Walking with the Shepherd

The Bible uses a shepherd as an analogy for Jesus. A shepherd takes care of a flock of sheep, watches over them, and helps them. Sheep are wayward animals that are eaten by predators if left alone. The Lord uses this example to help us know how important our relationship with Him is. We need to stay close and let Him watch over us and direct us.

The shepherd is a guiding figure, a leading figure, and a seeking figure. He finds the lost sheep, leads the tired sheep to food and water, and calls the sheep to follow Him. Each time, the shepherd is the active one, and the sheep are following along.

The Lord is actively involved in our lives. He is moving in our lives for our benefit. His work is to bring us, and each person in the world, to Him. Like the example of the shepherd, he seeks, leads, and calls.

As the sheep in this analogy, we are the ones who should be waiting, feeding, and following. Our role is to allow the Lord to do the work that He is eminently qualified to do: lead His children.

In our lives, when the Lord says, go here, we go there. When He says, do this, we do it. The heart behind our activities is our willingness to be lead and to be His sheep. The heart  the Lord wants in each of us is that of one who serves at the command of the leader: Him.

Each of us must be lead by the shepherd. We must accept His guidance and know that our job is to follow, wait, and be fed. He will provide for each and every need, spiritually and physically.

God says, “I called each of you by name. I called each of you with love. My heart is bound up in you and I want you with a desperation that you can’t begin to understand. Listen to me. Follow me. I will care for you and protect you forever.”

Clarity of Vision

Our culture often tells us to dream big and have great ideas for how life could be. It is true that a vision for our life is vital, because it shapes so much about our choices. However, the influence of those goals is so profound that we need to be sure that the dreams we are building choices around are the best ones for our future.

If we believe the world’s ideas, we should be trying to build the best possible life for ourselves based on luxury and entertainment. That kind of selfish outlook, however, will not bring satisfaction or a closer walk with God. We need to be talking with God about our dreams and goals and building a vision for our life that accomplishes His will for us..

Our ultimate goal is always to know God. The Bible says that’s what eternal life is: knowing God. (John 17:3) All other things in our life should revolve around that one. Knowing Him.

After that, the vision for our life is very individualized between us and God. Each one of us needs to go before the Lord and talk about what God is doing in our life. This may not be a daily thing; maybe it’s only once a year. However, without some time spent with the Lord, clarifying His plans and ideas for you, you are missing out on directed time with Him.

When we clarify our vision with Him, we can find a beautiful purpose that energizes us. God knows us and planned good works for us to do. If we take the time to plan with Him about our work, we will find ourselves given  work that is made for our gifts and talents. It will be work that energizes us and fills us with a sense of accomplishment.

At least on good days it will – on bad days, it might be difficult. But if we have a vision, we know that what we’re working through has a purpose. It’s a part of something bigger, even if that bigger thing is as high level as knowing God; it will have a purpose. Knowing that might not make the work easier or the drudgery less boring, but it will give you a focus and a reason to keep on when others might give up.

God’s purpose for you is real and valid. Each of us has a purpose and we can walk in it daily, hand in hand with the Lord.

Being Guided by God

God as our guide sounds beautiful. God telling us what to do can be frustrating, yet, they are both the same idea. We know we want God to guide us, but are we willing to make the changes that He asks in our lives?

Sometimes the guidance of the Lord is subtle and we aren’t even aware until things fall into place. Sometimes, however, the Lord is asking us to do something at odds with our natural way of doing things. While the first way is easier, they are both from  the Lord.

Being guided means having the way you should go pointed out. If you take a guide with you on a trail, they show you the path. If you don’t listen to them, you might end up lost, or at the very least, not getting where you meant to go. God’s guidance is the same way. He shows us the path, and we have to choose to take it.

His prompting can come in so many ways: from conviction of sin, to an idea to help someone else, or to the inspiration to pursue an idea, just to name a few. As we learn to sense Him more and understand what He’s guiding us to do, we must then choose to change our course to include that guidance.

Our natural self fights the guidance of the Lord because we want to be the one at the helm. Our need for control runs deep and we often find ourselves at odds with the Holy Spirit over life choices.

God as our guide means He is the one who chooses the path we are on. If we hear His advice and then choose our own way, we are not being guided by Him. Saying you want the Lord to guide you means that you must also be willing to do what He says, even if it isn’t anything like  you thought it would be.

God is a good god. He wants the best for His children and knows how to give them good gifts. His advice and commands are good and bring us to a fuller life in Him. Our willingness to listen and obey Him is how we partner with Him to bring  freedom and blessings in our lives.