One thing I love about the teaching of Jesus is His use of metaphors and stories. In John 10, Jesus states that He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:10), and He compares us to sheep.
As I've been thinking about sheep, I discovered some random facts about them that help me understand why Jesus used them to describe us as humans.
Did you know that sheep are fearful and easily panicked? Who knew? No wonder Jesus used them to describe us! In our humanity, most of us are fearful. In fact, that is the No. 1 concern I hear from women and men as I travel the world. If panicked, an entire bunch of sheep is easily prodded into a stampede. They have a mob mentality.
When sheep know the shepherd's voice, his voice calms their fears and settles their panic. This is why Jesus said, "The sheep follow him, for they know his voice" (John 10:4).
Did you know that sheep get jealous easily and push for dominance? Sound familiar? Maybe this hits too close to home, but it's so easy for us to become envious of others, isn't it? This is the emotion behind the cry "That's not fair!" Our human tendency is to want life to be fair. If our friend has a beautiful home, we want one too. If our co-worker gets a raise, we want an increase as well. Here's the thing: According to the parable of the vineyard, (Matt. 20:1-16) our Christian walk was never meant to be "fair." If it was fair, we would all deserve hell, right? Praise God that isn't the case.
One of the most convicting stories of Scripture happens when Jesus sits on the beach with His disciples after His resurrection (John 21:15-22). After He recommissions Peter, He tells Peter how he will die. Peter looks at his friend John and wonders if his death will be easier—he blurts out to Jesus, "What about him?" Jesus replies, "If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:23c). Ouch! I love this story because it reminds me that I must never sink to comparing my life to another. In Jesus' kingdom, life may not seem fair, but it is good. Our quest for fairness will rob us of the abundant life Jesus promised His sheep (John 10:10).
Did you know that sheep are creatures of habit, and they are resistant to change? Many of us are creatures of habit as well. When God calls us to shift our thinking or embrace change, we panic or pout. As our good shepherd, Jesus knows if we are going to live life to the fullest we must keep being transformed. The truth is we can't be transformed without change.
Friend, understanding out similarities to sheep can help us focus on the good Shepherd and learn to trust Him more fully. As our good Shepherd, Jesus lay down His life for us. He's thoroughly committed to us. He loves us completely. We can trust Him to lead us and protect us through every changing season.
Why not take a few quiet moments and read through John 10:1-18? Make a list of the character traits of Jesus as your good Shepherd. Then spend some time praising Him that He loves you completely and that you can trust Him.
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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