“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NAS95)
This passage has resurfaced again and again in my heart and mind since studying it in college. My prayer is that God will use this blog to stir up devotion in your heart in the same way (or in even greater ways).
First of all, you can find great security in John 10. Christ has called you by name, and you have heard Him, if you've placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. It is then that you have entered by the door, who is Jesus, and you know that you are saved (John 10:9). He assures you that absolutely no one can snatch you out of His hand (John 10:28-29).
The sheep does not decide who is to be its shepherd. In like manner, what have you done in order to be his sheep? He has brought you into His flock, and nothing will ever change your position in Him. “The LORD is my shepherd.” (Psalms 23:1 NAS95)
Sadly, at times, you may find yourself in a season of wandering. Sheep wander from the flock. Sometimes we may not be a very committed follower of Christ, being driven by worldly desires and passions. Maybe you have not been content and have found yourself alone and lost. But Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one which is lost until he finds it (Luke 15:4). Yet the truth of the matter is much greater than this earthly example, for the Good Shepherd always knows where his sheep are, even in their wanderings. “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalms 23:6 NAS95) Picture a shepherd who is just out of sight, keeping an eye on his little wandering lamb. He is waiting and watching, keeping the lamb safe even though the lamb does not know it. Finally, the lamb will give up its hunt for whatever thing it was seeking, and begin to lift up its head, looking back towards its Caregiver. It is then that the shepherd steps out in the open, when the lamb begins seeking the true care of its shepherd. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NAS95)
You must seek Him with all your heart. Why do you seek that which does not have any value? “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 NAS95) Christ said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 NAS95) Do you believe this is true?
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6–8 NAS95) Cry out to God, that this verse may reflect your life: “I shall not want.” (Psalms 23:1 NAS95)
Trust, you must trust, that your Shepherd is the Good Shepherd. He will discipline you and teach you to abide. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4 NAS95) God is speaking this wisdom into your life: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6 NAS95) Have you been trying to understand things which are too lofty for you rather than seeking and trusting Him with your whole heart. He’s waiting just out of sight. When you turn, He will be there. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psalms 23:2–3 NAS95)
Whatever may come and whatever road you take, know that the Good Shepherd laid down His life for you. He cares for you that much! The hired hand runs; the Good Shepherd fights. He will never leave you nor forsake you. It is He who has conquered sin, even your sin. It is He who has conquered death. “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17–18 NAS95) This is your hope which does not disappoint, the resurrection. So whether you learn how to be a fruitful and faithful servant or not, whether you win some battles or not, the war has long been decided. Sin and death are under the Good Shepherd’s feet. This is why you do not give up. This is why you press on. For the Lord, your God, is your Good Shepherd, and He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies; He has anointed your head with oil; your cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow you all the days of your life, And you will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalms 23:5–6 NAS95).
Recently I had a unique day off. See often my days off are spent fixing things around the home, or running errands, or something else (sound familiar?). This was different. It was me and a “nothing-to-do Friday”. Ever had one of those?
Some may say, “Watch out here comes boredom-ville straight ahead", but I saw a unique opportunity for something special. It was a day of Me and Jesus. Not for just an hour at devotions, but continual resting and just enjoying Him. Not asking for deep needs, or bringing out my prayer list, it was just a time to listen and praise and thank Him for being who He is.
See, the Bible tells me that God knows what I need of before I even ask (Matthew 6:8). Yes, He wants to hear my voice in prayer, and yes He is concerned with what concerns me (Ps. 138:8). But I am learning that the greatest aspect of prayer is not my communication to Him, but my communion with Him. To just be WITH my Lord, listening to His sweet voice, resting in His big plans, and not expecting anything “earthly” from Him. It’s being caught up into the heavenlies, where everything on earth fades away. It’s realizing that heaven is where my heart is and it is really right around the corner! Ever been there?
The door is always open, and the Spirit says, “Come”. Make some time soon to just be WITH your LORD and enjoy Jesus for who He is!
Pastor Jesse Claycamp
Words of encouragement from the leadership at Calvary North.