I’ve been waiting to get to this verses that we are going to discuss today from the book of John. (It’s one of my favorite passages about being sheep lead by the Good Shepherd.)
We looked at John 10:11 a few days ago, so let’s back up to John 10:2-6.
2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees (side note: this is the group of people that spent all of their time trying to catch Jesus in a trap that would enable them to persecute him) He is using a parable of the gatekeeper, the shepherd and the sheep.
There is only one way to heaven and it is through Jesus. As the sheep (we, the followers of Christ) know when our Good Shepherd is talking to us and leading us. We listen because we know what we’re listening for.
I’ve seen a demonstration done that the only way to spot counterfeit money is to study the real thing so intensely that you will be able to spot what is true and what is fake immediately.
Otherwise from an initial glace or brief overview, they will look (and maybe even feel) like the same thing.
We can’t afford to be fooled by a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” or not be able to tell the difference between our shepherd and a stranger. Our entire lives and our well-being depend on knowing and listening to our shepherds voice.
The only way to do that is to familiarize ourselves with the truth, with who our Good Shepherd is and how He leads us.
In response to hearing a stranger’s voice we are not to entertain that voice, but rather, “run away”.
I can honestly say I don’t always do this. Even if I can tell that the voice I’m hearing isn’t from God or one that I shouldn’t be listening to, sometimes I will finish the thought just to see what it is.
Can you relate? You know that the voice you’re listening to is one that is negative and full of deception and lies, but yet you choose not to tune it out.
Yep, I said CHOOSE to tune it out, not CAN’T tune it out. We have the power to not entertain thoughts that are not from God. (It is easier said than done, but later on in the passage Jesus tells us why we should only listen to His voice and not the other voices)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
That’s what these “other thoughts” are going to lead to, stolen joy, death and destruction.
But following and responding to Jesus and His leading will lead to full (some translations even say “abundant” life)
Here’s the other thing about sheep, they aren’t the smartest animal ever. They can be easily pushed or lead astray if they are not focused on their shepherd.
We can also be easily misguided and lead astray if we’re not focused on our Good Shepherd.
Those rabbit trails in your mind, the ones that you explore or entertain (especially these days, because you have plenty of time to think being at home) many of these types of thoughts are not by accident or by chance, they have been planted there intentionally by our enemy who seeks to, “steal, kill, and destroy” you.
But the good news is we don’t have to listen to the “chatter” or “noise” because once we recognize these thoughts are not from God we are told to “resist the enemy and he will flee.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
As we learn to submit to God, to listen and obey our Good Shepherd, we learn to detect when we are being deceived and immediately resist the urge to finish that thought or let it play out.
Of course sometimes it isn’t until after we entertain the theory (or story) in our head that we recognize these thoughts are not from God. It isn’t too late, even then to stop the cycle and the pattern of letting your mind wander to dark places.
Resist the devil. Renew your mind. Return under the care of the good shepherd.
Oh and guess what? Our Shepherd doesn’t just make us find our way back to Him on our own, instead He calls to us until we answer Him and He guides us back home.
Tomorrow we’ll continue in John 10.
In what way can you stop “entertaining the thoughts or the rabbit trails in your mind?” How can you start to study the actual truth so that you will not be led stray by what is counterfeit?
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands. Psalm 119:176
Side note: It’s not too late to catch my message on When Your Way and God’s Don’t Match on youtube tonight at 8:00PM EST. Here is the link again. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJSb3Q8Gte7RMTkP7ZflF9g