The Good Shepherd: Part I

by APC on May 10, 2018

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine (John 10:14, KJV).

A Unique Vocation

Scripture teaches us Jesus Christ is our Shepherd. He’s called the great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) and the chief Shepherd (I Peter 5:4), but Jesus calls Himself the good Shepherd. Shepherds have a unique vocation because they build a relationship with the animals they keep. They spend a great deal of time studying their flock, naming them, and will sacrifice themselves for the sheep when danger arises.

While Jesus calls Himself the good Shepherd, He also mentions He knows His sheep, and the sheep know Him. If we are to know Jesus as our good Shepherd, there are a few things we should remember.

He Makes Us Rest

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters (Psalms 23:2, KJV).

God’s wants to lead us to a place of rest and relaxation at some point in our life. Even still, we tend to live very fast-paced lives and have a problem with taking a break. We claim it’s because there’s too much to do, but there are 3 key elements feeding the problem.

We may not relax because we want more stuff—we struggle with materialism. Scripture tells us not to work so we can get rich (Proverbs 23:4). We can’t get so caught up in money because we can lose it very quickly. We might be suffering from a desire of being like other people—envy. If we envy our neighbor, we’ll constantly be vexed in our spirit (Ecclesiastes 4:4). Lastly, we might be afraid we won’t have enough—insecurity. If we work for ourselves, we won’t ever have enough, but if we work for the Lord, He will always provide (Ecclesiastes 6:7).

God wants us to RELAX, and here’s why:

  • Remember—We must remember our value to God. We have been bought with a price, and therefore, He wants to take care of us (I Corinthians 6:20). We shouldn’t wear out the merchandise!
  • Enjoy—Enjoy what we already have. God has told us we must be content, and if we find this, it’s great gain to us (I Timothy 6:6). Even if we’re not content today, it can be learned (Philippians 4:10)
  • Limit—We must limit our work to 6 days a week. When God set forth the 10 commandments, He placed the same emphasis on all of them. We must remember to remember to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 23:7). Sabbath means a day of rest! We must rest our body, recharge our emotions, and refocus our spirit
  • Adjust—We must adjust our values. When we schedule everything else in our lives, we must schedule in time for God and to be in church! What will it profit us if we gain the whole world but lose our soul (Mark 8:36)
  • eXchange—We need to exchange our restlessness for God’s peace. Jesus said He would give us peace and leave us with peace (John 14:27). He wants us to find rest for our souls

He Restores Our Souls

He restoreth my soul… (Psalms 23:3, KJV).

We all have a spirit, soul, and a body—it’s all a place God dwells. It’s difficult for us to determine the difference between a spirit and soul (Hebrews 4:12), but our soul is the part of us that thinks, chooses, and feels. This part of us can be damaged very easily by the trials and circumstances of life. We can start to get the wrong attitude and the wrong spirit which is not what Jesus has in mind for His sheep. Jesus came so He would restore our souls—to change the way we think and live every day.

If we’re not careful, we can allow things into our life that break our ability to accept God’s restoration and live a changed life. If we have unaddressed grudges or bitterness in our life this can drastically affect the way we think, choose, and feel. More than focusing on those feelings, we need to focus on how to deal with it. If someone hurts us, it puts them morally beneath us. When we stoop to their level and try to get even, we find ourselves on the same level.

We must learn to confess our sins as Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us (I John 1:9). God wants to forgive our guilt and doesn’t want us to experience condemnation—this is only from the enemy! Conviction is one thing, but condemnation is another. We cannot allow our guilt to become overwhelming because it’s too heavy for us to bear (Psalms 38:4). We should confess our sins to get rid of the guilt, agree with God we’ve done wrong, and then experience the peace of restoration that washes over us.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 09, 2018 with Pastor Nave