Exposition on “The Shepherd of the North”
On Monday, we shared an ancient parable out of China that probably pre-dates the Kingdom of God’s advancement into that land (as goes on in amazing ways today). But it’s an amazing parable that has often come to mind when sharing with others that teaches an important lesson. Today, we’ll share a few thoughts on how this relates to your life and mine as a believer in this broken world.
The circumstances in our life are always arranged by God for our benefit. And thus they are always good even when our flesh might find them to be horrific.
Paul said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
When we are young in the Lord, we can easily get caught up in the external, carnal circumstances of our life. We can get carried away with happiness because we had a very successful day at work or because our favorite football team wins or for many other things which are purely products of this carnal world.
Or we might be filled with depression & despair because we’re out of work or because the person we would like to begin a relationship with has just begun one with another. These things seem so overwhelmingly horrible that they can crowd out the Truth.
The Truth that is if one is truly working to give every area of his/her life over to the Lord, then the Lord is bringing every circumstance into your life to help you and grow you. Your circumstances right now might be truly horrible from a natural point of view, but it will pass. The Lord desires to be with you in this moment. He desires to teach and grow you in the circumstances that have come to your life.
He desires that you look to Him in all things, knowing that more joy, more peace, & more love await you both in the here and now and in your very bright future. As time passes, He might bring you the exact thing that you desire. Or He might grow you past desires of the flesh to find a greater joy in Him and the things He has for you. He is truly everything that you need and that your eternal spirit truly desires! And He knows what you need, and will not forget those needs as you are a precious son of His (Luke 12:24)
As we gain more maturity in the Lord, we are able to see this process that the Lord is working out in our lives. We begin to have a greater measure of peace in the trials and sufferings that He brings us through.
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5) (see also 1 Peter 5:1 & many other places in the epistles)
Christ was made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10) and in doing so made a way for us to know God. But the ways of the flesh must be done away with and so the Lord brings judgment to our flesh. This is a process that is certainly always painful as long as we still count ourselves as citizens of the world together with our citizenship in His Kingdom.
But as we grow, we more and more, see that the Lord is killing off those parts of us that are of the world. This is important so that He can make us into a new wineskin that can receive the glory that is His new wine!
We know that we have experienced hardship before in our growing process towards the Lord and although we would never have chosen to go through what we did at the time. Looking back, we can see that we have grown mightily in the Lord. That we know Him more intimately than we ever could have imagined before. And that we are not just glad, but joyful for the sufferings we have endured. Peter said it like this…
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Thus as we grow, we are able to see & examine everything that happens to us in a new light. Did something wonderful “in the natural” happen?
We are able to take a step back and like the wise man say, “Hmmm, this seems good Lord, what are you doing by bringing this into my life? My joy in complete in you, but I say Thanks for bringing this because it seems good.” We are not carried away in the ecstasy of the flesh because the true joy in life is of the Lord and He never waivers.
Did something which seems terrible happen “in the natural”?
We are able to step back and say, “Hmmm, this is not what I would have chosen for today! Lord, what is your purpose for bringing this into my life?”
We count it as a blessing that we could suffer for the Lord. If we have given over our entire lives to Him, then isn’t He welcome to bring any discomfort if it will bring about a purified you who becomes closer than ever to Him?
It is true that sometimes the Lord brings a situation in order for you to grow in &/or assert your Kingdom authority and pray against the situation. Certainly, He has power over all and can and does use his children in such a way. It’s important to not only believe this is theoretically possible, but to so know your place in Him that you can step into the moment and command as a son of the Most Holy.
But there is a large portion of the church that has gotten carried away with the idea of “Authority” and look to administer that authority in every possible situation when in fact, the Lord has given them none. He will not grant every desire of the flesh to those who say they love Him even if that desire might seem righteous to the person involved. He desires to bring about His Glory in those who do love Him. And He brings about circumstances in the lives of such as these to enact this change.
Even now He is raising up Sons who willingly hand over every aspect of their lives to Him. That He can bring the fullness of His Glory into these which brings the fullness of His Kingdom to earth!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
You can watch the most recent series of Economic Update videos at: 1) European Debt Crises, 2) European Debt Crises 2, 3) MF Global, 4) Gold & Silver Pt 1, 5) Gold & Silver Pt 2, 6) Gold & Silver Pt 3, 7) World Economic Update., 8) World Economic Update 2, 9) The Chinese Economy, 10) Inflation or Deflation Concerns?, 11) Inflation Concerns Pt 2, 12) US Economic Update, & 13) US Economic Update 2.