We all have purpose, but having purpose and fulfilling it can be two very different things. Knowing who we are, understanding the direction to take, and seeking the right guidance on our way down the path we have chosen are all important, but it’s also helpful to realize that identity can be self-guided, or can be aided and influenced by others.
Sheep and Wolves
I believe our identity can fall largely into two categories. We can be “sheep” who are guided by a shepherd and additionally shielded by a flock. Having reliance on a shepherd is critical, and as long as that shepherd is doing his job and the sheep are trusting in his ability, then all is well. We can safely live in harmony with our brothers and sisters with confidence. “Wolves”, on the other hand, are guided by themselves. There is no shepherd, but rather wits and opportunity. Coordination comes from within the pack and their survival depends on it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the worries can be greater. If danger arises the pack must work it out on its own, and if they are hungry, there is no one to take them to the best place to feed, so they must work together to stalk their next meal
Additionally, there is a third category, “Serpents” often work solo and they are opportunists. They are stealthy and at the same time are on the lookout for weakness. It’s a necessity for them. Their survival depends on the ability to find the innocent, and either crush or poison their victim so they can consume them. There is no other choice. For them to live freely, they must grasp opportunity tightly, even if it smothers someone else in the process.
So who are you?
As I’m sure you know already, these three animals are distinctly mentioned in God’s Word. Sometimes in a positive light and other times something more dark. Such is also true of us. We can live in a positive light and seek things that are fruitful to us, or we can live in darkness and take what we can by any means necessary. The important thing is knowing the difference. Sometimes the sheep is thought to be naive, but its shortcomings are shielded by the shepherd. The wolf has greater risk, but it is skilled and understands the importance of cohesiveness. The serpent is independent, but it is wise.
As people, we should learn from each of them. We should know the importance of following the Shepherd.
John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
We should know that the cohesive and cunning of the wolf can be a blessing, as it was for Benjamin.
Gen 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Finally, it is good to be wise like a serpent, but do so with the guidance of the shepherd in mind.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Who Are You?
This is something that needs to be asked rather than told, because it is up to you to choose who you are. It is your choice to determine who you will follow, what you will love, and how you will respond to others. Yes, God has a purpose for you, but it is up to you to contribute to that purpose. Do you want to be part of a larger body, a small group, or roam solo. It all comes down to personal choice. If you want to be someone, it’s up to you to be that person. If there is honor in it, then I have no doubt God will guide you in it.
Prov 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Today is a gift, just as tomorrow and the next day. It is a chance for you to define yourself and this starts with your heart. Is it focused on getting guidance from the Shepherd, or is it seeking something else? Where do you find your safety or do you even feel secure? Are you making wise choices, or are you taking risks while uncertain of the results? Most importantly, are the answers to these questions what you would like them to be? If not, then maybe it’s time to make some changes, and if they are, then it could be time to build on and reinforce those things that make you who you are. Thank you for reading and God bless.