Life under the Good Shepherd
by Skip Heitzig | May 22, 2018
Sheep are not the smartest creatures around. In fact, they're pretty dumb. So the fact that the Bible often calls you a sheep could very well be a put-down--but I see it as a compliment. I think David was bragging when he said, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). In other words, "I have it good, because I have a Good Shepherd."
It's this Good Shepherd that John 10 speaks of. In speaking of the sheep--you and me--Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (v. 10), or to the max, turned up to ten.
Notice the contrast: the thief wants to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the hilt. What a contrast. You've no doubt heard it said that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. But you need to hear the other side of the coin: Satan hates you and has a miserable plan for your life.
So if you want to be a happy sheep, learn to say no to the one who's trying to steal, kill, and destroy you. Yeah, it can be hard and painful. But you can either have temporary pleasure now and long-term pain later or temporary pain now and long-term satisfaction that lasts into eternity.
In all my years of doing ministry, I haven't met one person who said at the end of their life, "I wish I would have sinned more." I've met plenty of people who regretted that they hadn't walked with the Lord longer. Say no to the thief's ploys and yes to Jesus, who is doing everything He can to give you abundant life.
Does that describe your life--abundance? That doesn't mean everything's perfect or you have everything you want materially, but is your life abundant? Jesus didn't say He came to give you a bummer life, though I know plenty of people who think that's what Jesus will do. I remember telling my English friend Tony that I would say no to some of the things he did and yes to Jesus. And he said, "Why would you do that? I'm having all the fun." I said, "Tony, you don't know what fun is. You've been eating TV dinners all your life, but I'm over here with steak and lobster. Jesus has abundant life--you just haven't tasted it yet."
Is there abundance? As Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
Maybe that doesn't describe your life. Maybe you've committed yourself to God, but you've gotten distracted by the cares of this world. Return today to the Good Shepherd and say, "Lord, lead me; direct me. You know where the best pasture is. You know where the refreshing springs lie. I can't see where this path goes, but You know where You're leading me. So I choose to live by faith, not by sight. I depend on You and trust You for the satisfying, abundant life only You can give."