John 10:4-5, NIV
“His sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger.”
While in Scotland recently, during some snowy weather, I was walking past a group of sheep sheltering under a large tree. They were protected from the wind there, and as very little snow had been able to settle beneath the tree, they were relatively warm and dry, especially while they were huddled together. However, as I watched, the ewe nearest to me began to move away. Then one by one, each of the other sheep followed, without knowing why they were moving. They were then scattered, standing in the middle of the field, separated from one another and exposed to the elements.
It made me think of how easily we can be influenced by others and can follow the crowd, without fully understanding the reasons or the issues for ourselves. This can happen when Christians are attracted by some ‘new’ teaching, or become obsessed with a particular speaker who appears to have a powerful ministry. Often people are taken in by outward appearances, or by signs and wonders, without exercising the gift of discernment, or checking what is being said alongside Scripture.
We can also follow the crowd in the ways of the world and its temptations, which draw us out from the safety of God’s covering and protection. We then become isolated and vulnerable, especially if we’re separated from the fellowship of other believers, like the sheep that were scattered and exposed in the middle of the snowy field.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He wants us to learn to recognise His voice, so we won’t follow the deceptive voices that clamour for our attention and draw us away from Him. He’s given us the Bible as a plumbline, and He’s also given us the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). We need to develop discernment through the Spirit and measure everything by His word, so we won’t blindly follow the ways of the world, or embrace each fad that comes along. If we do this, it will help us to remain in the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91), safe and secure under His protection.
Prayer: Lord, I’m sorry for the times when I’ve followed others blindly, without consulting You. Please help me to grow in discernment, so I remain under Your covering, safe and secure. In Jesus’ name, Amen.