The Black Sheep — Many of us are familiar with this modern phrase which “labels” those who have “wandered away” from God, family, or society, following after evil rather than good, and going their own way. But Jesus doesn’t “label you” … He loves you and you are precious to Him. Yet, He does sees that you, perhaps, have “gone astray” and “are lost” and may be in “deep trouble” from not staying near Him. Therefore, He will seek you out. Until He finds you. He desires your return into His Arms.
Full of love and compassion toward you, He desires to find you, that you will let Him in, so He may get you out of whatever mess you discover your sin has gotten you into. Believe me, our choices to sin have “consequences”… some long-lasting or devastating ..and the longer a person remains “as a sheep who has gone astray”, the more entanglements that can bind or ultimately destroy you. You may not even realize you are “caught” or “snared” right now, but you are, if you are not walking with Jesus.
I have GOOD NEWS for YOU, even if you see yourself as the Black Sheep.
Jesus wants to lift you up out of the consequences of your sin, and carry you upon his shoulders, leading you out as your Good Shepherd, as much as He wants to save you as your Savior. God is able to LIFT YOU UP and OUT of any thicket or deep pit into which you have fallen, if You will LET HIM find you. Amazing revelation of the Lord’s heart toward you is found in Luke 15, which we will look at in a moment.
Some wandering sheep HIDE, or run further away, for they are afraid to BE FOUND. They are afraid of punishment, of judgment, of ridicule, of rejection. I am convinced that you fear repenting because you are ashamed. You are not sure how you will be received back into the fold. You “feel” as an outsider…unaccepted. Yet you must let the sweet conviction of conscience lead you into Jesus’ forgiving and loving arms, and not allow Satan’s heavy condemnation upon those in iniquity to keep you running away from The One who desires to and CAN help you! The Lord Jesus desires you, and desires your company. You must decide to trust His love, not rely on Your given fear. You DO have a choice. Jesus will not take away your free will…but you are never really “free” until you know and follow Jesus, whose will you were “created” TO follow.
Let’s look at how our scriptural passage, Luke 15:2-7 begins, so you may “know” your Jesus, a little better. We tend to trust only those we know, right?
This passage begins by people who came to hear Jesus, then murmuring among themselves concerning Jesus, saying, “This man receives sinners, and eats with them!!” They thought this pretty horrible, as they were considered “righteous” themselves, and Jesus was now going to be instructing them as they gathered. “Where were Jesus’s high standards?” they thought within themselves. I assure you, Jesus does have high standards, and his standard of love and patience with people is high too. Yes, having been a black sheep myself, righteous people, though meaning well, can be judgmental toward one they have labeled as “a black sheep”. Maturity eventually brings them around to understanding that it is “sin” that was judged by God at the cross, placed on Jesus, and that the sinner is to receive the freedom purchased. And until one does, they will BE a sinner, and can’t lift themselves up. Jesus condemns the sin in us, while fully loving each one of his creation.
So… this is how Jesus, the GOOD Shepherd, responded to these righteous people…
He spoke these words from his mouth:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the 99 in the wilderness, and GO AFTER the one which is lost, UNTIL He find it? And when he HAS found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing!”
(Now,take time to look at the above picture and meditate on this truth… He doesn’t yell at the sheep, kick it, make it follow behind the flock in shame, kill it for it deserves it, etc. He lifts HIS sheep, He smiles, He enjoys it’s company, the sheep rides upon Him in its weakened state (probably needing some mending, which the Shepherd will do.). He is excited and happy! He has HIS sheep! Yes, he owns you, but praise God he does! As the sheep, you are now safe and secure. You need not worry of it any longer being in the enemy’s hands!)
And when he comes home, he calls together HIS friends and neighbors saying unto them, “REJOICE WITH ME! – For I have found my sheep which WAS LOST.”
(Now, all those acquainted with Christ will also share in the rejoicing! For they see the Lord’s happiness of your return!)
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner THAT REPENTS, more than over 99 JUST PERSONS which need no repentance.”
Imagine that, you return, and all of heaven will be full of great joy!
What is delaying you? Who is delaying your return? I declare to you, that you are free to return. You don’t have to be perfect to be picked up. Just repentant. It is just your heart’s desire crying out in surrender, “Jesus!” – for he is “seeking” to “save you” even with this blog article. it says in this passage that He will “GO AFTER” the one who is lost, “UNTIL” He find it. I’m sure you “know” in your heart, if he is going after you. You sense Him drawing you near. He knows his sheep, and those who will be his sheep.
—————–My testimony – I was once The Black Sheep ————————————
Jesus sought me out too. So I know what I share herein is very true of the Lord…and what he has spoken of throughout all of Luke 15. I have been a wandering lost sheep, and a prodigal son, and I can tell you this, I never ever desire to depart from the Lord or his flock (believers in Christ) ever again!! It is the most miserable life one can live: knowing you are “a sheep” but not “with” the Shepherd or walking along with His Flock! You can’t enjoy “the World” for Jesus is seeking after you; and you can’t enjoy “Believers” for you are not one in Spirit with them. So you are just plain miserable! I went away from the Lord Jesus as a teenager. Though I had made Jesus my Savior as a young girl and followed his ways for years, it was in “my head and not in my heart”…”from law not from the spirit”…and so as an older teen I wanted my own way, and certainly desired no one dictating to me what I should or should not do! …My rebellion landed me in with a wild bunch… almost too eager to include me, “the pastor’s daughter” in their riotous living. Satan’s lies led me astray, thinking I was “missing out on something” out there “in the world”. I had immoral relationships trying to find love, and unchristian friendships to share in my rebellion, and I did all the worldly things that God hates… called “sin”. Now cleansed and forgiven, I will not elaborate for those things remain shameful to me… nor do I blame others, for I was even “a leader” in that lifestyle, using this attribute of my character for the “wrong side”…advancing the kingdom of darkness more than the kingdom of God, in those days.
AND THEN, the thicket I found myself entangled in was indeed very ominous: …I, a 17 year old pastor’s daughter, discovered myself unwed and pregnant, ostracized by man, unable to fulfill my plans for college, and not having a clue what to do. I discovered myself as “lost” in so many ways. Was I saved? Was I loved? How could I ever amount to anything! How could I have been so foolish as to go away from God? I saw my true condition was that I “was” lost and and I was “astray”. I had no relationship to God, so how could I call upon Him to help me?… and how could I possibly cope with all my consequences? I lost a four year college scholarship, I was in a loveless relationship with a man who wasn’t a believer and so I knew I had no desire to marry him… I had caused chaos in my household as my sin caused my pastor father to feel he needed to resign the church… and then my 4 other siblings were angry with me for we had lived in the same area over 10 years and they’d have to leave friends and school. I had a baby on the way that I would felt so immature and scared to raise. I was indeed “the black sheep”! …suddenly despised by the “righteous ones” in my small town…for I caused so much scandal and pain by my sin. But believers loved me still too…weird, how it is… but I now understand ..for they only wanted me to be sorry for my sin…enough to repent. They saw my folly before I did. They saw the deceitfulness of Satan’s lies upon my life. They saw how my sin, sinned against others. I had been in “a web of deceit”…
And yet, Jesus himself lovingly reached down, lifted me up, and set me in with the flock… once again loved and accepted. I had to repent first. And repent I did. And then Jesus began to work inside of me and God began to put the pieces of my shattered life back together. He used his people (believers) to help me get my life back on track. Upon returning to Him, I knew I WANTED to do things HIS way, and not my own way. I knew I would now CHOSE God’s plans over mine. The church would not accept my father’s resignation…but reached out to me in Christian love. In fact, I discovered my true friends WERE the ones with Christ in them, not my worldly friends… They abandoned me as I came to Jesus. Family stayed loving and true, as I sought the Lord, and God blessed me with a wonderful son, who is loved dearly to this day and is now 35! I left the sin behind…and clung to Jesus. God put all my black sheep’s life behind me, and even took the stain of my sin away, making me clean and pure through Jesus’ blood, which purchased me from the Kingdom of Darkness. Oh, it is indeed more joyful and blessed to be Lifted Up by Jesus! So now, 35 years later, I bear testimony that when I returned way back then…and let Jesus “carry me upon His shoulders”, joy-peace-righteousness (the kingdom of God within) returned as part of my daily life.
