Be Sure You Are Following the Right Shepherd

My family has been going through so many changes lately. All good changes but gosh, they really get to the heart of things and stir up areas that you never knew were a problem.

For example, not only have we been spiritually cleaning our home but we’ve also greatly limited what is watched on TV, what books are read, what is allowed on iPods, game stations and the like and what friends or family we allow to influence us. We are doing this even more so now than we have in the past. You see, we’ve prayed over and over to hear His voice. We want to know for sure that we are following Him and not simply following the latest trend, or author, or person we admire. We want to follow Him.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.     John 10:27

Too often we get caught up in our “world” and we begin to follow its leaders instead of our Father’s voice.

staff

My extended family lives an hour away so every time we visit them we have to travel on a busy interstate congested with Baton Rouge traffic. If you have ever been to Baton Rouge then you know what I am talking about. On the way home there are a couple of splits and it never fails, there is always traffic idling, bumper to bumper, in the far right lane while the left lane is moving fast. And can I tell you there is no one in the center lane?! The center lane goes to both sides of the split yet hardly anyone goes down the center lane. We call the people sitting in the right lane “sheeple” as we fly past them. They just follow a leader not knowing that faster moving freedom is just a few feet away in the center lane.

This one incident happening over and over has prompted many conversations with our boys about thinking for themselves. In this day and age we have too many people telling us what to think instead of how to think (tweet this). We blindly follow people we admire or trust because it is easier than figuring it out ourselves. This is dangerous.

Be careful what you are believing from the pulpit. Be careful what you are “liking” on Facebook. Be careful who you are promoting and sharing. Whether they are a good friend or not. It doesn’t matter. People are human. We make mistakes. We go through seasons in life, good and bad. When others blindly follow us in our mistakes it can have eternal consequences. At the end of this lifetime we will have to account for every sheep that chose to follow us so we need to make sure we are leading them to Him (tweet this). It would also serve our Father well to drop to our knees in prayer for those we see making mistakes. They are dearly loved by Him too. We are to walk in and serve one another in love.

but don’t be silenced.

Don’t hesitate to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be bullied into being quiet. The world will tell you your voice is just a whisper and it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Maybe they are right. In this world your voice may not be heard but I promise you that someone is listening to the cries of your heart. Your Father hears your every word. Don’t just throw your hands up and surrender to this world because we are the minority. When we get to heaven, where it really matters, we will be the majority.

When Jesus was being tempted by Satan in the desert He spoke truth to combat the enemy. He didn’t remain quiet. When those money changers were making a den of robbers out of the temple Jesus did not just walk past and say, oh well, that is just how it is in this day and age. When the pharisees attempted to prove Him wrong He used His Father’s word to speak truth to them. He walked in love but He did not do nothing. And His Father, Our Father, was pleased (Mark 1:11).

At this point I would love to break out into a rockin’ rendition of Natalie Grant’s “I Will Not Be Moved” but I’ll spare you the experience. If you’d ever heard me sing you’d thank me. Instead, I leave you with this…

Seek Him. Think for yourself. Don’t be quiet. Walk in love. Listen to His voice!

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.   Ephesians 6:13

Comments

  1. I love this post! I recently just had an incident where I got into a fairly heated debate over some false doctrine. I wondered later whether I had done the right thing, whether I should have remained silent and not got involved, whether I spoke out of anger or love. I need to remember to not be silent, but to speak truth regardless of outcome.

  2. Amy, I think that everything in the comments that could have been said has been! :) This is such a wonderful reminder!
    My husband and I always repeat to each other and to our children that God’s word is final authority.
    There is a Christian musical theater near our home that has a popular show. They have a quote that I always find myself smiling to:

    “Don’t listen to nobody louder than you listen to God” ~The Gospel According to Tennessee

    It makes me smile to see the reconciliation between you and Lisa

  3. Beautiful and well spoken. All too often people want to shepherd us because they want something and need you to believe opposite of what is truth. I have learned (especially over the past year) to be careful of anyone who says “Be Careful of so in so or this/that”…. those are the ones I am running from – as they cast lies or deceit or even false information… “Don’t be bullied into being quiet” I’ve almost been ‘bullied’ into shutting down all of my sites/social media – thankfully, I started listening to God and less of ‘others’ Maybe if all people would listen to HIM, we’d all be able to get along.

  4. YES! We left our church home of 17 years last summer and while we ARE attending another much smaller church, God has done a lot of plank pulling and Pharisee-destruction within me over the past year. Sorting out what God says versus what church people say we should be-do-say-dress-act has been quite a process. I’ve learned that the crisp Christian facade came through as expected perfection for my kids and they really resent that now. We are relearning grace and how to live that instead of just receiving it ourselves and expecting everyone else to conform to peoples version of what a Christ follower looks like. Spiritual housecleaning is a process. I look forward to your next post!

  5. Confession of a recovering pharisee…*raises hand*.

    We reap what we sow. I’ve had to learn the hard way, after a knock out drag down fight with God… my former words were leading people down a dark and terrible path of self righteousness. Thinking I was right all along, I was steeped in legalism. God opened by eyes..a Saul on the road to Damascus experience… and it was Amy who showered me with the grace of God. Listen to her. She knows what she’s talking about.

  6. Amen. Amen. Amen! Sharing this now! Sis, you must have been in our home too listening to our talks as we agree!!! Love you!

