Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray;…” There is a danger for every sheep that is in the fold of God to go astray. When we go astray it means we are outside the bounds of habitation that the Good Shepherd intended for us. It means to go in a way that is not according to His will.
Shepherds would lead their sheep to good pastures where they could be fed and be safe from danger. We too need to makes sure we stay in good pastures – God’s pasture. Here are two key points about staying in God’s pasture.
PUT UP SOME FENCES IN YOUR LIFE
People don’t like fences or boundaries in their lives; yet the Bible has a clear set of guidelines that we are to live by. We need to set up fences that are based on Biblical principles. God gives us the guidelines, but we set up the fences for ourselves. It is dangerous when we do not set up fences because we often will without thought cross out of the pasture of God’s will and blessing.
Fences are important for three reasons:
- Fences are for our protection – they keep the evil out.
- Fences set up the bounds of habitation – they tell us where we can safely roam.
- Fences identify us – they tell who we belong to.
For instance, the Bible says that drunkenness is a sin (Proverbs 23:30-35). Therefore I will set up some guidelines that will protect me from this sin of drunkenness. Some examples of fences would be: I will not drink alcoholic beverages; I won’t have them in my house; I won’t go to bars or night clubs (there are many principles as to why these are wrong). I won’t hang out with people who are going to do such things; if must go to a military function where it is served, I certainly won’t bring my family and will leave at the earliest opportunity. Why, because I don’t want to get out of the will of God. I may have a moment of weakness, but if I am on the right side of the fence I will not be near the sin and therefore not partake of it. Many Christians have fallen into sin because they were near sin at a moment of weakness. Self-imposed fences will help keep us from sinning against our Lord, not to mention will identify us with him.
But we also need to:
STAY CLOSE TO THE SHEPHERD
Even when people set up fences in their lives they still need to learn that danger lurks near to the fence. The best place to stay is in the center of the pasture, near the Shepherd. When we stay by the Shepherd we are:
- Staying close to His Word – the Bible
- Staying close to His Bride – the local church
- Staying close to His Heart – witnessing to the lost and serving others.
When we lurk near the fence (which is away from the Bible, Church, and God’s service) we are longing for things that are outside of His will and where danger is found. Don’t go there; stay close to the Shepherd. A good indicator as to how I am doing as a Christian is to test whether I am lurking near the fence or am I am staying close to the Savior.