In my devotional time this morning I read several verses about the human race being God’s sheep. It struck me that I had experience with sheep when I was in 4-H as a teenager. I never had given much thought to my many adventures with my three sheep I tended to-Blossom, John Eric and J.B.(don’t ask about the names I have my crazy teenage reasons).
When we got our sheep every year it was our responsibility to feed it, keep it clean and then walk it. I dreaded all of these chores but walking the sheep most of all. They could be so stubborn. Many times I would literally be pulling my sheep around the yard. But, by the time the fair rolled around my sheep were usually in good shape and could easily be lead with out a leash. You see to lead a sheep you actually stoop down and hold their chin(do they have a chin?) in your hand. If they decide to be stubborn you give them a little pinch in the butt and they get going again.
Another chore that needed to be done before the fair was having the sheep sheared. That was not a fun task either. I had to help the shearer hold the sheep down while all the old, nasty wool came off. The sheep did not like this, they didn’t want to be held down. But once the task was done they looked much better, cleaner, and I am sure they were much cooler.
When you get to the fair you have to show your sheep and they get judged. So you want your sheep to look its best, so you give it is little shower and do you know what we used to get that pure white look? Wool-lite. The dirt ran down the sides of that sheep and then he or she would be white as snow-for awhile.
Then came judgment time. Everyone was hoping their sheep would be the “grand champion” then you could make lots of money when it came auction time. You would guide your sheep out into the ring, pinching as necessary. When the judge came around to feel the muscle quality of your sheep you would put your knee into the sheep’s chest so those muscles would firm up, that was the best way to show off your sheep’s muscle tone, how strong he or she was.
As I pondered this process I realized how much our life with Jesus really is like a shepherd and his sheep. Now, I was no shepherd, I definitely would not want to take care of a HERD of sheep, but I knew the responsibility of taking care of one, and that has taught me a big lesson.
We start out not wanting anything to do with Jesus, we don’t want to go where he is taking us, even though the journey is good for us, we stubbornly dig in our heels. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us. He knows we have a bunch of yucky, nasty stuff to get rid of and we might kick and scream but He will cut all of that out of our lives (the shearing). When He is done we wonder why did fight so much, we do feel better and look better too.
After months of lovingly and patiently coaxing us to walk freely, we finally allow him to stoop down beside and lift up our chins with is nail scared hands and we walk. We still have times that we might get stubborn, but He no longer needs to pull us, we just need a little pinch and we will get moving again.
Then comes the real cleaning. This is no temporary cleaning, this is no Wool-lite. No, He washes us with his blood. Our sin runs down our sides and onto the ground. We can’t believe how good we look, how clean. We sometimes even wonder, will I get all dirty again? Will I become like I use to be? And although we will still sin His blood is stain proof and it just rolls right off of us and we remain spotless. We are amazed.
What about that knee in the chest? How does that fit into the picture? When we have the Holy spirit in our soul, our chest, we are ready to show the world our best, our best is Jesus. It might be uncomfortable at times, that Holy spirit loving guiding us, pushing us to take risks. But it is also a source of comfort knowing the Spirit is there to guide us and always has our best interest at heart. When the Judge comes-God, He will see that knee in our chest and know that we are His and we are showing him our best.
I had never given any of this much thought, but now it makes so much sense. We really are sheep and Jesus is the Master shepherd. I hope I feel that knee in my chest a little more often.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me..” John 10:14 NLT