While I am still catching up - here is part three in my thoughts about shepherding my children. Part one is here and part two is here.
My natural thought after studying Psalm 23 and its applications in shepherding my children is to ask, "How?"
It is not all that hard to make the observations from Scripture - but now to apply it to my daily life is a bit harder.
I remember that I am both a sheep under the Chief Shepherd and a shepherd over the little children God has placed in my care. So, my very first job must be to submit to the leadership and authority over me.
Time with the Shepherd. Starting my day out by studying His Word, learning all I can about Him. I cannot imitate someone I do not know. I must make a very real and diligent effort at learning His example so I can live it.
Following the Shepherd. Psalm 23 says that He leads me, He guides me, He provides for me. I must follow Him so that He can lead me ~ for when I am following Him, He is leading and guiding me. Therefore, He is really the one leading and guiding my children along with me.
Remembering my goal. My goal is to please God, to do what He has called me to do with willingness, an eagerness to serve and without selfish ambition. This will require my complete dependence on God for I know that I cannot accomplish this goal without His help and strength.
Thinking of the sheep. Being in a position of authority and leadership requires me to think about what is best for those in my care. Am I praying for them? Am I seeking God on specific areas of need in their lives? Am I seeking Him in how I care for and lead them?
Leading gently. As our Shepherd models for us, yelling at a sheep probably does very little good. Learning they things they respond to, a Shepherd would return them to the fold or even carry them back. A spirit of gentleness must permeate my whole being as one who leads others to Christ.
Being an example. I must live with discipline so that I am diligently striving to be a living example to my children. Just because I am tired physically and tired of the continuous repetition from day to day, I must be diligent in setting these weaknesses aside and acting, speaking, living the way I want them to and in a way that points them to Christ.
Sheep wander. Accepting the fact that the children God has placed in our home are like little sheep who wander off. They will do things I think are foolish as they are learning and growing. I cannot expect them to be mature at a tender age, but must allow them to be children and to learn through experiencing things. God has placed me there to teach, guide and train them along the way ~ I must have a gracious attitude in the fact that they are not little grown-ups, they are children and they are going to do things I don't like. Then, I must bring them back to the sheep fold and to the Shepherd by the way I train them through the experience.
I am reminded again, that most of these things are training issues in my own heart and life. Training myself to turn to the Shepherd when I don't know the way, listening for His voice and following it. I must allow Him to re-train the things in me that do not fit His goals and plans for me and be humble and gentle in receiving His guidance and disciplined in following it.