The Heart of a Shepherd
What a privilege it is to know that we have a Father in Heaven who is a compassionate God. He does not leave the lost wandering about nor does He allow us to lose our way. When we were in desperate need for saving, He sent His Son for us – to die on the cross. When He sees us struggling in life He is more than willing to be of help to us if we only ask Him. His eagerness to lead us is seen in His statements that even before we ask for a thing He knows that we need it. It is seen in His promises that He will give us the desires our hearts, that He will satisfy them with good things. He is God who owns all things, the Bible describes Him as the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills, as the Maker of all things. He is a generous God.
Jesus wants us to be like Him. To live a life of selflessness and generosity. He promises to lead us in this and provide even the things we desire to offer to those around us. We are called to be disciples of Jesus and to make Him more disciples. This means we are to be like Jesus so that more man will desire to be like Him.
God has created us unique. He has gifted us with different giftings so that we are able to do the things He sends us to do, so that we do them in excellence. He leads us to the people He wants us to impact by His wisdom. If we follow God closely we will realise that all He requires of us is to be there so that He can do the work. All the work has already been done by Him, what He needs is vessels to use. He needs us to be His hands and feet. He needs us to represent Him well. To represent Him well means we must embody Him and to embody Him means we must follow His pattern. Jesus was successful because He maintained relationship with God; He obeyed Him and denied Himself. He knew what God’s will was for Him. He followed that will and path and served others – the world.
Let us explore the three things Jesus did for success.
• He maintained relationship with God
“After Jesus said this, He looked toward Heaven and prayed. ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify You.’ ” John 17:1 (NIV)
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.” Matthew 4:2 (NIV)
A relationship with God can only be maintained through prayer. Prayer is the provision that Jesus made for us to be able to communicate with the Father. In prayer God is able to work in our lives, to change our hearts to be like His and learn to hear His voice for guidance.
• He obeyed God
” ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will , but yours be done.’ An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:42-44 (NIV)
“Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.” Matthew 3:13-15 (NIV)
We have not been tempted to give up on God and His will like Jesus has been. We have not seen the face of death before our very eyes and still prefer the will of God above ours. Jesus was tempted in every way possible. He was tempted to the point of sweating blood but He stood in obedience to God. God is able to do this for us. He is also able to sympathize with us. He felt every kind of pain and pressure but stood. He understands us and feels our pain and He is willing to assist us if we are willing to obey Him. We need to do God’s will His way and He is here to help us.
• He denied Himself in service to others
“Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 (NIV)
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom to many.” Matthew 20:28 (NIV)
Whatever life throws at us can never be enough to throw us off. We need to deny ourselves, move from that place of comfort and allow God to do as He wills with and in us.
How can we apply it
We must always ask ourselves if we portraying the hope that we are professing well; if we are following His example. If we are good disciples to Him so that we are able to bring more man to this pen of love He keeps us in.
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
Everything that we do needs to stem from and end with discipleship.
(For full lesson watch out for our upcoming book ACTS: The Good News About Christ)