My wife loves sheep. I don’t know why–especially after watching ZooTopia, which included THE CREEPIEST looking sheep ever. I guess that movie has somewhat jaded my view of sheep, yet Jesus talked a fair amount about sheep, which means two things: 1) I need to get over my fear of creepy sheep; and 2) We should probably take a close look at what Jesus was really saying.
What is it about sheep that points to deeper spiritual truths?
Over the years, I’ve heard countless fun facts about sheep given in sermons and talks. For example: sheep are dumb, sheep frighten easily, sheep know the sound of their shepherd’s voice, and so on. I truly am thankful for God’s creation of sheep, and am equally thankful for Jesus’ analogies comparing sheep to people. What I’ve come to hold near to my heart over the years is that sheep need their shepherd. Like sheep, we need Jesus our perfect Shepherd. And yet, “We all like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).
Perhaps you’ve encountered situations in your life where you feel far from the Good Shepherd? Maybe you are in a season like that now.
In these moments it is so easy for fear to set in and chase us further away from the God who loves us. For me, the driving force that lures me away from staying close to Jesus is failure. It’s in the moments following failure that the devil bombards me with condemnation. Instead of feeding those thoughts of condemnation, I’ve leaned to onto the words of Romans 8: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If I have placed my trust and faith in Jesus as my Lord, King, and Shepherd, then even when I fail, I am not viewed as a “failure.” My identity rests in Christ, and I have freedom to walk forward and try again, leaving the stigma of messing up in my past.
You and I both have a Shepherd–a Good Shepherd–who pursued us while we were still far off, lost in our sin. He hasn’t given up on you, and he hasn’t given up on me.
Listen for his voice. Can you recognize it?
Know that, as sheep, we are helpless on our own, but in the fold of Jesus we are never more secure. He has done everything that we were incapable of doing on our own, so that in him, we might become his righteousness.
The next time you find yourself feeling far away from Jesus, remind yourself of who God says you are. Remind yourself that he is patient with you and is walking this journey with you. Remind yourself that as a sheep, you are completely helpless apart from our Shepherd, Jesus. Press into who he is, and know that in the seasons where God feels far, Jesus never abandons us and invites us to draw close to him.
This article was written as part of the Writing Mentorship with our P2C-Students Editorial team.