Following the Good Shepherd

Following the Good Shepherd


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:1 

Psalm 23 has been following me all year.

Seriously, it's been everywhere I am - devotionals I read, books I am reading, Bible Studies I've done, podcasts I listen to, and now a 5 part sermon series at the new church God led us to.

Obviously, God has something to teach me about Him being the Good Shepherd, and I know why. I have not always been a good follower. As a natural-born leader and planner, I have a tendency to try and lead out my life, asking God to bless my plan rather than let Him led out the plan. Especially the details of the plan. I am also a doer. Lie down in green pastures? Hardly. Resting has always been a struggle for me.

But God has been doing major heart work in me chasing me around with this beautiful psalm. He has been teaching me how a leader and planner becomes a follower. She makes following part of the plan.

Really. I think that planners and doers get a bad rap in Christendom unnecessarily. Maybe God made us doers? It stands to reason that He needs people to get things done. After all, we are His hands and feet on Earth. But the key to doing and following is we must be doing things that are about our Father's business (Luke 2:49.)

This was Jesus's outlook on getting stuff done. If it was His Father's will, he did it. He talked to God about the plan and then made it happen.

Listen to this story Mark tells in his gospel account:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” Mark 1:35-38

Jesus was on a mission. He knew why He came, but the details of everyday were something He let His father lead Him into.

Here we find Jesus having been baptized, tested in the wilderness, called His first disciples, taught with authority, and performed some miracles. News about Him has spread all over Galilee, and now everyone, especially the disciples have plans for what He should do next.

But Jesus knows who the true Shepherd is so He gets up before everyone else and sneaks away to spend time in prayer with His Father. He comes back with instructions on His next steps - to go into other towns to share the good news of the Kingdom. Mind you, these are not logical steps. He had already gained notoriety in Galilee. It would be easier to stay. But that is not the Fathers plan, and Jesus only does what He the Father does.

He even tells the religious leaders this when they are persecuting Him for healing a man on the Sabbath.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  John 5:19

Jesus followed God in everything He did and became our Good Shepherd so we can follow Him. Listen to what He tells us:

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. John 10:13-16. 

He laid His life down so we could have His Spirit in us to lead us. The Spirit guides us on paths of righteousness for His name's sake, but we must listen (Psalm 23:3.)

Could it be that we, like Jesus, need to pray and hear from the Father what plans He wants us to join Him in? Yes. After all, the Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1).

Live it out: 

I started living this out a few years ago, and have slowly added everything I do, all my roles to a prayer and planning session on Sunday mornings (before church and sometimes finishing up in the evenings.) Here are the questions I ask and things I review each week to get me prepared to hear from God.

Where did I see God working in my life this week? Answered prayers?

What did I learn about God this week? (a review of Know God's Heart - see blog a few weeks ago).

Where do I see the Lord transforming me to be more like Christ?

Then I sit in prayer and ask God - What do you want me to focus on this week (sometimes 1 or 2 areas, and sometimes one for each area God has me in.)

Then I ask God to speak to me any words I need to meditate on for the week. This usually is a scripture, or some personalization of His Word that goes with the focus.

I challenge you this week to let God lead you. Maybe it is not a full-on prayer and planning meeting. Maybe you start by asking God what one thing He wants you to do or know today, each day.

Let's Pray: 

Father, you are the Good Shepherd. You are the one who leads us to everything we need. Even the things we don't know we need, but you do. Help us to learn to seek you and hear you. Then help us to follow in obedience believing that you are good and have good planned for us. In Jesus's name, Amen.

Let me know! 

Where do you struggle the most in following God?

Help us Keep Going & Growing! 

I love serving you by sharing all the things that God is teaching me. And I would love to serve more people. But there is a cost to keeping up a website and blog. Would you consider a gift to keep Breaking Free ministries going and growing?


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Micah Ruth

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