Sheep are animals that have a natural instinct to follow. They will follow other sheep as well as their shepherd. Good sheep learn to follow the voice of only their shepherd. We, like sheep, need to learn to listen for and follow our Shepherd’s voice.
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” John 10:11. He proved His love for us by willingly dying on the cross. As the Good Shepherd, He leads us to the places He wants us to go. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are we good sheep?”
4 Ways to become good sheep.
Good sheep know their shepherd (John 10:14).
Sheep come to know their shepherd by spending a lot of time with him. Human sheep determine how much time they spend with the Shepherd. Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with each of us, but He will not force us to do so. He will continue to invite us with a still small voice, but He will not demand that we come. He is a gentle, loving Good Shepherd who patiently waits for us to come.
We are as close to the Shepherd as we want to be. If we want to be closer, we must decide to spend more time with Him. How much time do you spend with the Shepherd?
Good sheep will not follow a stranger (John 10:5).
A stranger is anyone whom we might follow other that Jesus. While we may follow others as they follow Jesus, we should never follow someone instead of following Jesus. Jesus is our only Shepherd. He is the only one who knows where we need to go.
Who do you follow? Many people, even Christians, look to others for leading. When they have a problem, they call their friends. They may look to counselors or self-help books to help them accomplish their goals. While these are not evil in and of their selves, they may lead us down the wrong path if we are not keeping a keen eye on our Shepherd.
Jesus has an individual plan for each of His sheep, and He is the only one that knows the best way to get us to accomplish His plan. Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the way of death.” If we are not carefully following the Shepherd, we may be walking down a path that leads to death: death of fellowship, death of growth, death of ministry.
Are you currently following your Shepherd?
Good sheep learn to hear the Shepherd’s voice (John 10:3).
As we spend time with someone, we learn their voice. We understand not only their words, but their inflection. We can picture their tone over text and their facial expression on the phone. Learning to hear the Shepherd’s voice comes through prayer and Bible study: more specifically, prayer while doing Bible study. As we read His word, we need to be asking Him, “What do you mean in this passage? What are you telling me? Which way should I go?”
The more time we spend with Him, the easier it will be for us to recognize His voice. Do you know the voice of your Shepherd?
Good sheep follow the Shepherd (John 10:27).
As we get to know our Shepherd and learn to recognize His voice, we will experience the desire to follow Him. Knowing Him teaches us that He is worthy to be followed. Learning His voice, teaches us how we are to follow. The Good Shepherd always knows the way we should go. “The Lord is my Shepherd… He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters… He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
The Good Shepherd always knows the best path to take. Many of us would like to take short cuts to our destination. However, a shortcuts rob us of the journey. We often learn valuable lessons as we walk the harder path. Our Shepherd molds our character as we follow Him. Then when we arrive at our destination, we are ready for the task He assigns. May we be willing to follow Him wherever He leads?
Following is walking in obedience. Obedience is essential to the victorious Christian life. Jesus does not give us the option to disobey. He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Our obedience proves our love for our Shepherd.
What kind of sheep are you?
1. Do you recognize God’s voice when He speaks to you?
2. Are following the ways of the world?
3. Do you regularly spend time with the Shepherd through prayer and Bible study?
4. Are you obedient to what He speaks to you through His word?
Dear Lord, teach me to be an attentive and obedient sheep.