Watch out for the sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. John 10:1
I’m going to take this passage quite literally, so I hope you will be able to follow. Have you ever gotten to school or work late and tried to sneak in through a side door so you would not be noticed? What about running out to the store but avoiding the main aisles because you are in a hurry and do not want to see people. Maybe, you passed by someone needing help on the side of the road because you didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Could those scenarios count as stealing? Stealing time or opportunities?
Today’s verse talks about a thief trying to get in to the sheep without being noticed so he can either steal some or cause problems. It is definitely not the same as avoiding people, but what if we took this a step further. What about those who are on the inside that are not looking out for the robber when He breaks in? Shouldn’t we take some responsibility to keep the flock close to the Shepherd to keep them from being devoured by the enemy?
This passage goes on to say that when you are one of His, you will know the Shepherd so well, that when He speaks, you are hanging on every word. It also says that when another voice tries to call you away, you will not follow because you know that it is not your Shepherd’s voice.
So many parallels in life in this passage. First of all, we know the thief, or the one sneaking around to make trouble is our enemy, Satan. We can also consider those who try to pull us away from the purpose that God has for your life a burglar, too? Certainly, any person or activity that creeps into your life to steal your time and ministry is considered an enemy and not the true Shepherd.
Going back to the ideas at the beginning of avoiding people, could also be considered missed opportunities that the enemy is orchestrating? We know he wants to fill your life up with distractions and preoccupations. How many diversions are in your life even right now.
What about those of us on the inside that are close to the shepherd? Do we stay so close that we are not even aware that some of His sheep are suffering at the hand of His enemy? How can we be better at keeping watch and help others stay accountable so they remain enclosed and protected by the Shepheard and the flock?
One way is to stop avoiding people. Go out of your way for the little person. Watch for those hurting and lost along the way. Even those who are not in the flock (church) right now are just lost ones who can’t find their way because they have been blinded. Walk along side those who are fallen and struggling to get back on their feet again. Bring people with you to the good Shepherd when you pray and when you hear His calling. Don’t let the distractions of life and the hurry of schedule keep you from being the hands and feet of the Shepherd to bring the forgotten ones in to Him.
Today I want to encourage you to be on guard for the things and activities that the enemy would distract your with. Clean out the distractions of this world that are not absolutely necessary for you to be involved in. Follow the voice of your Shepherd and step into the purpose that you were designed for as part of His flock. Then start reaching out to others that have been deceived and lured away from the call. If you have never given your life to the good Shepherd, Jesus, do that today. Invite Him into your heart and ask His Spirit to lead you out of the pits and traps you have been snared in. He will come close and save you and deliver you from everything that holds you. Pray this prayer today and receive Him as your own Savior:
God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior. I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me. Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new today. I know Your Son, Jesus died for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward. I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in the blood of Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to accomplish the things You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen
Today’s scripture reading: John 10:1-6
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.