Last night I went to the zoo with my family and friends. We made our way to the place that allowed petting and feeding the sheep and I just stood and watched them for a while.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments. Psalm 119:176 (NASB)
There is no missing the parallel in the Bible between God's people and sheep. Sheep are certainly useful creatures yet they are fairly stupid unless they are given the proper guidance from the shepherd. Sheep will head off in their own direction away from the safety of the flock and will be unable to find their way back. They are helpless balls of fluff that cannot effectively fend for themselves so they are easy prey. If a sheep falls over it cannot get back up on its own, it must have help. Sheep need their shepherd. Christians need their Shepherd.
There are times in my life when I realize I have wandered from the fold. When something happens that I was not counting on and the thought, "God is sovereign" suddenly seems like a new thought to me, I realize I have been grazing in another pasture.
Wandering away happens little by little, step by step. A small compromise here and there and before long we are far enough away from our Shepherd that we can no longer see Him. The ability to rationalize and justify our actions is part of what walks us away from the safety of the sheepfold. It is all too easy to excuse not reading the Word of God, to dismiss the importance of weekly fellowship with other Christians, to make light of foolish talk and coarse jesting (Eph. 5:4) and to go on as though everything were fine.
We make light of the very sin that put Jesus on the cross and in so doing we make a mockery of His suffering and death on our behalf.
Small matters of disobedience reap huge harvests of unrighteousness in the life of a Christian. Little compromises lead to larger ones; the sins blooming like well-fed crops. One day we may not recognize who we have become as life is now dominated by sinful actions.
You cannot expect to willfully sin and have no consequences. Even if no other person knows you have developed a lifestyle of sin, the Lord most certainly knows and He will deal with you. He is loving in his discipline but it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. You will find that even in His grace and mercy, consequences are hard.
Have you been a wandering sheep? Does this describe you right now? If so, I urge you to repent and return to the Shepherd. Come back to the sheepfold before you fall into a deeper hole of sin.