This is my favorite anecdotal saying – Jesus is a Shepherd and Satan is a cowboy.
I picked this saying up from a book I once read and still go back to from time to time. The title is “The Lord Told Me, I Think” by Don Matzat – perfect title, right??? How many times do we question if we have really received a “word” from the Lord? Sometimes we think we get a “word” and begin to move forward, and then all of a sudden we begin questioning ourselves. Or suddenly we feel compelled to just do something, and our passion about it may deceive us into thinking we are being Spirit-led when, in fact, we are not! How can we really know???
In this book there is a section for “Pushed or Led?”. In it, Mr. Matzat says this:
“When you are faced with a decision, before you take a step of faith, I suggest you ask yourself, “Do I feel pushed or shoved in this direction?” If you feel pushed, I would back off. Remember, God is not in a hurry.
The book of John describes Jesus as a Shepherd. It is the task of the shepherd to go before the sheep and lead them. Jesus is not a cowboy who drives – or pushes – cattle. You cannot drive sheep. They scatter. Sheep have to be led. The shepherd has to be very patient.” (p. 147)
The author’s words made so much sense to me, and I often thought about this whenever faced with a decision. This is why I coined the phrase that I am sharing with you now. I have even shared it with my friends whom have loved it, too. One of them has found it so helpful she plans to make it into word art for her hobby room as a continual reminder.
Whenever we feel rushed into something, we should pause to see if we are feeling led or pushed. We must remind ourselves that we are NOT cattle, but SHEEP! Sheep can ONLY be led. Jesus is a SHEPHERD, so He will NOT RUSTLE US like a herdsman. Through prayer journaling, there have been times when God will speak something to me that I do not understand, but I will make a note of it anyway. Within a couple of weeks, something will come up, and I will recall that earlier thought from the Lord, and immediately know how to respond or what direction to take.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
In my book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” I share that in the autumn of 2008, I began to have thoughts that maybe God was telling me I would soon be leaving my job. I would feel impressed about it at various times. I did not feel like the Holy Spirit was telling me to quit my job, but preparing me to leave it. After a few impressions, I went to a blank page in the back of my Prayer Closet Organizer and titled it “Leave Job?” Thereafter, every time I felt God speaking to me about it, I made a journal entry with the date and circumstances that made me feel that way. Some things I noted were practical things like a new General Manager to whom I reported which I knew I was not in line with philosophically. One night while singing a comtemporary worship song that was new to me, these words stood out from the song “Love is Here”,
- “Come to the waters,
- you who thirst and you’ll thirst no more.
- Come to the father,
you who work and you’ll work no more.
- And all you who labor in vain and to the broken and shamed:
Love is here.”
Because of these impressions, and several more, I even changed the way I spent money that Christmas, trying to prepare for what the next year might bring. Well, on January 6, my Director of HR came down and shared the news that I along with 3 other managers would be leaving the company. As you will recall the US was in the middle of an economic downturn, and the automotive industry, where I was an HR Manager, was taking a huge hit. We had just opened a brand new facility in 2008 in a neighboring town. My corporate office had relocated multiple families down to Tennessee from the dying Detroit area to keep these loyal employees in work at our new facility. Due to the economic decline, the new facility would be closing since GM would be closing the plant they supplied. Our corporate office elected to hold on to the employees and managers they had recently moved to Tennessee, and understandably so, which included a HR Manager. As my director was sharing the news of my layoff, his eyes filled with tears, but I was a cool as a cucumber. I was not panicked, but could only think that this is what God had been preparing me for, and I left there in complete peace. This is only one example of how God has led me.
It is important to recognize moments like these. Moments when God is trying to speak to us. And, I hope my anecdote will help you along in your journey. So, the next time you feel rushed, say to yourself:
“I am a sheep. Jesus is a Shepherd. Satan is a cowboy”
and see if that doesn’t give you some clarity.
For some videos with additional insight on being Spirit-led, please check out these other posts: