It wasn’t all that long ago when I decided I could be more successful at being a sheep, rather than being Superman. As hard a pill as that was to swallow, I must say that I am learning new ways to do things, and I am enjoying it. Some might say they would rather fail at being Superman, rather than succeed at being a sheep. I understand where you’re coming from, but believe me, you will fail. Sheep simply are not designed to be “super”. I have learned that they need the most care of all livestock, and they can be easily “flipped” onto their backs, from which point they cannot upright themself, and will literally starve to death in that position if no help arrives. I just love thinking of myself in these terms. Truth hurts sometimes. However, just because we are not “super”, does not mean we cannot tap into the “supernatural”, and the question becomes, just how do we do that? Let me see if I can approach this question by way of sheepology? If this is my new paradigm, then these are the glasses I look through.
First of all, sheep are not very bright, as a matter of fact, most resources called them down right stupid. I’m trying to be nice. (Since I am one.) The main duty of sheep is to eat, drink, and multiply. Spiritually speaking, I translate that as eat God’s word, drink of his Spirit, and be a witness. These are the main duties of a sheep. No where do you find sheep being called upon to fight a wolf, lion, bear, and etc. Sheep are not called upon to exert power. If a sheep fights, it dies. Plain and simple.
It is the Shepherd who does the fighting. We take too much on ourselves! It is the Shepherd who is the provider and protector of the flock. He exerts force and power. Therefore, the sheep taps into the supernatural by way of the Shepherd, and must stay close to Him if he expects to succeed. We need a Shepherd mentality! Let me put it this way, sheep are stupid but the Holy Spirit is not! Therefore, by way of the Holy Spirit in us, we have access to the Shepherd’s leading, by which we should by-pass our own intelligence if it disagrees with His, and trust Him completely. By this, there is no glory for us, because it is not our intelligence, but all glory be to the Shepherd, to whom it rightfully belongs, and not us stealing some of the glory because we now think we have become supersheep. We live on a “fault line”! (And I will explain that soon. Very important!)
Now if we could measure how full of the Holy Spirit we are, then we could develop a method of reference as to how close, or how far we are from the Shepherd. For example, if we could measure the Holy Spirit in me, and I measured as being half full, then I am half way too far from the Shepherd than I should be, and walking closer to danger. We should all want to be full of the Holy Spirit, and thereby as close to the Shepherd as we can get! Sheep love the Shepherd, if he is a Good Shepherd. This is what I call developing a “Shepherd mentality”.
If we are to succeed, our minds must be trained to see things as it is. This can be a hard thing to do! Because to our way of thinking, in the Kingdom of God, the way up is down and the way down is up! And we want to see up as up, but it is really down. And we want to see down as down, but it is really up. God says he will resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. He will put down whom he will put down, and raise up whom he will raise up. The path of humility is hard for us, and it requires a trained brain, and you might say a “Samurai Sheep”! (More on that another time.) Sound confusing? Not when you embrace your sheephood and realize that as part of God’s flock, if someone attacks you, the Super Shepherd comes to your defense, and you have just caused God to move in the earth, because you no longer claim to be Superman, but you agree with God and say, “Okay, Lord, I’m just a sheep, now be my Shepherd.” (And believe me, He will!)
Please allow me to illustrate this one more way that might clear any confusion you may still be having. If you don’t like thinking of yourself as a sheep, then perhaps this will be better? According to scripture, our Lord is the bridegroom, (male figure), and we are the bride! Okay, men, here we go again, if you want to really realize how this works you have to line up with scripture and stop taking so much on yourself! We have a big strong husband! Check this out!
