Following Rather than Determining My Care

Following Rather than Determining My Care

In my last two posts I gave examples of what it looks like to live dependent on the Lord’s care in the practical. In this I showed that we’re mere stewards of our bodies and lives, not owners. We have to entrust ourselves to the care of our Shepherd, who is competent and loving but who does it His own way. This is difficult, as Pauline commented on I’ll Take Care of Myself, Awareness of Self, where I said: “One of the greatest tests about God’s Lordship is with our health.”

Comment about Care of Self and Others

Comment about Care of Self and Others
Here’s Pauline’s full comment: “John, what about the common sense stuff like you swimming for your back pain (I think) or me going to the ER with difficulty breathing and high fever (turns out to be pneumonia)? Is He in the business of these, also? Not taking this post lightly, just wondering . . .  Also, would this include taking care of others — would it be better to just give them over to our Shepherd and pray for/with them? Great post, just these couple of questions. Thank you, John. Blessings and big smiles!”

This is the frustration of stewardship versus owning. I am not an owner, but the Lord has given me the responsibility to live my life and care for myself and for those around me. (Ouch!) We are all cast upon the Lord our Shepherd in this, but only those who follow will do it in the Spirit.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
John 10:27-28a NLT

Following the Shepherd’s Care

Following the Shepherd's Care
Following is as natural as moving. It isn’t as if you have to have a prayer meeting every time you take a step – that would be torment. In our woundedness, we can accuse the Lord of tying heavy burdens upon us, to make us look rather than leap in every situation. But the reality is this is freedom not bondage. He isn’t looking to set us on the edge of a collapsing cliff just to say, “Trust Me!” Being in the Spirit allows us to lean in dependence rather than being strapped with the responsibility to care for ourselves. I have always said that it is abuse to strap a child with the weight of parenting self. This is the same. Dependence on the Lord is freedom, not unfair treatment.

Pauline asked, “What about commonsense care of self?” Since I think that she speaks for many of us, I’ll answer that question directly. Dependence doesn’t mean I don’t care for myself; it means I rely on the Lord’s directing of me. Think about Christ’s statement: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 5:19 NLT). Was Jesus just talking about ministry to the people? No, I believe nothing means nothing. So my health and life is more about following than deciding what is best done.

In my next post I will use Pauline’s examples directly.


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    • tammy

      Thank you for continuing this John. I glean more with each post.

      • shulamite

        Funny thing Tammy, I was just responding to you and Pauline’s comment and thought I would have a post from it, but it turns out, the Lord had much to say on the subject…there are 4 more to come. Love you!

    • Rachel

      “Being in the Spirit allows us to lean in dependence rather than being strapped with the responsibility to care for ourselves.”

      I don’t know how to “lean in dependence” which is frustrating for a “go getter” like me (in my flesh). I choose to surrender to Jesus so He can do the “leaning” in me.

      • shulamite

        I get it Rachel, being very capable is a blessing and a curse. Leaning almost seems counter intuitive, if it wasn’t so necessary. Remember the Shulamite Podcasts about Martha’s and Billy Graham’s weakness? I will continue to peal back this onion in the next few posts. Thanks for commenting! ?

    • Linda M

      Psalm 95… we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts( against His Ways-my emphasis from vs 10) Verse 10 states people do err in their hearts, and they do not APPROVE, ACKNOWLEDGE or REGARD MY WAYS. The bottom line is hear His Voice in all things at all times with a heart surrendered to walk in His Ways… there we are in His Rest- total care and provision. Thank you so much John. This series of posts has been to me and mine bread from heaven and rest to our souls in living under His Sovereign leading and care. ❤️

      • Pauline

        Linda, you bless me! I should have read your comment before making any of my own. Your “bottom line” is the essence: ‘hear His Voice . . . a heart surrendered and walk in His ways.’ Simple. (A Martha statement: our Martha, not Mary / Martha – simple!)
        Bless you, Linda!

      • shulamite

        Linda I am so excited these posts are ministering to you and yours. I have some 4 more on the way. Number 3 is a down periscope rich diving. I hope you will love them. That one in particular rocked my world.

        PS I am praying for Kyle.

        • Linda M

          Your praying for him blesses me beyond words. Thank you.

    • Pauline

      John, John, taking a break from the ‘health crisis’ after I read the scripture at the end.
      Oh my, that *only* in “He does only what He sees the Father doing,” is that like:
      Jesus wept because, at one time (or more), He saw His Father weep? Thinking of “Where are you” to Adam and Eve after they sinned; sounds like a cry of anguish . . . or get angry and turn the tables over because He saw His Father’s anger when He repented that He made man in the account of Noah.
      Or did He feed the multitudes because He saw His Father do the same — maybe the manna in the desert?
      Maybe He healed a leper because He saw His Father heal Naaman, or had mercy on the adulterous woman because His Father had mercy on David in his adultery (after he repented).
      Could it be that Jesus raised the dead because He saw His Father give breath to dry bones in Ezekiel?
      So, so much . . . I might be off on this; let me know. It’s really amazing when you take that scripture for what it says.
      Thank you, John — getting back to health after 3 days in the hospital and 3 weeks out of work. I wonder what Jesus saw His Father do that allowed me [you / Martha / Jennifer / anyone] to get so sick? Maybe that’s not even a valid question, but that scripture is really causing me to ponder.

      • shulamite

        Wow, great points. I have never looked at it from that angle. I love the connections you made with the acts of Jesus coupled with the acts of the Father. But I do have to say, it wasn’t the previous acts of the Father that directed the Son. The Son did “only” what He saw the Father do in each and every situation. Jesus led us by example and if He lived independently choosing which act of the Father’s He should apply to a situation, that would not be living under the Lordship of God. I am not permitted to live my life like this either. This all reminds me of Martha’s quoting of a woman who was referencing how she was trained in the Baptist church. She said, “You have a brain and a book, now get to it!” This is not how we are Shepherded or Fathered; this is living by the Tree of Good and Evil. I have at least 4 more posts on this, I am hoping I will address all this and your last question will be touched on too. Bless you Pauline, love you.

        • Pauline

          John, thank you so much! Kind of guessed I was off and after being with Shulamite these many years, you might think it would be evident to me that it’s all about His Voice . . . His Spirit . . . His leading . . . His purpose — it’s just all about Him and not our [my] little reasoning.
          Thankful, John, for sharing with us what you are hearing!

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