I want to share a portion of an email response I got from Monday’s devotional:
I just want you to know that I identify with your feelings. Several times over the past year, I have asked myself, “Why I am doing this? No one cares. No one has a real spiritual desire for God, so why am I working a full time job, raising a family, AND trying to be a pastor?” I have at times day-dreamed about having two-day weekends without Saturday sermon prep and the Sunday marathon. I have come very close to throwing in the hat. Yet, I have desperately tried to hear God’s voice, and it seems that this is where he would have me and my family for now. So, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, confident that God is doing things I cannot see. I believe that when he is finished with me in this role, he will move me on and give me rest. My prayer is that, in my obedience, he will do more than I will ever know.
There are so many men across America and the world for that matter, who are working behind the scenes for God’s kingdom. They get weary and discouraged. They are taken for granted and taken to the woodshed all too often by their parishioners. In many churches across America, the flock in no way deserves its shepherd. So in that we actually mirror the actual Flock and the Shepherd.
We in no way deserve Jesus and we too often take Him for granted. As Americans we have become want my brother in Christ David Triana has coined as MEricans. In other words, what’s in it for me. We do this with church the way we shop our membership around until we find just the right church that meets our needs without ever thinking to ask God, “Father, is this where you would have my family?”
How often do we even seek God’s voice? Let me ask you another question. I used the word “flock”; why? How is it that Jesus described us…as sheep. What do sheep do without a shepherd? They wander aimlessly. Is that you dear Christian? Are you just wandering day-by-day, doing the things MEricans do, living the “American Dream”, earning a dying, and going through the motions?
What is your purpose in life? It should be one thing only if you call yourself a Christian and that is to do God’s will for your life! If you don’t know what that is let me know and perhaps we’ll do a series on that. It’s not as difficult as one might think.
Back to the sheep, and more importantly, the Shepherd. Let’s read again for the first time from John 10. This chapter does not get preached on and taught enough except for verses 9-10. Now don’t get me wrong, I love those two verses, but whenever you can buy a verse or two as a refrigerator magnet or paper weight you can rest assured it’s probably been overused and misapplied. Let’s read the first five verses from John 10:
“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. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:1-5)
What is the key word in that verse in light of our subject this morning? It is not shepherd or sheep or doorkeeper for that matter. No, it’s not thief or robber, even though you may feel as though your joy has been stolen (another topic for another time). The key word is “voice.”
Beloved, first of all, if you have not surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot hear His voice. As an unbeliever you would never recognize it. As a believer who is “trying real hard” and unwilling to surrender to the Lordship of Christ, the cacophony of life is drowning out the Voice of God. If ever we should have a verse printed on or etched into something it is this verse:
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
Too many of us, me the worse of us, try to manufacture the movement of God. We try to move God’s hand instead of waiting on God to move. We try to initiate things and then get God’s blessing upon it after the fact. That is not how it works. Look at what David wrote as an encouragement to us when it comes to being confident in God:
“Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalm 62:1-2)
Oh, I cannot wait to share with all of you how the Holy Spirit has taught me this precious lesson! God has saved me; God is saving me; and God will save me! He has saved from the penalty of sin; He is saving me from the power of sin; and hallelujah He will one day save me from the presence of sin!
My dear brother whom I quote above wrote something else that I pray encourages you the way it encouraged me. He wrote “God will use it far more than you will ever know”, and that applies to all we do for the Kingdom of God.
So dear Christian, do not be discouraged. Follow the Good Shepherd’s voice through Bible study, meditation, prayer, and above all, obedience.
I too have desperately tried to hear God’s voice and in the last three months He has come through so clear and so lovingly. He will do that for each of us if we will just be still and know that He is God.
I pray you do so right now.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers