Jesus was likened to a lamb because the nature of a lamb is gentle. Why is a lamb gentle? Because that is it’s nature. It doesn’t have to work at it, it just is even as much as the nature of a wolf is to be cruel, fearsome or attacking. A wolf doesn’t have to summon up courage in order to attack a sheep because the nature of the wolf is that of a predator. The nature, or predisposition of an animal determines it’s behavior. There is a reason why Jesus is the Lamb but also the Great Shepherd of His sheep. We are to accept His model of gentleness and yet trust Him to be the guardian of our lives.
One of the hardest things a person can do is to love others unconditionally, selflessly, because it requires self to be taken off of the throne of our hearts and let God rule over our nature. Our disposition must be given over to Him. It requires an exchange of our pride in order to take on the humble, gentle nature of a lamb, but until we do, we can never truly love others with a love that allows their nature to be changed.
The god of self demands it’s own rights. The god of self is proud, seeks preeminence, is impatient, unloving and envious. It is puffed up in self importance and behaves rudely. The god of self demands attention, craves worship and seeks it through the approval and recognition from others. The god of self embraces self pity, complains and is never satisfied. The god of self is suspicious, judgmental and speaks with a perverse tongue, caring not that it wounds others. The god of self caters to gossip, slander and unkind speech. It tears people down rather than building them up with love, reassurance and encouraging words. The god of self rejoices in iniquity and delightfully whispers the sins of others. The god of self is not interested in bearing the burdens of others. It is not restorative in any way. It destroys hope, binds faith and devours the souls of anyone it can overcome. The god of self puts SELF first and denies the gentle, loving nature of the Lamb.
The god of self makes room for the wolf nature, and this should be the greatest concern of our heart. Any place where the god of self remains in control, it keeps an open door for this wolf like nature to exist. This is the complete opposite of gentleness. The wolf nature is war-like. It is tenacious in studying it’s prey, swift in its attack, and ferocious in shedding blood. It rips and tears its prey. It is a destroyer and a devourer of anything that appears to threaten its territory. Above all, the wolf is deceitful, dangerous and treacherous. The interesting thing is, at times a wolf may appear to protect other pack members, but they have at their very nature a disposition to protect themselves at all costs, which makes them unpredictable and disloyal. The wolf is also a competitor because it competes with other humans and animals for it’s prey. Competitors are driven by envy, jealousy, and will use scheming and deceit to achieve their agenda. This is why Jesus warned believers to beware of those that attempted to deceive others by blending in but did not have the same Spirit. He noted false prophets and false teachers as “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” because they wanted to gain something by making prey of those that could not discern the difference in the spiritual nature. False brethren want acceptance and approval and will do whatever they think will win them acceptance and approval from others. They want to be seen as a “sheep,” so that they can exist among the flock - but it never for a good cause. The wolf nature is predatory. They exist to make prey of the unsuspecting. Wolves look for those they can take advantage of for the purposes of selfish gain. At times they look to fleece the flock for monetary gain, at other times it may be to try to gain the approval or acceptance of others through association with those that have a public profile or celebrity status. It is approval by association with men rather than approval by the Holy Spirit. Yet there are also other times when false brethren will attempt to elicit sympathy or loyalties from others for other purposes, but a wolf nature always looks for those that can be weakened or separated unto themselves to be made a prey. Their real agenda may not be known or understood until much later. A wolf in disguise will look for approval and acceptance from others in the flock that will provide for them the cover the need in order to exist among the rest of the sheep. Take note that a wolf will never expose another wolf. They need each other. It is the job of the true shepherds to pull the covers off of the wolves by speaking truth and expose their deceitful nature so that the flock of God will be safe. Know the spirit of those that are among you. Do not surround yourself with those of a wolf-like nature! Come out from among them!
Friends, how many of you have friends, associates, or social networking relationships with people you know cannot be trusted? Why would you keep them? Some say, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, that way you know what they're up to." This is just an excuse to remain curious about others but it can end up being just the door the enemy wants you to keep open so that he can sneak up on you and attack you when you're not anticipating it. Wolves prowl. They want to know your business. They formulate a strategy in order to attack and make prey of others at an opportune time. Be wise!
The wolf nature is symbolic of the soulish, unrestrained and unregenerate sin nature that exists in people that have not allowed the Holy Spirit to rule their heart.
Contrast the paragraph above with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The gentle nature of a Lamb is found in this portion of scripture. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy or parade itself. It is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek it’s own, is not easily provoked and thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in the sins or iniquity of others but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, and believes all things. Love thinks the best about others as it hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.”
A failure to love others stems from the self nature being flawed and prone to pride ruling our hearts rather than humility. Where there is bitterness, anger, fear or unhealed offenses, there will always be pride because pride is a defense mechanism. Pride puts self preservation first and tries to shield itself from fear of rejection or perceived disapproval of others. Truly loving others can only come from de-throning the god of self. The god of self, ruled by pride, resists having another Master. It resists humility and therefore fails in the effort to love others because LOVE is sacrificial, long suffering, kind and gentle. What then, is a person to do? How can one overcome the pride that causes us to stumble?
