I once had a five year old child tell me one day in Sunday School class that he did not like being compared to a sheep because sheep were stupid animals and he wasn’t stupid. No doubt this kid was beyond his years but I can’t help wondering if the Pharisees felt this way about Jesus’ sheep metaphors. One thing is for certain, the sheep were at least smart enough to know when they were being called by the Good Shepherd. Perhaps sheep aren’t the brightest of animals, but if we can achieve half as much wisdom to know the Savior’s voice when he calls us, we can all be just as smart. I believe if we can learn to always hear God’s voice, the following will get easier; perhaps as easily as sheep.
John 10: 19-30 Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want
Through Jesus Christ we have the power to lay down our life, we have the power to take it up again! The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ himself gives this power and by God’s grace we receive his power within in us. To use this power is not to abuse or tear down but to love and build up. Through Christ we become the good shepherd. To lay down this life is to sacrifice who we are in the physical world, understanding that our relationship to things that can not love us back is never more important than our relationship first to God and second to one another. There are times when we forget this but the true heart for seeks after God. Only God’s presence fills and fulfills the heart that knows God. To understand this is to have the power to take up that life which is eternally promised to us as we live according to Christ’s commandments.
1 John 3: 16-24 …and this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
2 Timothy 1:7 …for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Matthew 5:21-26 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go: first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift.