our journey together

our journey together

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Good Shepherd

To me, the image of the “Good Shepherd” is one of encouragement and an example to me as a pastor.  One of the ways that the “Good Shepherd” impacts my life is by being one of His sheep I can and will be able to trust where he is leading me.  I can have faith in His leading me in the right path because the “Good Shepherd’s” guiding is only meant for my good.  David picked up on this imagery in Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd… He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness… Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me …”  As well Paul writes about how God’s only has plans for good, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).”

As I fully trust in the “Good Shepherd” and surrender my will and control to His good purposes for my life I begin to find what true life really is.  I find that although I may have thought I knew what happiness was for me I was wrong.  I may have thought I knew what the purpose of my life was, but I was wrong.  The One who created all things knows what I was created to do and what will bring me abundant life.  From this fullness of life, love flows: from God to me and then from me to others.   This fullness of life is too powerful, too big, and too good to contain inside myself or to selfishly try to keep it!  The overflow of love finds its ultimate expression in the giving of it away (love for the One whom first loved me and then for others).  As John wrote in his first letter, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God.  Because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12).”

From Jesus, the “Good Shepherd’s” example of love (laying his life down for his sheep), we are to love people: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-8)!”

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