by Neil Anderson
FOLLOWING OUR SHEPHERD
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God
I had the privilege of feeding and caring for the sheep on the farm where I was raised. I discovered that sheep aren't the smartest animals on the farm. Sheep need to be shepherded. Left to themselves in a lush pasture, they will keep eating until it kills them. They need a shepherd to make them "lie down in green pastures" (Psalm 23:2) so they don't eat themselves to death!
The Lord often pictured our relationship with Him in Scripture like that of a shepherd and his sheep. Those of us who live in the West don't have a correct picture of what it means to be led like sheep. Western shepherds drive their sheep from behind the flock, often using dogs to bark at their heels. Eastern shepherds, like those in Bible times, lead their sheep from in front. I watched a shepherd lead his flock on a hillside outside Bethlehem during a visit to the Holy Land. The shepherd sat on a rock while the sheep grazed. After a time he stood up, said a few words to the sheep, and walked away. The sheep looked up and followed him. It was fascinating! The words of Jesus in John 10:27 suddenly took on new meaning to me: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Sheep without a shepherd become disoriented and scatter. Rams arise from the flock and butt heads to determine who will lead. The ones with the hardest heads win. Without a shepherd, we too are left to the mercy of hard-headed, driven people or we wander around directionless, eating ourselves to death.
The Spirit-walk is one of being led, not driven. God won't make you walk in the Spirit, and the devil can't make you walk in the flesh, although he will certainly try to draw you in that direction. You are free to choose to follow the leading of the Spirit or the desires of the flesh (Romans 8:14).
Gentle Shepherd, thank You for searching for me when I was lost and for comforting me when I am hurt. I long to follow You today.
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