Only the presence of the Good Shepherd can meet the Four Requirements to MAKE a Sheep Lie Down. Here’s number two:
Because of their social behavior within a flock sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind.
Listen to Timothy Keller:
“When idolatry is mapped onto the future – when our idols are threatened – it leads to paralyzing fear and anxiety. When it is mapped onto the past – when we fail our idols – it leads to irremediable guilt. When idolatry is mapped onto the present life – when our idols are blocked or removed by circumstances – it roils us with anger and despair.”
I’m an atta-boy addict. I demand it from those close to me, early and often. Withhold it and a button gets pushed. “Do you like the faithful service and support I provide around here? Haven’t heard a thank-you lately. Did you not notice?” Now, add in the slightest hint of suggestion or correction, and you just pressed the red nuke button. I escalate into full blown entitled demands. “Why are you so good at catching me do it wrong? A little thanks would go a long way. How about some encouragement? Am I on the inside of this team? I sure feel like the bumbling idiot. Oh, I am so inadequate.”
A cow swats me with a well-aimed tail, knocking my glasses off. I can’t find them. I can’t see. I want to punch something. An unexpected, skillful hind leg kick somehow crushes my forearm between bone and steel. I do punch something. Out fly previously suppressed profanities. Dross arising!
Sometimes, by God’s grace, I hear myself articulating my idea of the good life that’s been denied; partly directed toward those close to me, partly at God. It’s an awareness, a subtle inward shift in my soul. Hot anger shifts to piercing conviction. I feel my need for remedy more than my demand for approval. I own the dross and confess my sin.
Prayer: Father, I want applause, approval, and praise from others. But that enslaves me. At night I toss in bed at snubs, at being ignored. Criticism feels like death. Help me live out of the joy and stability of knowing that I am your child and heir and that in Christ you delight in me. Amen.
Photo Credit: Bighorn Sheep, Cunningham Outdoors, LLC
 Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, pg. 149.
 Timothy and Kathy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, pg. 227.