My theology and my practical walk of faith tells me such thinking does not align well with the truth of the Scriptures but being strong-willed, I have often allowed this tension to create a measure of angst that I continue to learn simply isn't God's way.
As a 17-year-old kid, who didn't think he needed God in his life, I was one day ambushed by the grace and kindness of our Lord; it changed my life. When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved me , not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:4) I entered into a covenant relationship with God, who has faithfully led and directed my path. I have been the recipient of His unbounded grace! I know this, but it has taken years of sometimes struggling in my own strength to learn that I desperately need God's care and protection and leading in my life--I am still learning that I NEED a Shepherd to guide me.
David's words in Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd; familiar, simple, beautiful and incredibly profound continue to speak into my life in new and fresh ways. As we begin a series of messages on Psalm 23, I have been struck with the wonder of one simple word in the first line of this psalm, The Lord is MY shepherd.
I marvel to think that Yahweh, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, the all-wise, all-knowing, ever-present, faithful and loving God of the Bible is my Shepherd; He cares for me!
He walks with me through all the up's and downs of life, on the mountain top and in the valley, guiding my path; He watches over me and protects me. I am reminded that the one who invited me into this covenant relationship so many years ago, still desires to journey with me through this season, through all the remaining days of my life; that He is cheering me on, exhorting me to stay faithful and to finish well for His honor and glory.
As I think of where we are as a church and the opportunities before us to continue to spur one another on to love and good deeds and I wonder how might our lives be different if we simply abandoned ourselves to the care of our Shepherd; giving ourselves fully to Him and learning to rest completely in Him. Maybe I'm not the only one who is sometimes stubbornly independent, maybe I'm not the only one who needs to let go and allow my Shepherd to lead me to the green pastures and still waters, maybe I'm not the only one who needs a faithful Guide to walk with me, even through the valley of the shadow of death or in the presence of my enemies.
As we share this series together, may you find yourself allowing THE Shepherd to be your Shepherd; that you might know His goodness and love all the days of your life.