Chapter 52: The Divine Shepherd

August 14, 2011

“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him, attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice and they follow.” DA517

Freudian psychology teaches that to avoid pain or seek pleasure are the two motivators from which all our actions flow. This “pleasure principle” is subscribed to by many success writers and it has merit if the goal is the greater self-discipline required to get ahead in life. In this mode of thinking we understand ourselves better to our own advantage; selfish gratification is better handled because it is better understood.

Ellen White describes a motivation for following Christ that is expressly not connected to the avoiding of pain or the pleasure of reward. Instead, beholding God’s love stirs within us a heart change that leads us to be naturally attracted and then to follow. Maybe this attraction to God could still be considered by some to be motivated by the pleasure of observing true love and desiring it for ourselves, but it also seems somehow fundamentally different. It is the result of a spiritual change in the very soul rather than just an understanding of a principle of our current soulish nature.

This paragraph is so refreshing because we may all have formerly tried to come to Christ because of our guilt, fear of death, or a desire to go to heaven. These motivations align well with our selfish souls and don’t require a change of heart. Conversion, however, is a change of soul that is not motivated by our selfish needs, but by God’s love.

On that note, here are some very tender quotes from this chapter that describe the love of our Divine Shepherd:

“Every soul is as fully know to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart.” DA516

“The soul that has given himself to Christ is more precious in His sight than the whole world. The Saviour would have passed through the agony of Calvary that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast.” DA518

“He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust.” DA518

May our souls be changed so they  follow God naturally. Isn’t this the miracle of unearthly Love?

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One Response to “Chapter 52: The Divine Shepherd”

  1. Stephanie said

    Beautifully written, thanks for sharing Seth! Needed this today.

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