Tuesday, March 3, 2009

...across the room to be led....

I am reading a delightful little book by Phillip W. Keller "A shepherd Looks at Psalm 23".    I'ld like to share a bit of today's chapter with you.  I'm going to try to condense the chapter into my own words but may end up quoting the author in places so if you read the book and remember some sentences....that would be the reason!!  This chapter is called "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake".

Did you know that humans are a lot like sheep?   Did you know that sheep will graze the same trails and hills until they are completely ruined and infested with parasites?  A whole flock of sheep can get contaminated, thin, weak and sickly in no time at all because they insist on this destructive behaviour.   The Bible says we are stiff-necked and stubborn, we always want to do our own thing.   We pursue this path of behaviour with what Keller defines as destructive self-determination,  personal pride and self-assertion and we do it repeatedly and to our own disadvantage.   "All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned everyone to his own way." Isa. 53:6  Even though we may have seen other lives ruined we will insist on the same habits just because we are determined to do things our own way. 

A good shepherd will not leave his flock on the same ground for long.  He will keep moving his sheep  from pasture to pasture to avoid this erosion of the land and keep the sheep healthy.

Jesus says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". Jn. 14:6 and "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". John 10:10

A person who is bent on doing is own thing does not want to come, to follow, or be led.  Those stubborn, self-willed, proud, self-sufficient sheep that persist in pursuing old paths and grazing on polluted ground will end up sick, just as our world is full of sick people, broken homes, broken hearts, twisted personalities because we insist on going our own way, leaving behind a legacy of ruin and remorse.

Jesus says that if we will follow Him we should deny ourselves daily, take up our cross and follow Him.  However, says Keller, we don't want to deny ourselves anything.  We don't want to give up our right to make our own decisions.  To be led by God would mean that we would have to actually do what He asks of us and go where He wants us to go.  This is the point where a Christian decides to "go with God" or "turn back" from following on.

He then lists seven fresh attitudes for progressive forward movements with God.  They are:

1.  Love Christ and others more than myself
2.  Be OK with being set apart, rather than one of the crowd
3.  Forgo my rights in favor of others
4.  Instead of being "boss" be willing to be at the bottom of the heap
5.  Accept the circumstances of life with an attitude of gratitude rather than always asking "Why      me"
6.  Comply with His wishes and His will instead of asserting my own will
7.  Instead of choosing my own way, be willing to choose God's way and do what He asks me to       do.

I think what spoke to me most is number two.  I am still learning to be good with not being part of the crowd.  That sometimes means being the only one in the group to speak against a popular belief or stand and having everyone turn on you.  As long as I know that my source of Truth is the Bible, and therefore God Himself, my little shoulders suddenly grow very large, allowing me to handle the discomfort this brings on.  Actually, standing up for Truth, differentiating between right and wrong, good and bad, is a great feeling if you can get over yourself long enough to realize what you just did!

God wants to keep moving us to "higher ground" so that we can flourish and enjoy that abundant life that He so graciously offers us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too am learning to stand apart from the crowd and speaking up for what is true, good, and right.
Good post!