In October of 2005, American Idol winner Carrie Underwood released the popular song “Jesus take the wheel.” It was a song that was played on various radio stations and was downloaded repeatedly. This Grammy award-winning song received the status of double platinum in the U.S., and was certified as Gold in Canada. It was a song that provoked the notion that we all need the guidance of Jesus, but we must surrender in order for our lives to find direction. In the chorus of this song the lyrics are as follows:
“Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own”
“I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel”
Like this song, the scripture of Psalm 23 which is a familiar passage reminds all of us that we need the guidance of God in our lives. The Bible makes it clear that the Lord is indeed the Good Shepherd over the flock of those who are willing to follow Him. In the first two verses of Psalm 23 it says in the NIV, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,” The key word in this scripture is “lead.” The Lord is there to lead us and guide us.
If you read further it says in verse 3, “he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” We should look at God as one who will lead us and guide us. Often times we attempt to steer or guide our own lives into a certain direction. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “I am the captain of my own ship?” Those who operate in such a manner are destined for failure, because they are leading themselves without the one who can steer them away from calamity.
In John 10, Jesus is speaking to Pharisees about the concept of being the Good Shepherd. In the beginning verses, Jesus gives the example that anyone who tries the enter the sheep pen by any other means is a thief and a robber. He then goes on to say that the sheep know the voice of the shepherd and they follow, but the voice of a stranger they will not follow. In verse 7 Jesus says, (NIV) “Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” In verses 14-15 He says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
What Jesus is saying is, that He is the good shepherd. He is the one who leads, guides, and protects those who are within His fold. Our lives have meaning and direction when we are willing to submit to the leadership of Christ. There are so many voices that are calling out to us, trying to get us to veer off course. However, if you are in Christ and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, then you will learn to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd through relationship.
Everyday, voices in the world call us with the attempt to get our attention. From the media, to sources on the internet, to those within our lives. These are sources that are vying for our attention with the effort to lead and command a following. The fact is, our world has become built on the element of “following” others. For example, Twitter has etched the word “follow” in the minds of many which has caused the campaign of “Follow us on Twitter.” This isn’t to say that social networking is a bad thing, however the goal shouldn’t be to follow after the things of this world.
Instead, our lives should be centered around a Holy God who leads us and guides us. It is God who assists us in avoiding the pitfalls of life. Seeking after the things of this world and following the order set in place, will always lead to confusion and eventual ruin. However, as verse 3 says in Psalm 23, the Lord guides us along the right paths for His name sake. If we are willing to give up our own way, and acknowledge God and His sovereignty, then He will guide us on His righteous path.
The path of a sin filled life is one of calamity. There are so many in our society today that are seeking peace and attempting to lead their own lives. However, many do not find peace but they find trouble. Instead of finding a lack of peace, Psalm 23 verse 2 says that the Lord leads us beside still waters. This means, God leads us in the way of peace. To see a body of water that is still is to focus on an entity that is calm or peaceful.
There is one major attribute of the Good Shepherd that we should not overlook and that is, His willingness to find us where we are. In Luke 15 verses 3-7, Jesus is speaking to tax collectors, sinners, and Pharisees when He gives what is called the “Parable of the Lost Sheep.” In this parable He says in verses 4-7:
(NIV) “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
This is what the Good Shepherd does for all of us. He seeks to find us because we are lost in our sin. While there will be those that remain in their sin and will be lost, God never stops looking for each individual. The invitation to receive salvation and to be welcomed into the fold is open to all. As the above scripture points out, the Good Shepherd will leave the rest of the flock to go after the one who is lost.
That is how much God loves you and I. He loved you so much that He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. It is in that act of love that we have the opportunity to be brought back to God through connection with Christ. Are you lost and wandering in the ways of this world? Have you tried every method to achieve peace and stability only to find that nothing works? The best way to find peace and stability is to accept Christ as your savior. The Good Shepherd, He is waiting for you.