“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” - Psalm 23:1
The declaration “I shall not want” on the surface seems self defeating. It can seem to represent the very ‘fire and brimstone’ attitude that pushes many people away from religion in today’s world.
But underneath the surface this verse reveals one of the great paradoxes of Christianity. This Psalm was written by King David over 3000 years ago. One thousand years later, Jesus claimed to be the human incarnation of the very same Good Shepherd referenced by David. Jesus told his followers to follow Him the way sheep follow their shepherd, to submit to Him fully.
In a culture hyper focused on individuality, many of us do not want to be told to follow anyone. We want to do things our way. We want to take care of our desires. We want to be whoever we want to be.
But if we’re being honest with ourselves, the truth is that we don’t actually know what we want. Everyone has experienced wanting something badly, only to finally obtain it and realize it wasn’t what they truly wanted.
For those of us who call ourselves Christians we are told to sacrifice all of our personal desires to God. We are to desire God above ALL ELSE. In other words, we are called to do what the rest of society considers absolutely foolish.
But here’s the paradox: By letting go of our desires (sacrificing them to God) the very thing that we desire most, true meaning in life, will be given to us free of charge.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! - Romans 11:33