got it all under control, but really, we need our ‘good shepherd’ to rescue us and bring us back to safety.  He calls out to us and we need to accept that we have done wrong and seek forgiveness from Him.  We need to rely on Him for our protection and trust that He will ALWAYS protect and guide us, just like a good shepherd does.
 
A good shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know him.  They hear him calling and they follow his voice.  In the same way, Jesus knows us.  He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”. He knows us individually and He loves us more than we can ever begin to fathom – we need to follow His calling; follow His guidance because He knows us better than we know ourselves and knows what’s best for us. There’s a song that I first heard at the beginning of this year entitled “Jesus, Strong and Kind”. The chorus of the song is this: “...for the Lord is good and faithful.  He will keep us day and night.  We can always run to Jesus. Jesus, strong and kind”. It doesn’t matter what time of the day that we call upon Him, He will always draw near to us and pick us up out of our situation.  He treats us with love, kindness and He is our strength.
 
John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”. Not only does our good shepherd, Jesus, bring us back to Him when we’re lost, but He gave up his life for us.  Every time we stray from Him, we sin.  We reject His guidance and wisdom and rely on our own knowledge.  By dying on the cross, Jesus took the price that we deserved for our sins.  Not only is this eternal, but we can live with the assurance that we have His help and we no longer need to fear.  Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” If we accept Jesus and acknowledge Him as our Saviour, asking Him to forgive our sins, we can spend an eternity with Him in Heaven.  Having life to the full doesn’t mean that it will be plain sailing, but it means that we have the protection, love, joy and guidance of a good and perfect shepherd.
 
There’s no greater gift, no greater friend and no greater shepherd than Jesus.
 

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