Sheep need a shepherd.
The Bible says that we are like sheep constantly going astray. What does that say about us? Regardless of how smart we may think we are, or how much we believe we have matters in control, we need a shepherd.
This is a hard truth to swallow. It goes against the grain of our independent, rebellious, fleshly selves. But it is true none the less. Without a shepherd, life is painfully difficult.
After an intense period of ministry, Jesus retreated with His disciples for a time of rest. But the crowds followed and pressed Jesus for more attention. Matthew wrote that when He saw them, “He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Harassed and helpless, that is where we end up when we do not listen to the voice of Jesus: when we lean on our own understanding to figure out life.
I’ve been there, and so have you. Even today as someone who knows Christ, my pride and ego can convince me that I have life under control. Pride and ego are not very good shepherds. I think the Bible would call them wolves. They never lead us down the right paths or restore our souls, or protect us. They lead us into chaos and rob us of our peace and security.
But not Jesus. He is the good shepherd, our good shepherd. He laid down His life for us. He secured us as His own. John emphasized this in His gospel account. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” He guides us down the paths of righteousness, He protects us from the deceitfulness of the world and He restores our souls.
As we grow in our knowledge of Christ, we learn to lean more and more on Him as our great Shepherd. Our spiritual ears become more sensitive and responsive to the sound of His voice. That is just one aspect of the change that takes place inside of us once we are made alive in Christ. We hear His voice and we follow.
There was a time in my life that I was a sheep without a shepherd. I had no sense of direction or purpose. I was quick to listen to the voices of the world which only added to my inner turmoil. Life was miserable. I needed a shepherd, the Great Shepherd and overseer of my soul.