I recently visited my home town. I was surprised to discover how many old insecurities and biases floated up to the surface. I’ll admit that this stupid sheep was shocked and dismayed. Haven’t I outgrown all of this by now?
Upon reflection, this is what I was basing my confidence upon:
- “I am now older, wiser, and more sophisticated.”
- “I have been fairly successful as a mother and wife.”
- “I don’t look as bad as some of my classmates.”
- “I am a teacher and counselor so I must have my act together.”
I found myself thinking critical thoughts about everything. Why? Lack of humility.
- “I’m so glad that I don’t fall into this trap.”
- “How sad that this way of living seems superficial.”
- “What a waste!”
- “Those styles are so unflattering.”
My old insecurities whisper to me that I am a fraud that pretends to be impatient. I fear that if anyone truly knew how messed-up I am, I’d be disgraced and alone.
But, wait a minute. The Lord is my Shepherd and I am valuable to Him. “He make me lie down in green pastures” because I need to rest in Him and am to be truly free from fear.
I have observed that sheep are unable to lie down if they are frightened or upset. A good shepherd fights to protect the flock from mountain lions, bears, or other predators. How much more does our God fight with diligence to protect us. It takes confidence in the Good Shepherd to find rest.
Upon what do you base your confidence? Is it your looks? Your family? Your possessions? Without a shepherd, all sheep are destined to desperately wander. There is no rest and no restoration.
Even we, stupid sheep, would agree that arrogance is wrong and true humility is a virtue. But humility can not be attained when our confidence is in anything but the Good Shepherd!
- The source of true humility: I did nothing to become one of God’s sheep and did nothing to deserve His love and tender care.
- The source of true confidence: If the God of all creation was willing to fight to death in order to save His sheep, what does that reveal of our value? What did it cost God to love us? Infinite cost means we are infinitely valuable!
Great Shepherd of your sheep, lead us in experiencing this liberating balance in our lives.