Jesus always likens Christians to sheep. He calls Himself the Good Shepherd and the guardian of the sheepfold.
In the 15th chapter of Luke, Jesus gave the parable of the shepherd who willingly leaves an entire flock of sheep in order to go after one stray.
Not only is His love beyond measure, but He knows the importance of keeping the group close to Him and to each other.
Sheep are helpless, defenseless creatures. While they are united together, most carnivorous hunters are less likely to attack them.
However, let one separate from the others and wander off on its own, and it is instant, easy prey.
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock“ (Acts 20:29, KJV).
|Outside of Bergen, Norway|
Our enemy desires to separate us and get us out on our own, away from fellowship. If he succeeds, that is the moment for he and his posse to move in for the kill.
When we are alone, he cracks his fingers and giggles at the opportunity to pollute our minds with doubt. He whispers we don’t belong; he tells us God doesn’t really love us or care and neither do the others; he wants us to believe the Lord’s promises aren’t meant for us.
1 Peter 5:8 (KJV) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
We know he is a liar. Nothing he says is true; the Lord would NEVER tell us we are unwanted or unworthy of abiding in His pasture. What kind of shepherd would He be if He did?
Yet in those times when we are alone and feeling ostracized, we are often at our weakest, spiritually.
Just like in Matthew 4:1 when He was tempted of Satan, Jesus knows first-hand what it is like to be utterly alone and vulnerable to the enemy’s fabrications.
Even in the very beginning, God knew it was not good for mankind to be alone (Genesis 2:18).
Whether you are the only believer in your family, workplace, school, or town; whether you’re single and miserably watching everyone around you find their soulmates; whether you just don’t seem to click with anyone or have any close friends to confide in, or perhaps you are going through a trial you feel no one can relate to, the feeling of loneliness is applicable to anyone in any situation.
Sometimes we may even bring the despair upon ourselves when we seek things outside of God’s will for us, and the shame of it can keep us from returning to Him: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way,” Isaiah 53:6 (KJV)
Remember: This war is not fought on a physical battleground.
We might see the manifestations and effects taking place in the natural world, causing drama and divisions in our lives and lives of other Christians among us.
But as the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:12 (KJV), “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
When we are away from the accountability of our brothers and sisters in Christ and without the fellowship of the Lord’s sweet presence, we are more likely to believe the lies of the enemy.
He knows to stay away from us when we are joined with the saints and in prayer together.
|Outside of Bergen, Norway, at a very old churchyard|
However, he knows if he can somehow convince us that we are rejected, unloved, and unwanted, he can draw us away from the sheepfold and cause complexes and confusion in our minds.
The solution to fending the adversary off, therefore, is to stay close to God and His people.
By attending church, we are fed spiritual sheep food and strengthened to withstand the mind battles we will inevitably face.
By praying and keeping in contact with other believers, we are protected and fortified by their faith, as this falls in accordance with Paul’s teaching “…that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV).
We are going to face issues in this life. They are going to test our character to the fullest extent. The enemy WILL be on our tails night and day.
But you are NOT alone. You are NOT the only one hurting, fighting or feeling out of place.
We all go through it at some point or another, and we are all struggling through internal (and external) battles.
We all come from varying backgrounds; we are all a little odd, but God still calls and gathers each of us. His people are peculiar–we are a mixed bag, and yet He loves each of us the same.
Jesus told His disciples in Luke 10:3 (KJV), “…behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”
Notice, He did not say as one lamb among many wolves; but lambs, plural. That’s the good news, that we really don’t have to fend off the wolves by ourselves.
He believes in us.
He knows we can and will overcome, because He showed and told us how: Feed on the Word. Drink from the restoring waters the Shepherd leads you to. Stay in the sheepfold.