Begin by Reading Psalm 23.
The Psalm you just read begins, “The LORD is my shepherd,” and if the LORD is our Shepherd, then what are we? The only role left for us to accept is the role of the sheep. Psalm 23 has truly provided many people peace for years. It focuses on God’s role as the Shepherd who protects and cares for His people. Recognizing God’s care and provision for His people is quite comforting. However, when we zoom out and look at the implications of God being our shepherd, we are forced to accept the reality of our role as the sheep. This is what I want us to focus on, I want to challenge us to recognize our role as a sheep. Too often we try to become the shepherd, but a sheep does not make a very good shepherd.
Accepting Our Role:
The role of sheep is a very humbling position to find ourselves in. We make plans for our lives, we set lofty goals, and we read books about becoming the person we want to be; yet, too often we do this without giving much thought to the shepherd. We forget we are the sheep. We live as if we are in control, but we must allow the shepherd to be the shepherd. We must let Him be in control of our life. This can be difficult since the shepherd has given us free-will to do as we please. His love for us is so great that He allows us to create great plans and to dream big about who we will become or the next stage of life. This is truly one of our greatest blessings, but it comes with great temptation. It tempts us to remove the Shepherd from His role, we try to become the Shepherd, while we should be content as sheep.
A Balancing Act:
So, the challenge for us is to wrestle with how we balance being sheep with free will to dream and plan while refusing to remove the Shepherd from our life and allowing Him to lead us. These are the first thoughts and verses that come to my mind, reflect on these and see if you can add any verses to this list that help us be better sheep.
Consider and Discuss these Scriptures:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 and 1 Peter 1:13-16 God’s will is for us to live sanctified or holy lives.James
- 1:17 – Good Sheep recognize all good things come from God!
- James 4:13-17 – Life is short.
The Attitude of Sheep Matters:
After reflecting on these verses, I hope we can recognize being a sheep is more about our attitude than it is our plans and dreams. A good sheep understands that all good things come from God, and that he should be thankful to God for those things. A good sheep also understands that life is short, and we aren’t promised tomorrow. This means we must take every opportunity to do good, because only God knows what tomorrow holds. A good sheep must also focus on what the Shepherd wants from His sheep. God desires for us to live a life free from sin, to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Do you see how being a good sheep is a reflection of our attitude? If we have an attitude of thanksgiving for God’s gifts, including the gift of life, and we have an attitude of determination to focus on the things that matter most, to God, then we are living as good sheep.
The challenge is that we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we neglect what is most important. Then we attempt to overthrow the shepherd by forgetting, we aren’t promised tomorrow, that all good things come from God, and that God’s desire is for us to live holy lives. We are so easily distracted. We get caught up in the minor things we are pursuing that we forget to pursue the one major thing, we forget to pursue God! Every day when we wake up, we need to do something to remind ourselves that God is in control. Whether this means we say a prayer first thing, sing a song thanking God for the day, or spend some time in God’s word. We have to find something to reset and remind ourselves of who God is and who we are. God is the Shepherd, we are the sheep.
Things to consider:
- What part of Psalm 23 do you find most comforting?
- Why is it humbling to be compared to a sheep?
- Which is most difficult for you to remember: the fact you aren’t promised tomorrow, that every good and perfect gift comes from God, or that God’s main priority is for you to live a holy life?
- What distracts you from keeping God as the Shepherd of your life?
- What are you going to add to your morning to remind yourself of your role as the sheep?