“God is unwilling to be your means to what you call the “good life.” Your relationship to him must be your definition of the good life.” Paul Tripp
I Am the Good Shepherd
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 10:1–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Abba, Shepherd and caretaker of my soul,
What is this insidious curse that deceives and lures our hearts and souls from cherishing you to thinking that there is a life, a good life, that does not include You? Of course, this is a rhetorical question. Sin. I suppose more accurately, we ought to ask, why do we continually fall prey to it? So often, Abba, we treat you like a genie in a lamp or as a personal assistant whom we order about to grant our wishes or do our bidding. We send you are errands to fetch us what our heart desires so that we can enjoy the pleasures and comforts of life in the flesh.
We care more about financial security and comfort; we care more about physical safety and peace; we care more bout physical comfort, pain free living; we care more about acceptance among peers, recognition for our achievements, and the praise of man than we do about the delight of being accepted and loved by YOU, God of the Universe! When did the temporal and earthly become more important to us than the spiritual and eternal? How can we fail to grasp the enormity of eternity and settle for temporal of this life?
Abba, forgive us.
May our hearts desire YOU more than anything else. May we accept and even appreciate the lack of earthly pleasures, acceptance of man, comfort and ease, health and wealth as a means to coral us back into humble of joy of simply being sheep in your pasture. May the simple pleasures of hearing Your voice, trusting Your care, following Your lead mean more to us anything this fickle earth can grant.
Abba, please settle the screaming tumult of the world that rages in our ears. Quiet the shouts of the enemy, the allure of the flesh, and on the gentle breeze of the pasture, may we hear your voice. And at the sound of your voice, may we be filled with JOY, with PEACE, with the simpe delights of knowing you are near and may contentment fill our hearts with the truth of this knowledge.
We love you Abba! We rest in you, our Good Shepherd. Truly…may you be for us the very definition of the “good life.”