There is nothing much more relaxing than watching a group of young lambs frolicking around in the sun on a warm spring day. Sheep are mentioned many times in Scripture, and they can provide us with many spiritual applications.
When we first accept Christ as Saviour, we are full of joy and anticipation that all will be peaceful, joyful, and problem-free. In a little while, we find that there are bumps along this spiritual road. As shepherds, John and I had the same experience. Those nice, warm spring days with the frolicking lambs gave way to releasing the lambs and their mothers out to the summer pasture.
It was not long before we began to notice some problems in the digestive systems of our sheep. Upon investigation, we found that sheep can be infested with roundworms, internal parasites which easily regenerate themselves through the eggs deposited by adult worms in the intestinal tract. These eggs in the feces dropped by the sheep go through a three-week cycle, from the little larvae hatching and crawling up the stems of the grass and being ingested, to the eggs being dropped for a return cycle. While living in the sheep, the worms destroyed the digestive process. The easy remedy for this problem was to rotate the pasture cycle every three weeks. This took effort by us, as shepherds of the flock.
That reminds me of this verse of Scripture:
James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: … to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (NIV)
As Christians, we live in a sin-laden world. Like our sheep that were put out to pasture, everything seems great for a while, and then, a few little sins (parasites) creep in, but we do not pay much attention. It is then that we need to start evaluating our situation and work at keeping the pollution of the world from sneaking into our lives. We need to be like us, looking after our sheep. We need to take ourselves away from what easily pollutes our mind and grieves our spirit. This does not mean that we dissociate ourselves from other people. We need to be present, as the clean pasture for the sheep was always available, but when questionable conversations and actions develop, we need to know the time to withdraw to a safe haven. We need to have solid Christian friends, a good church, and daily devotional time to maintain our position of being able to refrain from being polluted by the world, while being a place that others can see the love and presence of the Saviour, and want what we have.
Prayer: God, grant each of us the spiritual insight to be in the world but not part of it. May we display what it means to "keep oneself from being polluted by the world". Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Father Lead Me Day By Day" (Lyrics)