I, will, however, also bear testimony that my sin’s consequence carried on to my son’s struggles, causing him pains of rejection, questioning his belonging, and battling of low self-esteem, for our sin never affects only ourselves. Regrets do not go away, but they are forgiven. You may be free, and forgiven, but you may not be able to free someone else of the pain your sin had upon them. This is why “NOW” is the time to return. Not even a month, or a year later. You could marry the wrong person, go into the wrong line of work and miss God’s plan for you…or you could die and go to hell. The rapture could take place or a nuclear strike upon your land. The risk to wait, to come upon Jesus’s shoulders, is a huge risk! I am feeling within, today especially, an urgency for this message to be written. Maybe it is Just For YOU.
Jesus is a Good Shepherd, and He gives his life for His Sheep…and they Hear His Voice…and He takes full responsibility for “leading”. We only need to follow. And sometimes He carries us. And his rod and staff, they comfort us, for he wards off the enemy or brings us back closer with them.
SO, to close…. I believe this is for SOMEONE whom will hear the Lord’s voice today saying, “It is you I seek out”…. “Will you allow me to lift you up?” “Will you return and repent, That I am able to heal you and put the pieces of your life back together?”
“HEAVEN WILL REJOICE AT YOUR RETURN. AND SO WILL I “
Read Luke 15…the whole chapter… to know the Lord’s heart toward you. I myself desire you to RETURN to, or COME to, Jesus.. He awaits you with open arms, loving heart, and anticipated relationship!
How do you return? Just cry out to Jesus in repentance using your own words of surrender… or if you prefer, pray this prayer: “Father, please… forgive me all my sin and wandering away from your will and purpose…and deliver me Lord, from going my own way, and not caring about your will for my life. I accept you, Jesus Christ, as my Savior, and receive now your blood to wash away all of my sin. Untangle me from my sinful ways and any people or circumstances that cause me to sin, that I may enjoy being close with you, and joyful !! Put me on the right path, leading somewhere: toward peace, joy, and righteousness! Let me know your perfect will for my life, filling me with the knowledge of you, Jesus, and you, God my Father, through your Word. Begin “fulfilling me” in my day-to-day activities, for you are my creator, and know my purpose. Please undo all the damage that Satan has caused by my living my life my own way and sinning against you. Keep me mindful of what is right and pleasing in your sight, as your laws are written upon my heart over the days ahead. Lead me now. Lift me up, and carry me. Mend me, for I was indeed lost, and now need rescuing, and healing, and “loving on” by someone I can trust. Thank you Jesus, that your love has “found me” today. I receive your love as the air I breathe. I believe I am a new creation, given your own divine nature, so I can do all you desire me to do. Breathe life into me, as I now come to you Jesus. Fill me too, with your Holy Spirit, that He will teach and instruct me in righteousness, and remind me day by day what you have to say. I will believe and receive now your forgiveness and love, your counsel and wisdom, your acceptance and joy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
HE LOVES YOU, dear ONE…Let Him Lift you up and Carry you Out!
Written by Elizabeth Norland, May 24, 2013. Additional articles by Elizabeth are under “Archived Articles” in this blog’s menu above. Enjoy them, for they are full of spiritual encouragement and comfort. Her music website is http://www.handmaidenmusic.com.
If you are not the black sheep, please share this blog on your facebook or social media using the share link below, for you never know whom Jesus is seeking to find….to lift up… and you will have a part in bringing them to Jesus. You will not lose your reward. It may not be someone in your circle of friends, but someone in their circle of friends as this is passed on by them. The internet is a big fishing net for harvest. Amen?! (smile) And…please pray for someone you know, by name, to be found….and Lifted Up!