daily devotional

Living with yourself is sometimes frustrating. You kinda screw this thing up a lot, don’t you? It’s as if the “do good” button in you is broken and you can’t get it fixed. You do good, until you don’t … then you’re back on the struggle bus where you have an assigned seat. Were you created to always struggle? Were you designed to fail? Are you destined for this continual up and down, in and out, doing good/then stuck again routine for all your days?

No honey, you’re just created to need Jesus. You’re designed to follow him. You’re destined to a relationship with the one who can guide you exactly where you need to go.

Have you seen the video titled “My walk with Jesus, summarized”? I’ve watched this video on repeat now for the past day and I can’t get enough of it. It’s hilarious and it’s painfully true at the same time. Just in case you haven’t seen it let me explain. Along a dirt road, there’s a long, narrow ditch dug out. In the ditch is a sheep stuck head first. A young man comes and pulls on the sheep’s leg to free him from the ditch. The sheep stands up, shakes off the dirt, and joyfully jumps and runs with the expression, ‘yahoooo, I’ve been saved.’ Exactly 4 seconds later, with one valiant leap, it lands itself squarely back into the same ditch. Head first, feet up, stuck again.

Yip, that’s me. Is that you? In need of continual rescue. Always getting ourselves stuck in something. Like I said, it’s exhausting living with our own selves sometimes. Didn’t we just get out of the last mess? Didn’t God just rescue us from our last fiasco, now we’re in one again? Seems to me like at some point God’s gonna get tired of pulling us out every 4 seconds from our ditch diving.

But this is why we have a Shepherd. Jesus said in John 10: 14-15 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”

We aren’t left alone to wander through our lives. We don’t have to figure this out on our own, which is really good news because if you’re like me, you still haven’t figured it all out. Guess what … you never will! You’re not supposed to know! Isn’t that reassuring! You’re not inherently broken with a messed up compass, you’re divinely designed to need a shepherd. Sheep don’t live without a guide, neither do you. Your guide is always with you. You are never alone. He knows the way and all you have to do is continually stay close to him.

The Shepherd goes before the sheep to make a way for them. He ensures the path is safe, the way is clear, the enemies are removed. Just imagine a shepherd removing briars that would entangle the sheep. See him staring at the cliff knowing the sheep would surely stumble and fall, so he makes a path where it is safe instead. Envision him leading the sheep down that path, continually looking back to make sure all are staying close to him because he knows the dangers nearby. He knows how they could get stuck. He knows how they could fall. But he makes a way by going ahead of them, then calls them on behind him.

Look around sis … are you following Jesus, or have you wandered off into dangerous territory on your own? Did you pray about this before you stepped into it? Did you seek his guidance before you took that leap? Or are you like that sheep in the video who takes his leap of freedom right back in the same darn ditch where he was stuck before?

Jesus, come save me! Get me outta here. I’m stuck again. And …. here comes Jesus. Now sweet sheep, stay with me this time.

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Oh girls, God doesn’t find fault in us continually lacking wisdom. He doesn’t shame us for not knowing what to do. He’s not shaking his head at his wandering girls who get themselves into some real pickles. He simply says, ‘ask me for wisdom and I will generously give it to you.’ He says ‘I will show you the way, even though you wandered off last time. I will happily come pull you out of that ditch, although I just pulled you out of the same ditch 4 seconds ago. I will lovingly guide you once again because you’re just doing what sheep do, and I’m here to do what Shepherds do.’

Ahhhhhh, isn’t that reassuring. Cuddle up to your Shepherd today. He’s got you! It’s not a chore or a hassle for him to be with you. It’s his greatest desire to be close to you. It’s his passion to guide you. It’s his honor to give you wisdom. All you have to do is ask.

Shepherds protect their sheep because they are vulnerable prey. David was first a shepherd boy before he battled Goliath. He recounts what prepared him for battle was his fight with lions who attacked his sheep. Lions. Yes, lions eat sheep. We were warned about the enemy who prowls around like a lion, looking to devour. That is real today. The enemy is relentless. He always lurks in the darkness, he never misses an opportunity to pounce. His goal is to kill, steal and destroy. Kill your joy. Steal your dreams. Destroy your potential. But Jesus protects us from this lion. He fights for us. He defends us. He stands in the way of the attacks and you are kept safe.

As the sheep, we still see the lion on occasion. We’re still chased. We’re still threatened. But we’re protected by the Shepherd, and the Shepherd would lay down his life for us. Hasn’t he already proven that? He will stop at nothing to save you.

Jesus promises “no one shall snatch my sheep out of my hand.” You can rest in that. No one and no thing can ever take you away from Jesus. You are held firmly and securely in the mighty and capable hands of the Almighty. Here you are safe. Here you belong.

You do not have to fear. Jesus knows the way, he’s made the way, and he’s not tired of guiding his wandering girl. Oh how he loves you. He loves your mind that gets distracted, your good intentions that sometimes waver, your feet that often fail, your mouth that runs off without you, and your habits that get you in trouble. You know why he loves it all … because this is what keeps you coming back to him. This is what pulls you into a relationship with the Shepherd. It’s your continual need that he responds to.

And never once does Jesus say “oh goodness gracious, I have to go save that girl again.” I believe he always says “I GET to go save my girl again. I get to rescue her. I get to pull her in close. I get to guide her. I get to protect her. Oh how I love my girl and her continual ditch diving that requires my help.”

Here he comes again to get you unstuck. Here he is to guide you. Here he is to give you wisdom and show you the way. Why? Because you asked.