Modern people do not like to think of themselves as sheep. The rejecting or ignoring of the shepherd role of churches is common nowadays. Some go beyond this and will not accept even Jesus himself as a shepherd. Yet Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd…” (Jn 10). This is a problem for people with an independent spirit. It doesn’t help matters that other persons who claim to be willing to be led by God’s authority are sometimes stiff, intolerant souls who actually spend most of their spiritual energies bargaining with God and using him to fulfill their private plans.
What Jesus asks is not that we give up our freedom but rather our selfish self-will. He respects our freedom and would enhance it. He treats us not as dumb beasts but as intelligent human beings capable of wisdom into which he would lead us ever more deeply. There is more than a little truth in the notion that the person who leads himself through the lofty regions of the spirit is being led by a fool.
I know that you respect me, Lord, more than I respect myself. To serve you is to find true freedom. Heal my rebellious spirit and bring me home to you.