I was recently preaching a retreat on Psalm 23 when I stressed the point that if God is truly our shepherd as we say He is in this psalm, then we should really see ourselves as helpless and weak sheep, completely dependent on Him for everything. This is in contrast with seeing ourselves as independent and powerful lions who have no need of a shepherd and who can actually eat the shepherd. I then asked the participants which of these images spoke to them most about themselves: a weak, dependent sheep or a strong self-sufficient lion. One of them replied honestly, “I see myself as a sheep but with the power, teeth, and claws of a lion!”
We are so reluctant to face and accept weakness in our lives. We want to be strong, flawless, and independent. We claim that God is our shepherd but we are reluctant to take the place of the weak and vulnerable sheep before Him. How can He, the Good Shepherd, lead us when we pretend to be lions, invulnerable beasts dreaded by any shepherd? ….
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