My wife was shot in the eye with a B. B. gun when she was little. (She is mostly blind in that eye.) To this day she is afraid of guns! I keep a loaded gun in the house, but I seriously doubt she could use the thing if she had to! (Even though I have tried to show her.) However, if someone is breaking into our house to do harm, and I happen to be home? I grew up in the country shooting guns, and both my mom and dad were excellent shots. My dad was a Marine, and I did four years in the Army with the M-16. Then I did two years as a Correctional Officer in a men’s prison, and had to qualify on M-16 and pump shotgun both years. If someone is threatening my family and I am home? You better believe they are going to hear the thunder! And as the Bride of the Lamb? You better believe that if you embrace that, your Groom is gonna bring down some thunder no man can deliver! And here is where the Churches of Sardis, Laodicea, and Philadelphia come into play! (Also, the point about living on a fault line.)
The report card Jesus delivers on the seven Churches in Asia, at the beginning of the book of Revelation, is nothing short of amazing, and a little frightening, to consider that God knows our works and will not be shy about grading us! I’m going to make this short as possible, give you the bare facts, and let your mind fill in the gaps. Two of the Churches receiving the worst reports were Sardis, and Laodicea, and yet a close examination of what is said, would seem to indicate that neither of these two Churches had any external enemies attacking, or internal controversies perplexing, like the other Churches did.
It would seem that these two Churches should have been in the best shape of all! However, just the opposite! Jesus said to Sardis: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive – but you are dead.” (NLT Version)
To the Church of Laodicea, he called them lukewarm, and that he would spue them out of his mouth! He said they were wretched, miserable, poor, and blind! But their own report of themselves was: “I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!” (NLT) (They seemed to have it great!) Why must we be “afraid”, in order to have a proper fear of the Lord?
Now learn a lesson from the Church of Philadelphia, who got one of the best reports from our Lord. There is a reference to them having struggles with those who belong to Satan’s synagogue, those liars who say they are Jews but are not. However, I want to add some special information I stumbled on that really help me see this whole Superman Syndrome thing! The city of Philadelphia lived on a major earthquake fault line! The Anatolian fault line! In 17 a.d. they had an earthquake so bad that Roman Emperor Tiberius relieved them of paying taxes so they could rebuild! Earthquakes and after shocks were a continual thing in this area! As a matter of fact, many of the people moved out of the town, afraid to live in the city anymore! I believe these people had a constant reminder of how small they really were, and therefore, had a better picture of how big God is, and now take note of what Jesus says here:
“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no man can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” (Rev. 3:8 NLT)
Jesus said they had “little” strength, not that they had “a” little strength, but they had “little” strength, like a man opening a door for a woman! If the lady wants to open her own door, (Superwoman), most men will let them, but if she stands there all beautiful and batting those luscious eyes, what man will refuse to open the door for her? We take too much on ourselves and fail to realize how good we could have it, if we just understood what David understood, when he said, the Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall not want!
And this is key! Scripture speaks of the sin that so easily besets us! We all have our weaknesses! We all live on a fault line! Except for a constant flow of the Holy Ghost, none of us would stand! The next time you are trying to be Superman, remind yourself of the fault line you live on. Neglect your prayer life? Fail to drink of our Lord? Stray from his strong presence? The earth could open up and swallow you at any time! Pride goes before a fall! You’re not Superman! Stop getting so busy that you are too tired to spend the time in the presence of your Shepherd, and get back to the Anointing that will tap into God’s supernatural power and grace! (Oh. I would like to say so much more, but we are too long already.) The Good Shepherd “anoints” His sheep! Philadelphia had a constant reminder of how small they were, they had plenty of hardship against them, they knew how the earth could shake them, open and swallow them, and they had the best report from God! They understood weakness, their own weakness, and God’s great power, and they kept his word and did not deny him! In the midst of their weakness, God opened a door for them!
Okay, I hope I have given you enough to get the big picture here. Believe me, I’m trying to cut this short. In Part III I want to talk more about the negative effects of the Superman Syndrome, and offer some balance to this equation. I have a friend who has inspired Part III, but I will not use his name, other than it starts with the letter “T”, and Part III will have the subtitle of “Mr. T”!