The road was elevated considerably and cut through the rugged terrain like a ribbon of gray across black velvet. The shepherd walked the path, his senses aware of the groans and cries wafting on the fog from souls lost in the darkness on either side. As hands and arms began to appear, breaching the jagged edges of the lane, the shepherd moved to rescue them, to lift them onto this road of freedom. But as he did, his sheep suddenly surrounded him, bleating and pressing so forcefully that he could no longer get to the Distressed. Repeatedly this happened, until my father awoke from his dream. A sense of urgency followed him for days, that God was stirring him to invite the saints to a higher level of maturity.
Matthew records a day when the crowds pressed around Jesus so strongly that He commanded His disciples to move to the other side of the lake. A teacher of religious law said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” Another disciple said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”
These are words from Jesus that are not commonly quoted these days, because they demand a commitment, a sacrificial commitment. His statements to these men are not laced with sensitivity, and especially not political correctness. They are spoken in love, but to the point. If you’re going to follow Me, I need commitment from you. Because, once you start the journey, your life becomes about My heart and My Father’s kingdom. I am inviting you into partnership with Me; let’s change this world together. I will give you My power and my grace, but I need your full engagement.
God saves us from our sins because He loves us, but then He invites us into His kingdom plan for saving lives from hell. Our own salvation happens in the moment we believe in Him, but we then embark on this sometimes-tedious trek of sanctification, which is simply the process of letting the Holy Spirit free us from our yesterdays and reform us into the image of our Savior – emotionally, philosophically, and willfully. At this point, we must decide to not be pampered. We will be honest with our brothers and sisters when we are struggling or hurting, but always with the intention of evolving into a stronger warrior, never settling for a victim mentality that relegates us to a status of perpetual coddling.
As Paul wrote, we are not our own anymore; we are His. We must therefore glorify Jesus in our bodies and spirits, which belong to Him. Today, I ask my Heavenly Father to steel me for the calling at hand, to not let me become a sheep that blocks the shepherds from reaching new souls. I pray He will help me graduate from milk to meat so that I may become a teacher of these reformational principles of grace, love, faith, and holiness. I receive His free salvation and I accept my responsibility to ride herd on my heart, to do the things daily that keep me moving forward – praying, reading His Word, listening to His voice, and obediently loving my fellow man as I love myself.
I am a sheep on assignment. He has called me and chosen me; now I will be faithful.I will help my Shepherd build this Kingdom, lifting souls from darkness to the Light.