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Weekly Devotionals

Our Shepherd Who Loves

<Psalm 23>

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they
comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
f
orever.

Do you like yourself? It’s normal if you say yes. It’s also normal if you say no.

We all have different sides of us that we like, cherish, and want to show to others, while we have sides that we don’t like, are not proud of, and want to hide from others. Having the dichotomy is a normal human experience, as we see Paul also struggled and shared in the book of Romans. Yet we often want to ignore the fact that the battle is going on internally. It is hard for us to acknowledge that both parts are who we are, and they will always co-exist.

And having social media showing all the ‘good parts’ of others’ lives doesn’t help. If we indulge ourselves in others’ ‘good parts,’ the partial truth about their lives, it significantly impacts our mood, self-concept, and perspective on our life.

What do you do when you notice the bad parts of yourself? The imperfect, incompetent, unloved, and prideful parts of you. Do you know if you hide it? Do you rebuke it? Do you make excuses? We don’t like to feel those feelings, so humans have developed a skill to protect ourselves from feeling those bad feelings. It’s called a defense mechanism. It works so seeminglessly that we often don’t even notice that we use those tactics.

Today’s chapter, Psalm 23, describes us as passive, unwise, and powerless sheep. The shepherd that comes to provide, protect, and care for His sheep is kind, generous, and faithful. And He seems not bothered by the sheep’s weakness and limitations nor impressed by the good things the sheep can do. He cares and leads. He knows all the needs and wants and meets them more than expected, and the author confesses His cup overflows.

He loves you, my friend, and He cares. He cares regardless of your good or bad parts. He cares because He is a Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. If you are aware of your bad parts, your imperfections, and your shame, let us draw near to our Shepherd. He loves as a whole, He loves entirely, and He loves to the end.