Five Ways Jesus Protects and Directs You
“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11 TLB).
Sheep are essentially defenseless animals, so a shepherd uses a few tools to care for and protect his sheep. He uses a rod for guarding and protecting and a staff with a little crook in it to rescue the sheep.
We are like lost sheep, so Jesus came to Earth to be our Good Shepherd. Just as a shepherd uses the physical tools of the rod and the staff for direction and protection, God wants to protect you and direct you. Here are five ways he does that:
- If you bring your hurts to him, Jesus is compassionate.
Jesus has compassion on us, because he knows that we are helpless without him (Matthew 9:36). He doesn’t put you down; he lifts you up. He doesn’t hassle you; he heals you.
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).
- If you follow him, Jesus leads you in the right direction.
The Shepherd goes before. He leads from the front and calls you forward. Jesus is not going to push you through life. He’s going to say, “Watch how I do it. Look where I go.”
“When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice” (John 10:4 CEV).
- If you get confused or wander away, Jesus will find you and bring you back.
When God brings you back from wandering away from him, he will not punish you, but he may discipline you. If a shepherd has a sheep that is prone to wander, he will often wrap that sheep’s leg so it can’t move. In the same way, sometimes God gives us a limp to keep us from wandering.
“If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep” (Matthew 18:12 NCV).
- If you fail or fall, Jesus rescues you and sets you on the road to recovery.
Like all sheep, we not only wander, but we also stumble. When we trust that God is going to restore us and rescue us when we fail, we’ll faithfully run to him every time we mess up.
“If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not rescue it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:11-12 NIV).
- If you trust him to save you, Jesus will keep his promise to do just that.
It’s not your job to save yourself. Your job is simply to put your hand in God’s and say, “God, I’m all yours—the good, the bad, the ugly.” God loves you too much to ever let you go.
“My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29 NCV).
The goodness of God means he’s going to guide you, guard you, protect you, direct you, and save you. No one else can offer you those five benefits. They only come from Jesus, our Good Shepherd.
Talk It Over
In what direction is Jesus leading you right now? In your work? Your family? Your community? Your church? Your relationships?
What have you learned from God’s discipline?
Do you trust God for his promises never to leave you and to always come after you? Why or why not?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.