A believer’s learning about God and his or her stability in faith depends to a considerable extent on the shepherd that feeds. This also says that a believer is not exempt from his or her duty. Nevertheless, it all begins with the shepherd. Jesus said He is the good shepherd meaning that He will only lead His people with and into good. He leads His shepherds for the same; for He molds them as good by grinding them more than any other. A good shepherd never compromises the truth, though on occasion he may slip as a person in the flesh. This is the distinguishing mark between a true shepherd and the one that is not. But how can you make this out?
One thing you as a believer or one with some knowledge of God can do is start with yourselves. The way for it is to start reading the Word. Begin taking God’s commands into your heart. At the same time pray for a good understanding. Praying keeps Satan at bay; he is kept from confusing you, causing procrastination in you and from fearing the word. God works in you. When and not if, Christ, the good shepherd Himself, gives you the understanding of commands, you will be able to discern a good teacher of Christ. It is very important to have a shepherd who is God ordained or filled with the Holy Spirit. For see what He says, “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15).
A true teacher of the word comes from the very own heart of God. He relays His exact feelings toward you. God feeds him for it. Next, see what God says – a shepherd feeds you with knowledge and understanding. Shepherds are chosen for the sole purpose of conveying God’s desire. And not all are called to shepherd. In other words, if you are not called to shepherd, it is for something else, and you need feeding. Then you would need everything necessary for life from the gospel. It is here a shepherd comes in. There are a number of shepherds that compromise the truth. The reasons could be the following. They are not really born again. Meaning, they are of man-made traditions. They are not permitted to know the deep things of God. They speak only in improvisation or invention, which for many can be amazing. Satan makes it appear as truth. So, you cannot truly know them if Christ’s commandments are not working in you. Moreover, the meaning of being born again differs in them. Again, some shepherds could be born again persons, but have turned away either by the deceitfulness of the Enemy, greed or some personal want. In this case also the obvious act would be compromising the truth. They refrain from declaring some commands of God. Their star might have even been removed from them. The first kind is more like an illiterate and the second a clever literate. Where does this leave you or any believer? Too far away from God’s will, purpose, guidance, promises and blessings. So, it is for you to find out a good shepherd of Christ. It’s easy, because Jesus does not want you to be directionless and fail and be miserable. He wants to establish you for His sake and yours. He who bled for you on the cross and makes you sinless does not slumber. So, He guides you to find him.
A good number of church-goers are satisfied with their shepherds, because it satisfies their way of life; it encourages and supports it. They are not told to quit. They are happy to do works for God that are in their power and expect God to accept them. They override themselves repeatedly to feel that God is glorified. They practice self-rule principle, but infer it to God. Self-rule always runs on feelings. In this case, these also are clever. When a time of appraisal comes, like Adam they say or intend to say, “It’s not me, it’s the shepherd whom You gave me.” The problem with these is they never read or recite God’s commands. They only seek Him in trouble. They never know the Scripture that said God does not hear a sinner’s prayer. Yet, He hears a sinner’s prayer when he begins with repentance. The shepherds too have earmarked them for emotional embezzlement. Consider the greats such as Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul, etc. All were beset with weaknesses. Yet, they never compromised God’s truth and justice; they did not set them aside when faced them. It was because they came out hating the very wrong doings they did and praised God.
God, for your sake, wants you to recognize His provision for you. “But by a prophet the LORD brought Israel from Egypt, and by a prophet he was kept” (Hos. 12:13). A prophet or a shepherd is obligatory. He should be able to lead you out of suffering, sin, pain and lack by directing you with God’s message as well as force you to seek His will, word and presence. You must be kept by him by the proof that God is working through him. However, unless you yourselves depend on God, you may never find a good shepherd of Christ, if you already don’t have one. May God lead you as you trust Him for it!