When sheep are shepherdless, they mindlessly wander off into danger – onto a steep precipice or into predators’ waiting teeth. When they stick closely to their shepherd, they are still clueless! The shepherd keeps the flock together, leading them to green pastures beside still waters, and fending off predators with his staff.
we are clueless…
We are not to strive to perfect ourselves. We are not asked to transform ourselves through the monumental efforts of our own willpower. Our willpower is finite. We eventually run out, and our subsequent fall does not have a soft landing! As we come to God more and more through worship, prayer, and scripture, God reveals to us one-by-one our stumbling blocks – the logs in our own eyes. The Holy Spirit diminishes our desires for the things of this world in proportion to our time spent with God. The shackles fall from our minds and hearts, the doors of our ego-prisons spring open as we pray and sing hymns of praise to the Lord.
When we show up, You teach us Your Ways. You reveal to us the deeper Truths of Your Creation and show us our places in Your Supreme Order. We see where we have unwittingly participated in the destruction of Your Order – adding to others’ suffering. We hadn’t realized the far-reaching consequences of the seemingly most trivial of our sins. When we fall into the trap of trying by ourselves to “be good”, we are focused on ourselves instead of keeping our hearts and minds on You, our Shepherd. We are more blind than ever to our sinfulness because we are self-righteous.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:31 – 32” You were being facetious, Lord.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
The Pharisees and teachers were too self-righteous to know that they were included in the group of sinners who You came to call to Your Righteousness (not their own definition of righteousness) When we are a blind to Your extended Hand of Salvation, we can’t reach for it. We don’t know to “show up”. It is in our repeated failures that we come to realize we can’t fix ourselves. Through spiritual humility, we come to You as little children with broken and contrite hearts. We ask You to fix us and make us whole and Holy.
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right Spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10