Scripture 1: They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11)
Scripture 2: By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD (Hebrews 11:10).
There is no doubt that the modern world is a world of marvel. Just like John marveled when he saw Babylon (Revelation 17), we too marvel at the world. Most of us have not only marveled but have lusted after the things of the world. We want the American dream, with its fancy car and big screen TV. However, when John marveled at the world that was to come, the angel was startled and asked him, “You marvel?”
Yes, we marvel. And beyond the marvel most of us have worked extremely hard to get a slice of the modern world’s treasures. We even have teachings that encourage us to pursue worldly success, e.g., E-books on How to Pray over your Finances. We have become the kind of Christians who are quick to dismiss teachings about heaven and the things of heaven but are ready to consume content that will help us build great lives on Earth.
We have settled on Earth, and we want God to help us to settle on Earth.
But this should not be the case for Christ came to draw us out of the world. The scriptures that challenge us to live and center our purpose on this higher calling are better kept in museums. We don’t want to read them and we don’t want to meditate on them. Yet as much as we enjoy the thought of living the rest of our lives in abundant prosperity, the truth is that Christ is coming soon.
A Shepherd Spirit
The patriarchs of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) lived as shepherds. Shepherds enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle where they would move from place to place with their livestock. As such, the term shepherd in Judaic culture is associated with a noble lifestyle. However, to the Egyptians and other cultures shepherds were despised. The scriptures state that when Joseph presented his family to Pharaoh, his family told Pharaoh that they were shepherds just like their fathers before them. On hearing this, the Pharaoh relegated them to live in Goshen (think of it as the ghetto side of town) Genesis 47:3.
The shepherd life in Judaism was more uncomplicated compared to living in the city. First, the shepherds were cut-off from the noisy distractions of the city. Also, they lived a life of solitude. Shepherds did not bother themselves with numerous activities or the hassles and bustles of city life. Instead, their concern was feeding their flock. In the end, this seclusion and solitude made it easy for them to connect with GOD.
Shepherd Spirit & Authentic Christianity
A Shepherd spirit is the key to authentic Christianity. This spirit has no desire to settle in the city (in this case, the world). In every way, this spirit wanders to the temple of GOD spiritually by studying his word, praying, meditating on his word, and seeking out His will.
A shepherd spirit cuts-off from popular culture. How do we do this? Well, one scripture says it best. It says, “Do not conform to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by the complete renewal of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).” Just because the rest of the world says it’s “cool” doesn’t mean that it’s cool for us. How do Christians stay ahead of the game? We stay ahead of the game by pursuing God’s will. And not by persisting to God to fulfill our will.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15).
For example: If modern churches embraced diversity by encouraging people from other races to join in ministry, then the church would lead the world towards healing racial tensions. If the church funded a movie where the disciples and most of the people in the film were from different races, then the church would send a powerful message that Christ is LORD over all races. Yes! We know that Jesus and the apostles were Jews. We know that salvation comes from the Jews. But behold! Jesus rose to rule over the gentiles (Romans 15:12). And it’s time the church played an active part in communicating God’s love for all races.
Yet this is the issue. The church settled! And a settled life means that we become susceptible to the noisy distractions of life. We want to be rich, and we want big houses. But it’s not our time to sit and sip coffee. This is our time to put on aprons, wear boots, and seek out revivals.
This is our time to put on aprons, wear boots, and seek out revivals.
Abraham sojourned in the land of promise! God promised the meek (humble) shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). But until that day comes, we are to live like shepherds. We are to live like sojourners in this land of promise as we await the heavenly Jerusalem. Once we adopt this shepherd spirit, it will be easier to tend to the flock of God. It will be easier for us to go out to discipleship and do what God has put in our hearts to do for His glory.
A shepherd life is a simple and noble life. This lifestyle means that rather than stuff up on the treasures of the earth, a shepherd focuses on being rich in God (Luke 12:16-21). The bible says it this way, it says, Human beings were created for God’s glory. And God provides for the body.
As Jesus said, “Look at the plants in the field. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Yet Solomon, in all his glory was not clothed as one of these flowers (Matthew 6:29).
A shepherd spirit marvels at the new heaven and earth that is to come. The bible says, “focus your mind on the things in heaven, not on earth” (Colossians 3:2). But this kind of lifestyle is despised by other cultures. Jesus said, “If they despise me, will they not despise you? If they crucify me, yet I am the one who made the world, will they not reject you?” (John 15).
The shepherd spirit is the secret to authentic Christianity. Just like Jesus, the shepherd spirit focuses on the will of God, and trusts in God to reward faith.
A shepherd spirit is a difficult way to live. This spirit is similar to Daniel and his friends in Babylon. Although they were in a nation that was anti-God, they upheld God and the teachings He gave to their fathers.
A Shepherd spirit has an enduring faith. This faith is essential in these last days. The bible says that if your faith is not enduring, you will not endure (Isaiah 7:9). Take time to consider all the challenges we go through in life. It is easy for us to abandon the faith.
Yet! Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. If you genuinely desire authentic Christianity, then you need the help of the Holy Spirit to teach you how to live your life just like Jesus-the Good Shepherd.
For indeed, all the splendor! temptations! and pleasures in Babylon can only be overcome by the blood of the lamb, by the word of our testimony (the scriptures) and for us choosing not to love this life to death!
Meditate on these things and be blessed.