You’ve told yourself, “I’ve tried to love. I fail continuously. I cannot do it. It is just who I am.” This is a lie, intended to keep self rule in your heart. The Bible says, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) The Bible says, All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23). The Bible also says that if we have truly been saved by Jesus Christ, then the Spirit of the living God comes to dwell within us. If you have believed in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and confessed Him as Lord with your mouth, then let me ask you…” Have you asked Jesus to be Lord over your heart? Have you asked Him to be Master and rule the throne of your heart?” Only when we are truly willing to surrender all and allow God’s Holy Spirit to rule our thoughts, emotions, and responses can we take the god of self off of the throne. We must overthrow the power of self rule that allows rebellion to rule our nature.
The truth is, we have a hope that does not disappoint us, because “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). You do have the Spirit of Love, but perhaps you have not embraced this truth. It is time to throw away your own self righteousness and know it is as useless as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord! God loves us while we were yet sinners. Jesus gave us His all, the sacrifice of His love and His life, so that we could love as He does. He does not say it would be easy, but the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. If the love of God could reconcile us - sinners at odds with God and yet even while we were still enemies of Christ - then we must believe that the Holy Spirit will enable us to love others while they may yet still be enemies and pray for their hearts to turn - that they too will someday de-throne the god of self so that Christ may rule in them. We must believe that God has given us this ministry of reconciliation so that those that have not known the real, sacrificial love of God would understand the truth. They may have mocked, scorned, rejected and refused the outstretched hand of God because it came from those they despised, ridiculed, and chose to devour with angry words. They may have crucified those that God put in their life to make them free. They may have chosen to make enemies out of those that were only sent to pray them out of darkness and into the marvelous freedom that is truly in Christ. Do not stop praying for them. Make a choice to love them anyway. Throwing scripture at them doesn't win their hearts. Criticizing or condemning their choices only pushes them away. Your judgments don't demonstrate your love. It only speaks of your inability to accept them and love them through the battle for their soul. LOVE bears burdens. Love endures. Love isn't easy. If you are to walk away, God will let you know and you will have peace in your decision. God is the only one that knows when a person has made a choice in their heart to refuse His love or refuses to repent, and no one else can call that shot for you. Trust God to know when to stay and when to walk away.
Perhaps this is you today. Perhaps you are a parent that has been praying for a child, or you have been praying for friends, loved ones, co-workers or those that have misunderstood you. Jesus told us to continue to forgive those who trespass against us, pray and bless those that would spitefully use us or persecute us. It is like throwing down the gauntlet, knowing full well a war would ensue. How the enemy would love to bait us into engaging in war! Be wiser than serpents but as gentle as a dove. We are not to fight back, defend ourselves or take a proud position. Instead, "Let your gentleness be known to all men, for the Lord is at hand." (Phil. 4:5) Jesus didn’t tell us to love because it is easy; He told us to do it because only love can win a person's heart back to Him. He knows that we do not have the capability to love others without Him loving through us. Apart from Jesus doing the work in and through us, we can do nothing. We cannot bear good fruit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. Only as we abide in HIS LOVE and allow the life-giving force of His Spirit flow through us, can we effectively love those that are difficult to love. For this ministry of reconciliation, we must come to an end of ourselves and de-throne the god of self. We must admit our weakness and failure. We can only ask that the Spirit of the living God would take over and heal the fractured places in our heart that prevent us from loving as He does. We must ask Him to empower us to love with gentleness and kindness as He does. It is the gentle nature of the Lamb. This is the love that never fails.
I admit I am a failure when it comes to loving like You do. I confess my sins. I need a Savior just as much today as I ever have. I have tried to love others and I fail. I have a hart time loving those that are not loving towards me, but I reject that lie that it will always be my nature to fail at loving. You said in your word that the love of God has been shed abroad in my heart. I receive Your love by faith, but not just for myself. I also ask that you help me to shed that love abroad to others, and that love, peace and joy would overflow to help transform others by the power of Your love. I need less of me and more of You! Today I change my confession that with You, all things become possible. My nature can change. My ability to love others can change. I want to be healed so that my words and my love can become healing and life giving to others. I surrender my pride and emotions to You, Lord Jesus, and ask that Your Holy Spirit would rule on the throne of my heart. I surrender my fears, and I put myself on the altar. Lord, you said in Mal. chapter 3 that if I brought the whole tithe into your storehouse, you would pour out a blessing so large I wouldn’t have room enough to contain it. I don’t just bring you a tithe today, I bring all of me. It’s all I have. You’re not interested in just my finances, Lord, You want my heart. So here I am. My heart is flawed and greatly insufficient for the task at hand, so you can have it. I ask you to pour out the blessing of filling me with yourself even greater than I’ve ever known. I thank you in advance for the bounty of Yourself that I am about to receive. In Jesus name, amen.
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