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GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT, it’s an easy thing to say but it is entirely different to live out on a daily basis. We say that we pray and have faith in God but over and over again we seem to either grow impatient or deep down we believe that God won’t actually listen to our prayers. It feels as if our heart has outsourced God’s power, rulership, authority and holiness and replaced it with our own. This is especially true if you have had several prayers which have gone unanswered.
Have you ever wondered why some believers have a harder time trusting God for great things to happen? It’s not because of “backsliding” or sin, or unbelief but it is because they have over and over again faced this fork in the road and chosen the wrong path. The crossroads between what God wants and what we want. I’m not picking on certain believers, but this applies to all of us, myself included.
There are times when God moves mightily and then there are other times where it feels like He took a vacation in the Andromeda galaxy right when we needed Him the most. How we respond in each of those situations will determine how our heart reacts the next time there is a need for prayer.
Our Source of Strength
We can either look to our own strength or the strength of others to help and guide us or we can put our trust and obedience in God. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t ask for help in times of need but I am encouraging you to look inside yourself and see who your faith is in. Is it in a person, a group, a thing or even yourself instead of God? Jesus once told a parable about building a house either on sand or on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27) and the same principle applies to us here.
If your foundation is built on God and His rightful place in not just the universe as a whole but your own heart then you with withstand the storms of life. If however you have set yourself above God in your thoughts, actions, prayers or in any other way you will either find your house toppled over or you will slowly sink down in the sand until there is nothing left of you for anyone else to see.
We picture ourselves with rippling muscles moving whatever stands in our way but in reality from God’s perspective we are just silly sheep bashing our heads into a log.
A great test to see where your heart comes in this question: Do you even bother to pray in your daily lives when there isn’t even a crisis? This matter is critical, and not just because of some religious obligation but because of relationship. Without relationship we are just treating God like a genie or as a vending machine that is supposed to spit out whatever we ask for as long as we drop in a few quarters or our tithes. When we think and act like this God is no longer God in our hearts, but merely our servant.
Look at what it says in Psalm 100:2-3 “…Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (NKJV) Notice here that it doesn’t say come to God with your shopping list, or a work order we are to come before Him in joy. Not the joy we experience when we get what we want on Christmas morning, but something deeper and more wonderful.
I can do baaaaatter
Throughout the scriptures we are faced with this truth of God being the high and mighty one while we are the equivalent of sheep (Psalm 95:7, Isaiah 40:10-11). We at face value might be a little offended by that, sheep are not known for being the smartest of animals. They get stuck in ruts, overgraze if left alone, go on mad stampedes, drink tainted water if not forced to good streams and so on. Being called a sheep would be considered an insult to many and even in our culture someone who is seen as being a blind follower is often referred to as a mindless sheep. (For an in-depth and life changing view on this subject check out “A Shepherd Looks at Psalms 23” by W. Philip Keller. Click here: US Canada)
What we need here is perspective, when we compare ourselves to a sheep we hold up our intelligence, creativity, technology and ability to express and go “ha take that sheep, now into the oven with you.” We see ourselves high and above those natural sheep because in our world there is nothing higher than mankind. But now let’s flip the perspective lets compare ourselves to God, if we hold ourselves up against Him it is not wonder why God’s favorite nickname for people is sheep.
We are no where near as intelligent, powerful, caring, wise or highly exalted as God is. Compared to Him we are nothing more than dumb and stubborn sheep, who need constant guidance and supervision, so we don’t drink poison, fall off a cliff, get turned upside down or die of starvation because we ate all the grass and are too lazy to move on. If a sheep ran into an obstacle on the path do you expect it to muster the other sheep together so they can all lift it out of the way?
No, that would be ridiculous to expect, so why is it we think the same way about ourselves. We see obstacles in our lives and have these thoughts that we can just go over there and pick up the log or rock and hurl it out of the way. We picture ourselves with rippling muscles moving whatever stands in our way but in reality from God’s perspective we are just silly sheep bashing our heads into the log.
Jesus the sheep herder
Our help and redemption though comes from Jesus who said in John 10:14-16 “14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (NKJV) Jesus is the one who can come and move those logs and obstacles from our lives, well as long as we are on His path and not some dark forest trail we ran off into.
Jesus through his love and compassion sees us as these loveable, stubborn, and helpless sheep and He offers us the opportunity to join His flock and to be under His protection (Mark 6:34). No longer than are we to act as if we are king of the sheep or can we convince a fellow sheep bring over a trench coat and stand on our shoulders so we appear to be like the shepherd. No, no matter how hard we try to live our lives as the one in charge, or how cleverly we pray, or how independent of God we consider ourselves to be it will never change what we are.
We are created in God’s image but we are not independent from Him, we are not gods, or not the rulers of the universe, but we are children of God adopted into the family because of the sacrifice of the good and great Shepherd. When we follow (2 Peter 2:25) and depend on Him everything changes, yes there are still bad days, loss, pain but we know that we are following Him on a path which leads to better things. We are no longer alone, and we are no longer trying to solve God problems with the methods of a sheep.
John 10:14-16 “14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (NKJV)
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Outsourcing God: How Good Sheep Get Lost by Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.