I think the Scripture chosen by Selwyn for reading and meditation is another excellent choice.
John 10:1-10 (NIV): “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We, follow Jesus because we know His voice; He will lead us through the gate to eternal life. There are no other gates by which a person can enter paradise.
In the introduction to today’s study, Selwyn asks an important question: “Why are some Christians so grim? That is the question we touched on yesterday and which we raise again today. If abundant living is supposed to be the inevitable consequence of having Christ within, why is it that with some people it isn’t obvious?”
How would you answer this question?
In, 1 John 4:17-19 (NIV), we read: “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
And, we have these verses in Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:34b-40 (NIV): ” … Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, (nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I think that the Christian who is always grim and downcast has not yet obtained that level of faith, which is able to trust in the truth of Scripture – to fully trust in God’s love – to trust, that nothing can separate them from His love. If, we listen to the voice of Jesus and allow ourselves to be guided by Him; the Holy Spirit will, over time, transform us into His likeness. Then, as our love becomes perfect through the power of God, we will be able to drive out all fear.
Our Shepherd is Christ – who, or what, can takes us away from Him? As you would have noticed from the above verses, Jesus said: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” The knowledge that we are saved, must lift our heads – and fill our hearts with abundant joy, which overflows into all that we do.
Fearlessly trusting in Jesus’ words – how could we act like defeated people – and, go around looking like lost and worried sheep – with long, grim faces? What do you think?