In John chapter ten, Jesus uses an analogy of a shepherd and his sheep to describe His relationship with those who believe in Him. When I think of sheep, I think of the mighty bighorn sheep we have here in Colorado. It is actually our state animal. They might be sheep, but God has given them everything they need to protect themselves and thrive in the harshness of the wild. So it is with every believer in Jesus Christ! We are sheep, but we belong to Jesus and we are His sheep! We are under His protection and He has given us everything we need to be victorious over the wild harshness of this sinful fallen world.
Check out that huge male ram in the picture above! Those things get massive! This excerpt from Rocky Mountain National Park shows just how tough God created bighorn sheep to be.
“Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis)
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are the largest wild sheep in North America. Muscular males can weigh over 300 pounds and stand over three feet tall at the shoulder. Females are roughly half this size. Bighorn sheep are gray/brown to dark brown in color with white patches on their rump, muzzle and back of legs. Winter coats are thick, double-layered and may be lighter in color. Bighorn sheep shed these heavy coats in the summer.
They have wide-set eyes that provide a large angle of vision. This along with sharp hearing and a highly-developed sense of smell can detect dangers at great distances. Specialized hooves and rough soles provide a natural grip as bighorn sheep make precarious jumps and breath-taking climbs up and down sharp cliff faces.
As their name suggests, bighorn sheep have true horns that they retain throughout their life. Males, called rams, have large horns that curl around their faces by eight years of age. These horns can weigh up to 30 pounds. Females, called ewes, have smaller horns that curve slightly to a sharp point within the first four years of life.”
During the rut, “rams face each other, rear up on hind legs and pitch forward at speeds up to 40 mph. The loud crash of horns signals contact and can be heard up to one mile away. This ritual is repeated until one animal concedes and walks away. Bighorn sheep skulls are thick and bony to absorb this repeated impact with little physical injury to the ram.”
-National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/nature/bighorn_sheep.htm)
That’s one big tough sheep! 300 pounds ramming a 30 pound set of horns at 40 mph! Wow! God definitely gave them power! Sharp hearing and an intense sense of smell are excellent gifts to detect predators. How amazing it must be for them to have special feet that can grip the steep cliff faces of the Rockies. God has given them exactly what they need to be victorious in their lives.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and those who believe in Him are His flock.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
God has given us everything we need by the power of the Holy Spirit to be victorious! We are His sheep and He gives us protection and power! We are sheep, but the Lord has given us armor and a mighty shield and Sword to be victorious in the battles we face in this wicked world!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
That is some serious spiritual power from the Lord! What an amazing list of gifts God gives to His sheep! God knows we are out in the open and exposed. There are no safe spaces in real life. The enemy never stops prowling around and God knows we need to have the power of His armor to be victorious!
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
1 Peter 5:8-9
We need to be in that armor every day and be alert and pray for each other. We need to be like God’s flock of bighorn sheep as they sit exposed and vulnerable in the wild. They have their armor on and they look out for each other. Look at how they sit together, so nobody can be taken by surprise. They are sheep, but they are soldiers too and they are ready for battle.
“Lord Jesus, I pray that we would be strong in You and in Your mighty power! I pray that we would be suited up in Your armor every day! Thank you that we can extinguish all the attacks of the evil one through our faith in You! When attacks come, help us fight with the armor and weapons you gave us and give us victory by the power of Your Name! Amen!”
Next time the enemy tries to attack, take that shield of faith and ram him at top speed, then take out the Sword God gave you and cut him down! Thank you Jesus for giving us power to overcome every attack! Thank you for being a Good Shepherd and taking care of us! You have given us everything we need to be victorious!
Grace and peace to you all!
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”