The Voice of Truth
He called Himself the Good Shepherd, but is Jesus your shepherd?
There are so many voices speaking into our lives, that at times it can be difficult to know who to listen to. For this reason Jesus proclaimed Himself as our Good Shepherd. As our shepherd it is Christ who leads us throughout our lives. It is His voice and His alone that should influence our thoughts and actions. When our ears are tuned to His voice, His calling, it is then that our lives take on a new focus, a new trajectory. So, where do you find yourself today? Are you listening to the voice of Christ, or are you listening to the voice of another? For this weeks devotional I thought it would be a great time to focus in on the spiritual discipline of submitting to lordship. In Colossians 3:17 the apostle Paul tells us, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." To live out your life in the name of the Lord requires that you know Jesus and the way of life and worship that He taught. But another vital point in the life of the believer is having the discernment to weed out the false voices, the wolf's.
Weeding out the voices of the wolf's requires a steady diet of Biblical food. The TD Jakes and Joel Osteen's of the world would not have a platform for their prosperity gospel (which according to Scripture are no gospel at all) if confessing believers truly knew Christ and understood His voice. So the starting point for any confessing believer in submitting to Christ as Lord requires studying Jesus and the ministry He led. Nevertheless, this discipline is far more difficult than it seems because Jesus did not preach or teach a prosperity gospel in the sense that the wolf's do. No, Jesus taught a path that leads to eternal, spiritual prosperity but this path can be paved with hardship, discipline and at times deep suffering. This is what the prosperity preachers won't touch because they feel that it isn't attractive enough to draw the crowds in. But what did Jesus teach?
Jesus taught truth and like all truth, it can be uncomfortable at times to hear. For instance, Jesus taught in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart;I have overcome the world.” Please note that Jesus never sugarcoated His teachings. He tells things like they are. But He always delivers reality with a light of hope. In this Bible verse Jesus states that a life spent following Him will have difficulties; we will see hard times because when our views will align with Scripture we will find ourselves at odds with the world. But, He doesn't just leave us without hope. No, Jesus reminds us that He has overcome the world, and for all those who follow after Him will overcome the world as well.
In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus encounters a rich young ruler who thinks that he has not only achieved financial success but spiritual righteousness as well. This young ruler asks Jesus a question about how one can enter the kingdom of heaven. He approaches the Lord with arrogance because he actually believes that he has done all anyone can do to enter into heaven and expects Jesus to commend and praise him for a life well spent. But this is not what Jesus does. No, as Jesus places His thumb on exactly what the rich young ruler holds dearest to his heart, the truth about the rulers motivations are revealed. In Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus tells the man, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Jesus said this because He knew the mans heart. You see, the rich young ruler was puffed up with his success. His identity was rooted in the pride of success and money. For this reason, he felt that he was above everyone else; righteous in his own right, and therefore God would be compelled to let him into heaven. But when Jesus attempted to remove his man-made righteousness, the young ruler became undone. This is why Matthew goes on to tell us, "When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."
At times, when we are listening to the wrong voices, we can all stray away from Christ's Lordship and follow after the wolf's or our own self-righteousness. It is for this reason that I again state that the confessing believer in Christ must live on a steady diet of Holy Scripture. So for this week, let us listen to the Voice of Truth, the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Take time to read and meditate on these short Scripture verses. Perhaps you could journal your feelings and prayers during this time in order to gain further introspect on your spiritual life.
Monday - Matthew 18:7-9 (Cutting off the temptations to sin)
Tuesday - Matthew 18:10-14 (The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep)
Wednesday - Matthew 18:15-22 (Forgiveness and reconciliation)
Thursday - Matthew 19:1-12 (Developing a better marriage through a softening of the heart)
Friday -Matthew 19:16-30 (Riches, self-righteousness or the righteousness of Christ? The choice is yours.)
May God bless you richly as you seek to follow the voice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.