“I am the good shepherd.I know my own and my own know me.” John 10:14
Light bulb moment! I am still a sinner. To understand the depravity of one’s soul is good because it is the truth. And I do live in the knowledge that I am a sinner saved by grace. But sometimes God shines a spotlight on this truth for my sake, so that I may not grow stale in my dependence on his sanctifying grace.
My struggles over the last few weeks have brought my flaws and weaknesses front and center. I should not blame the circumstances that surrounded me because no matter how frustrating they were, they did not cause me to sin. I was the one who chose to respond in ways that did not glorify God. I was the one who allowed my love of self to win over love of others. With pursuit of excellence as my alibi, I threw patience and forbearance out the window. In favor of efficiency, I placed kindness in the back burner.
“God, would you restore my soul?” I found myself pleading one early morning while battling a headache. You see, when we allow our arrogance to take over, we also rob ourselves of peace and joy. In the end, our reward is nothing but pain and weariness of the soul because rest always eludes the prideful.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lay down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ” Psalm 23:1-3
Thanks be to God for Jesus our Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). Those who belong to him can never be snatched away from his hand (John 10:28-29). We may get lost along the way, but our Shepherd will always, always carry us and lead us back to the path of righteousness. But we need to be humble before him, who knows his sheep so well and calls each one by name (John 10:3).
I know that I will always need my Shepherd. As we grow in our faith and knowledge of him, we also grow in the realization of our absolute dependence on him. True spiritual maturity allows us to see that we can never shepherd ourselves. Hence we stand in awe of God’s goodness as we come to grasp, in an even deeper sense, how his grace truly sustains us moment by moment.
We have a Good Shepherd and I believe that he will restore my soul. The circumstances may not completely change for the better. Our struggles may not totally disappear, but we will not be crushed (2 Cor 4:8). Nothing shall keep our hearts from delighting in green pastures or resting by still waters because in Christ, we have everything we need to live according to God’s plan. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation
(from The Lord is My Salvation, by Keith and Kristyn Getty)