Can you tell the difference between goats and sheep? Did you know that in some parts of the world they appear identical? It is not as clear cut as one would think by mere appearance at times. There is something troubling me as I observe our current situation in the church. I am not speaking of the world because many have given over to a debased mind and do not understand the truth. However, I see things within the church that cause me to weep for the bride of Christ. It is the willingness to browse and not graze in the spiritual sense. Allow me to explain what I mean because what I sense right now is a separation of the goats and the sheep within the church and a discernment to recognize what is of God and what is not.
When I found myself thinking about the difference between goats and sheep, I did not look so much at their appearance as I did their feeding habits and predispositions. As I said before, there are goats that look like sheep and vice versa. Appearance is not enough. It ultimately comes down to diet. Sheep and goats forage very differently. Sheep are known for grazing. Grazers eat vegetation like green grasses and such, and when they eat, they eat at ground level, roots included. They eat what is nutrient rich. They tend to be more selective in what they consume.
Goats on the other hand are browers. What do browers eat? Well, they eat lots of things. They forage leaves, twigs, shrubs, thorns, etc. They eat what is present on the surface, and though they are not discreet in their eating habits, which may seem an advantage, it proves to be a disadvantage because much of what they consume is low in nutrients and potentially containing chemicals applied by man. This to me is a prophetic picture of what is currently going on in the body of Christ.
Co-pasturing with goats
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and they know me. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:14, 27 NLT
We know Him by having relationship with Him. What does this have to do with the diet of sheep and goats? Everything! We are living in a time when even some within the church are browsers instead of grazers. There is a lot of surface consumption of what is convenient to eat. We are partaking of things in an indiscreet way, meaning that we are spiritually eating what is offered, never discerning if it is nutritionally sound and dense spiritually. Instead of investing in what is grounded and rooted well, rich in spiritual sustenance, we eat what is convenient even if it means eating the thorns and the things in reach. Some are eating green vegetation spiritually speaking because it looks good, but it is laced with toxins from man, things that are not foundational truths. There is a straying from the rich Gospel of Jesus Christ in some areas. The church is split on hot topics in the current culture that should be non negotiable, and in the process, goats are infiltrating the flock. Listen, shepherds do not lead goats. Goats lead other goats. They do not know the Shepherd.
Church, let me be clear in something. If you are a sheep and you know the Shepherd, Jesus Christ, you won’t browse and eat whatever is offered to you. You will go to the Root and eat what is dense in provision for your spirit. You will not be satisfied in taking on a nature that is not your portion. We have a long standing issue of letting another leader in the church do our Bible reading and study for us instead of searching the Scriptures for ourselves and making sure that another Jesus is not being preached. The church is getting sick in some parts because we are ingesting words low in nutrients. Jesus leads the sheep, not the other way around. I am concerned that we are not only seeing those in the world with itching ears, but we are seeing those as referenced by Paul who would turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:4). There are those who will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to unGodly doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1). Do you know what is sobering to me about these passages? This is referring to those who knew the truth and willingly turned from it to feast on something else. They became goats. They settled for intimacy with another and compromised their inheritance.
We are living in a time where to proclaim the unadulterated Word of God requires a willingness to consume it without hesitation and to live it without apology. The old saying goes, “You are what you eat”. I ask you, when you minister, is it proven and tested to abide in the Vine? We have a tremendous opportunity to prove that we are sheep rather than goats in this hour. There is a separation that will happen in the coming days. As the darkness overplays its hand, the sheep will make themselves known, and they will rejoice knowing that they have feasted upon what has brought great spiritual sustenance, holy truth and deep intimacy with Jesus Christ. True sheep desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus and they will be persecuted for it, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12). I know this is a heavy word, but we need meat in this time. We need to be fed substance and not scraps or sugar. Church, I urge you to follow the Shepherd and make the Word of God your nutrient rich meal. Hear His voice, eat His Word and follow Him.
Author: Dawn Hill