Good Shepherd or Not?

Jesus with children and sheep

John’s post yesterday lit a fire in me, and it took me a while to see through the flames. There’s an issue of authority here that I really want to address. John’s unveiling of the great practicality of listening to the Holy Spirit needs no addendum, and that’s not what I’m mulling. I’m mulling the question asked: “Am I following the instruction of man too closely?” I’m concerned with the idea that God leaves us in doubt about whose spiritual authority we are intended to be under and what it actually means to BE under authority.

I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me—even as [truly as] the Father knows Me and I also know the Father—and I am giving My [very own] life and laying it down on behalf of the sheep. 

And I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be [they will become] one flock under one Shepherd.
John 10:14-16 AMP

When the Lord put me under Martha and John and Shulamite Ministries, I wasn’t even born again. Called and awakened? Yes, but not born again. I wasn’t “of this fold” yet, but I was “brought and impelled” nonetheless. I never doubted that Martha and John were God’s own choice as spiritual authorities over me. Sometimes I rebelled against it, raged against it, even reviled it—but I had no doubt that I was accountable to them as God’s delegated authority in my life. Even without the mind and voice of the Spirit, there wasn’t a doubt in my heart, soul, or grubby brain. Why? Because Jesus promised. “I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call…”

We are sheep. We are little children. We are frightened and foolish and easily distracted. It would be unkind to leave us in confusion and doubt, with no way to recognize His voice as HIS. It would be cruel! But that’s not who He is, and that’s not what He does with us. “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me—even as [truly as] the Father knows Me and I also know the Father…”

Jesus promises that He is the Good Shepherd, and He “is not a man that He should lie” (Num. 23:19). As the Good Shepherd, He assures His sheep that He knows them and that they know Him – as intimately as Jesus and the Father know each Other! And He even goes a step further, addressing the sheep who have yet to come into His fold. They will be brought to Him and will hear His voice. And then comes the choice. Will they heed His call? Will they listen to what He says and obey Him? If so, they’ll become “one flock under one Shepherd.”

John was unmistakably right and clear when he said that the issue isn’t “whether I am following man too dependently; it’s whether I’m walking in the Spirit.” But even before walking in the Spirit is possible, even while we’re still imprisoned in the flesh and enslaved to sin, God makes His will known and His voice heard. How much more grace and peace and wisdom are available those who have become His very own?

The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. [To all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed.] And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand.
John 10:27-28 AMP

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    • Sam

      Oh Jen… amen! What a comforting word. Thank you for your ever raw sheep-honesty. Fortunately enough, authority is not a badge in the chest of the sheep, but who we are before Him (according to His own saying and the following of that Living saying).


    • Paul

      Jennifer, you were so blessed to come under the authority of such loving shepherds as Martha and John! And the fruit of your surrender and submission is so beautifully evidenced in your writings. Thank you for allowing the Lord to work in you so wondrously. Your life and words emanate our Lord’s beauty!

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