  7. Great post! HATE BR traffic. Nightmares. And LOVE the collage you made of my pics! ;)

  8. I love that you pointed out that we need to be careful what we are “liking” sharing and promoting. I’ve been seeing some quotes going around facebook that sound nice at first glance, but the true message is not necessarily godly. Sometimes I respond by pointing out a different perspective, and sometimes I just leave it. But I can’t “like” it just because it makes people feel empowered.

    Sometimes I’m looked at a little funny because of the way I do things. But it’s because I refuse to make life choices based on what everyone else does, even everyone else in church! One of my favorite questions is “Who says?” That’s what I ask when I feel myself being pushed to conform to some kind of rule of our society. If God says it then I do it. If God doesn’t have an opinion on the matter then I do it the way I see fit, regardless of what group-think is telling me.

    I also love that you reminded us that someone is listening to us. So we need to be even more sure who we are following!

    • Yes! The bible tells us this in Proverbs 14:15-

      “Only simpletons believe everything they are told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.”

      Just because someone is a believer doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. Look at Peter. He denied Christ three times. Or Judas. He was a disciple! We must seek Him and filter everything through His Holy Spirit.

  9. This is great stuff, Amy. I’ve been thinking a lot lately how the enemy tries to steal my voice by planting fear in me.

    • Exactly! And he will use others to plant that fear and doubt as well. We cave because we want to be liked by “all”. It doesn’t work that way. We have to listen to Him. Lots of growing pains come with this one! :)

      • Fear and doubt is not what he wants, at all. He gives us power and love and a sound mind. The mind is one key in all of this. Like Amy said, think for ourselves. Remember the Bereans. “Study to show yourselves approved unto God”. We need to be diligent to keep hold of faith, because doubt and fear rob us of faith. Any leader that is making you feel afraid is not operating in faith. I understand being cautious, because we do reap what we sow and God allows us to learn hard lessons sometimes. But he isn’t in the business of taking aim at us with lightning when we fall. When we ‘fear God’ it isn’t the kind of fear that makes us cower under a table hoping he doesn’t strike. The word ‘fear’ is probably not the best word to use in the context of the original teaching. It’s more about reverence and trusting the wisdom God gives us. I am sure Lisa Shaw and Amy could delve into that one. Remember that it’s the enemy who stands at the gates daily “accusing the brethren”. Woe be to those Christians who are accusatory and condemning others. It will come back on them.

  10. This post has given me the push to bring up a point I’ve been thinking about a lot with your spiritual house cleaning.

    I did a spiritual house cleaning when my husband and I first came to Christ about 8 years ago. My sons were 10 and 12. They resented it. They got baptised at 11 and 13 and my older child is still a believer. My younger son however has strayed. He doesn’t believe but he isn’t rebellious in other ways. He is kind and gentle and is respectful at church, but to my great sorrow he doesn’t believe.

    We have had many discussions about this and in his mind the break with God started when I did the spiritual housecleaning. I disallowed pokemon and a videogame (Age of Mythology). He started seeing God as the one who took away his fun.

    I also had a similar break with God when my mother did her spiritual house-cleaning. I was not allowed my rock music and was banned from reading romance novels. I did not re-establish the relationship until I was in my late 30s. AAAACKKK.

    I think children have not established their belief yet and it behooves us to not make the journey from my-parents-belief to my-own-belief more difficult than it needs to be. I think that we need to be sensitive to that. In my case, I would have told my son how some of his choices grieved God and let him make the decision. I think for myself, neither of my mother’s edicts were right for me. I still listen to rock (but love Christian rock when it is available) and I still love romances (now I just read christian romances).

    I don’t know if those are things you are doing in your spiritual housecleaning but I wanted to point out that we must be sensitive to the fact that not everyone in our houses are at the same place as us. Maybe someone else will be able to learn from my example.

    • Connie, thank you so much for speaking out. This was a big concern for us and we went into it with much prayer. I will address this in a full post on Monday but to summarize it, what we did was first pray for God to soften their hearts and show them what needed to go. We also taught them to think for themselves on this issue. They were asked to find facts, not just biblical ones but facts about violence, effects of excessive game use, etc. Ultimately what was discarded was their choice. When all was said and done we didn’t find anything questionable left. God had worked it out with them one on one.

      There were other things that we did and implemented that made these transitions easier but I’ll get into that on Monday. :)

  11. This post resonates in my spirit. I realize I am guilty of allowing circumstances to silence me in the past. Thank God, I am finding my voice IN HIM. His ways are not ours, but his ways are always best… and they produce SUPERNATURAL, UNLIMITED, and EXTRAORDINARY results.
    And, when we find the strength to speak the truth IN LOVE…then we get the results of Ephesians 4:15-16… “we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ….as each part does its work.” And isn’t that what we want!?! To grow up in Him!?!

    • I am so glad that I get to dream, plan, and fellowship with you so regularly. You are such a dear friend. I am glad God saw fit to draw us together. (((BIG hug)))

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  1. amybayliss says:

    The Bible – Begins this Sunday – We have a giveaway!…

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  2. [...] support when she could have kicked me to the curb for being such a jerk. So when Amy says “Be sure you’re following the right Shepherd“, I pay attention. She knows what she’s talking [...]




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