The Thief and The Shepherd

“10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11 NASB

These verses are such a sharp contrast!  Verse 10 describes the thief that only takes what others have.  Verse 11 describes the shepherd that will give his own life for another.  I have used the words steal, kill and destroy as a litmus test to identify when darkness is operating in situations.  It has really helped me to avoid personal dynamics, engagements and circumstances that had the potential for trouble.  Sometimes it’s not always obvious.  I have to pay attention to subtle ways that things are being taken away.  It could be a conversation that subtracts from a person’s character.  It could be an activity that is draining me financially.  It could be a habit that starts to interfere with healthy practices.  By paying attention on a number of occasions , a small change has resulted in very significant benefits.  A simple contrast between what breathes life in versus what sucks life out has been an effective tool for me.

Interestingly enough, it has helped me pay just as much attention to life-giving things around me.  It might be a person in my life, a favorable situation, or an unexpected gift.  It’s nice to take the time to savor each one as a special treat from My Shepherd that takes such good care with me and wants only the very best for me!

Psalm 34:4-5, John 17:26, Psalm 139:14, Matthew 7:6, James 4:15-17

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