Being called sheep in today’s world is usually a bad thing. It means we follow blindly, without thought or regard for the actions we commit. But we are sheep, based on many passages in the Scripture. We like where the passages talk about God as a shepherd, protecting us. We don’t like it so much when God is indicating how we should follow Him. After all, we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to set our own destiny. We want to be in complete control of our situation. Have you ever stopped to think about how little control we actually have in most situations? Take, for instance, driving. We have control of our car. But we have no control over the cars around us. We have no control over the surface we drive on or the weather during the time we drive. But we hold on to this illusion of control as we hold on to the steering wheel. And for most aspects of our lives, we have about the same amount of control. There are too many things going on that we can’t possible see them all. There are too many things to know that we can’t possibly know them all. Yet we want to “be in control.” Being in control is a myth we’ve created because we don’t like the idea of not being in control.
But as Christians, we must come to terms with the fact that it is okay to not be in control. In reality, we must simply accept the fact that we aren’t in control. God is. He always has been. He always will be. Consider this: if God isn’t always in control, can He guarantee our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ? That’s not a scenario we’d like. But if God isn’t in complete control, then something could come up at the last minute and we could find ourselves no longer saved. If God is not sovereign over everything, that means salvation isn’t guaranteed. If God is sovereign, He is in control over everything. And that includes us. Which fits with what Jesus says here:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” – John 10:1-5, NASB
Note what Christ is saying here. He calls His sheep and they follow Him out. He goes ahead and His sheep follow. They don’t follow strangers. The sheep do not recognize the voices of those strangers. They follow Jesus. They aren’t blazing their own paths. They don’t worry about a little thing known as control. They trust the shepherd, Jesus, is going to keep them safe and get them where they need to be. So they follow Him wherever He goes. It’s not important that they know. It’s not critical that the sheep get together and scratch up a plan in the dirt or compare notes of their experiences with the shepherd or check with the latest prognostications as to the likelihood Jesus is leading in the right direction. They just go.
That’s where we need to be. Christ calls, we answer. He leads, we follow. Now I realize that’s the ideal. I know that we’ll have doubts, that we’ll want to understand more, and that we’ll question both Jesus and ourselves as to whether or not we understand what He’s asking us to do. Even men like John the Baptist found himself doing this. But we should be working towards that surrendered obedience so when He says, “Let’s go,” we don’t go through the normal hemming and hawing (He didn’t describe us as donkeys or mules), but we get up, get moving, and follow Him. That’s surrender. That’s the type of wholehearted commitment we looked at yesterday. If we even get close to that, imagine what He can do through us!