Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Good Shepherd and Practical Living

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
How does the Good Shepherd seeking and finding His lost sheep translate into practical day-by-day living? If the Savior gives us a good faith-relationship with Himself, shouldn't it be fair for us now to "maintain" that "relationship" by (a) Bible study, (b) prayer, and (c) witnessing? If the Lord gives you a new car, isn't it fair that you "maintain" it by changing the oil, renewing the brake pads, paying the insurance, etc. etc.?

Yes, of course, only fair. But a lot of cars get dilapidated by not being "maintained," the new car thrill wears off; and also lots of people lose their "relationship with the Lord" by neglect and forgetfulness. So we have "revival" campaigns at various intervals. And of course, all that is good.

It sounds like such reasonable good sense that millions know no other way to be Christians. But when you think it through, isn't this the essence of the "by faith plus by works" idea? We're afraid of any Good News that's better than that lest making the Good News too good might lull us to sleep and we'll forget to keep the law. The "faith plus works" idea becomes immensely popular because it seems to be the only way people can stay "faithful." (The Old Covenant is loath to give way to the New Covenant.)

If the Good Shepherd has risked His own life to save the lost sheep, doesn't it make good common sense that He require the sheep now to walk its way home? Yes, of course, that's only fair; but that's not what the parable says: "When He hath found it, He layeth it on His shoulders, rejoicing" (Luke 15:5). Paul says in Philippians: "I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus" (1:6, Good News Bible). What does that mean? Lazy, do-nothing religion?

No; it means that through the Holy Spirit the Good Shepherd who initiated this good "relationship" now seeks to maintain it. His love is not only a finding love, it's also a keeping love. The Holy Spirit is a Person who keeps convicting us of "sin, ... of righteousness, [and] of judgment" (John 16:7-11). Be careful: don't drown His voice. That's where our problem starts.
Even Jesus when he was with us in the flesh needed His Father to wake Him up "morning by morning ... to hear as the learned." (Does the Father love you less? It seems fair and good sense to say No, He loves His Son more; but the amazing truth is He loves us just as much!) But Jesus did not resist His Father's awakening calls--as we do so often: "I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" (Isa. 50:4, 5).

Mr. Laodicea, you can't save yourself even one percent. But you can LET Christ save you, you can "LET this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," you can "LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly," etc. (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:16). You can stop resisting Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 12, 2003.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Be sure to check your e-mail for "Dial Daily Bread" again tomorrow.
Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. The "Dial Daily Bread" Web site resides at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message


Robert J. Wieland's inspirational "Dial Daily Bread" messages are availalbe via e-mail to anyone who wishes to receive a daily portion of uplifting Good News. "Dial Daily Bread" is FREE. Due to travel or other circumstances, there may be intervals when "Dial Daily Bread" will not be sent.