All we as sheep
My last blog post was about the Lord being our Shepherd. Now, I want to look at how we as sheep are to relate with our Shepherd and also with other sheep in order to thrive. Let’s see some interesting facts about sheep.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
(Psalm 100:3 NLT)
1. Sheep are flock animals and strongly gregarious (tending to form a group with others of the same species). All sheep have a tendency to congregate close to other members of a flock and sheep can become stressed when separated from their flock members.
As Christians, we’re not meant to live isolated from other Christians. We do best and thrive when we are in community.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)
2. Sight is a vital part of sheep communication, and when grazing, they maintain visual contact with each other. Each sheep lifts its head upwards to check the position of other sheep in the flock. This constant monitoring is probably what keeps the sheep in a flock as they move along grazing.
As sheep in a flock, we should look out for our fellow sheep. While we must run our individual races on the tracks God has laid out for us (Hebrews 12:1), we’re meant to be checking on our fellow runners, as it were. While in an earthly race, the runners are competing against each other to win one prize, the Christian race has a prize awaiting each runner which differs only based on the quality of our run – how we ran. This means that in our own spiritual race, we can all win gold medals. So we can run a good race while helping and encouraging others to run their own race well so as many as possible can win their gold.
Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.
(Philippians 2:4 ERV)
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
This looking out for one another includes observing and acting when a brother or sister in Christ is discouraged, in need (James 2:15-18; 1 John 17-18) or sins (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
3. In a flock of grazing sheep there is little or no sign of dominance.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:21 NIV)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:27-28 ESV)
Having looked at how sheep behave towards one another, let’s now focus on how sheep relate with their shepherd.
Chapter 10 of the gospel of John speaks a lot about the relationship between Jesus, our Shepherd, and we, His sheep.
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 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. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
(John 10:2-5 NIV)
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Sheep follow their shepherd because they trust him and they trust him because they know him. The basis of their following Him is their knowledge of Him. Now, this knowledge is not theoretical knowledge but experiential. The shepherd interacts closely with his sheep, knowing them individually. There is constant relation with one another such that they become familiar with his voice.
I watched a short video which demonstrated how sheep will only respond to their shepherd’s voice. You can watch it here.
As we relate more and more with our Shepherd through reading and thinking (meditating) on His written word and through communing and communicating with Him in prayer, His voice becomes more familiar to us. We then find it easier to submit to His leading because we know and trust Him.