Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Great Physician Now Is Near"1 (Lyrics)
John 10:27 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (NIV)
My dog always begs for a walk, regardless of the weather. But on sunny winter days, when the breeze teases my hair from beneath my toque, I am much more inclined to amble along, enjoying our day. Sometimes, her sensitive hunter's nose picks up an interesting scent, and our walk becomes a tug-of-war. Often because she has her nose buried in the scent, she does not see some sharp piece of tin, bottle shard, or other danger. She pulls, and I shout, "Heel!" — a shout which usually goes unheeded. She puts on her brakes, digs her paws into the snow bank, and jerks me this way and that. By yanking on her lead, I eventually cause her, albeit reluctantly, to come to my side and continue our walk. Even so, she tries to pull, and will amble beside me only if I keep the lead short. It's simply not in her nature to want to follow. Nor is it in headstrong human nature to want to follow.
We want to be Number One, in the lead, CEO, top dog. But that's not what Jesus calls believers to be. He said, "My sheep listen … and follow me." Jesus used a trait found in sheep to describe how His disciples ought to be. We need to follow behind Him, not simply to walk beside nor pull ahead, like my dog does to me. We are supposed to follow Jesus, and in so doing, He will direct us to be and to do what is best. When we run ahead, pulling as hard as we can, we may stumble, fall, or worse.
For those of us who are inclined to pull ahead under our own power, this means we need, first and foremost, to seek our Lord and Saviour — which is hard for us to do. Like most of us, I'm a headstrong type. I know what I want to do and tend to do it. Often, it's not what Jesus has called me to do. He usually has to pull me up short to get my attention. Once He does, everything comes right as I follow.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, always enable us to follow Your lead, always. Amen.