You should know that I’m a bit of a mess.
I’m a try-hard girl who values efficiency, productivity, and performance. I struggle with perfectionism and ascribing my value to how much I achieve. The list could go on and on…
But there’s one more thing you should know about me, something that pains me to admit:
I’m a sheep.
I know that I’m a sheep because David, a shepherd himself, wrote that the Lord is our shepherd. (Psalm 23:1).
If God is our Shepherd, we are His sheep.
While the Bible continuously calls us sheep, I prefer to be a shepherd. I like leading, making decisions, and moving on with life.
Now there is nothing wrong with leading.
But when it comes to God, I am always the sheep and He’s always the Shepherd.
Never the other way around.
3 Things Jesus the Good Shepherd does for us:
Our Good Shepherd gives us rest.
He makes us lie down so we can rest. From what do we need to rest?
We are exhausted trying to fulfill our unreasonable expectations, from doing all the things because of our overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and from our desire to do more and try harder. If the pace of our life does not allow for rest, we aren’t being led by our Shepherd who loves us.
Our Good Shepherd is the one with the light yoke. He takes our exhaustion and replaces it with ease. When we lean on ourselves, we bear too much weight. So what does He do? He invites us to lean on Him, the Rock, because the Rock can bear the weight of all we are.
Our Good Shepherd restores us.
God speaks of restoration because our souls can become hurt and damaged. Only broken things need to be restored.
God — not willpower or time — can heal the hurt caused by our feeling of never-enough-ness, our messy past that won’t let go, and our pace that prevents us from being present. Jesus wants to take our broken pieces and restore them, but we must hand them to Him first. We live and move and breathe because God is always with us, and He’s healing us one layer at a time.
We are not responsible and cannot possibly restore ourselves because, you know, we’re sheep.
Our Heavenly Father has rescued us, and it’s time we start living in light of that truth.
The Good Shepherd reigns and rules.
Our Shepherd can see all things, which makes Him the ideal leader for us shortsighted sheep. Jesus sees all of His Great Big Story and knows our place in it.
The purpose of our good and sovereign Shepherd can never be derailed.
As a sheep who wants to be a shepherd, I can often do what seems right to me and follow my own agenda. I make a plan and then invite Jesus to come along, as if a shepherd would ever follow a sheep. I get caught up in busyness and ignore God’s voice. Yet, when I obey the voice of my Good Shepherd, I have clear instructions on what to do and how to act so there’s no confusion, no hurried pace, and no hassled heart.
Christ is sovereign and unconditionally loves us, which is why He laid down His life for His sheep.
How do we know that God is actually the Good Shepherd? As John recorded Jesus’ words in John 10:11, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
I’m a bit of a mess, and I’m guessing you are too. Here’s what’s crazy to me: despite our mess and because of it, Jesus rescued us. He knows that we don’t have it all together, knows that we are prone to wander, knows that we are prone to leave the God we love.
And He laid down His life for us anyway.
Let us remember this season that Christ is the One who took our sin, endured the cross, and sits at the right hand of God.
He is grace and truth and salt and light. He’s the One who was, who is, and who is to come. He’s the One in whom, through whom, and by whom all things are held together.
This is our Good Shepherd, the One who came to rescue messy sheep like us.
For a free printable of Psalm 23:1, go here!
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace for the try-hard girl. She loves her people, books, podcasts, and sprinkles. Jill grew up in the suburbs of Houston, graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, and has had a crazy-awesome career. She’s worked in professional sports with the Houston Astros Baseball Club, higher education at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, trucking with ABF Freight, health care at Mercy, church ministry at her home church, and now she writes words on the Internet!
Jill married her high school sweetheart Ryan in 1999. They have two daughters born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand and earbuds in her ears listening to one of many podcasts that she follows. She starts and ends every day with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.