When our son David was a little boy of about a year-and-a-half old he was trying to be like his daddy. For instance, he saw that everyday when I went to work I carried a bag with me (it was my lunch bag) and he decided that he needed a bag too! So he got his own little bag and he put into it his special things: his “me me” (pacifier), his “nee nee” (silk blankie), a box of raisins, and his favorite little car.
I smiled as I watched my little boy carry his bag all around the house with such pride and happiness. With his bag in hand he was ready to face the world!
Comfort from David’s Little Bag
What made his keepsakes so special? They were more than just nice little play things for a toddler — psychologists like me call these “transitional objects” because they helped David to transition from only feeling secure if he was physically with his mother to being able to be calm and confident even if she was not in sight.
The pacifier and blankie in particular had great significance to David because he associated them with the comfort of being nursed, which we facilitated on purpose. Having his special objects in his bag close at hand gave him inner strength and contentment when he played by himself or with other children and when he went to bed at night.
Do you have a bag like this? What would you put in it?
Psalm 23 is in my Little Bag
I think that in life we all need to carry a spiritual bag with a few special, practical blessings from God that help us to trust him even when we can’t feel his love, he doesn’t seem to be blessing us, or our prayers aren’t being answered the way we want.
Thanks to David my son and David the Psalmist I have a little bag and I carry Psalm 23 is in it. When we’re bored, lonely, or anxious it may be tempting to turn to food, Facebook, or alcohol for comfort. Or we might be prone to stew in our stress, recycling our worries, falling into self-condemnation, or feeling sorry for ourselves. I’ve found that it’s much better to talk to the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23! That’s why Soul Shepherding has lots of Psalm 23 resources to encourage you in your walk with Christ and your ministry to others.
I have Psalm 23 in my special little bag because it is the picture of spiritual reality that I need to be reminded of continually. Psalm 23 is a gateway into another realm, the most wonderful place and it’s right where you are now — Jesus called it “the Kingdom of the Heavens.”
“Re-think your approach to life because the Kingdom of the Heavens are now open!” (Matthew 4:17, paraphrase) Jesus said it. Believe it. Live in it. It will change your life wonderfully!
Here the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died for our sins and rose from the dead, the One who is our Good Shepherd, is waiting for us.
Open your mind to see the scenery of Psalm 23. Step inside the Kingdom of God. Here are the green pastures that you long for. Here are the clear, cool still waters of life that you thirst for…
See Jesus smile towards you…
See his arms open to you…
Why Dallas Willard Meditates on Psalm 23 Everyday
My spiritual mentor Dallas Willard has Psalm 23 in his bag too. He’s been meditating on Psalm 23 first thing in the morning for many years. He explains why he slowly prays through Psalm 23 before beginning his day:
The Twenty-third Psalm… is an exquisite summary of life in the kingdom. The mind of the disciple should have it prominently displayed within, to always foster the joy and peace of the kingdom as well as to orient all of his or her actions within it… This is an essential part of any curriculum for Christ-likeness. Positive engagement with these scriptures will bring kingdom order into our entire personality.
I know many people who profess serious allegiance to Jesus and claim him as their Savior but who, unfortunately, simply will not take these scriptures into their soul and body… [So] they continue to recycle their failures and make little or no real progress…
Intensive internalization of the kingdom order through study of the written word and learning from the Living Word establishes good epidermal responses of thought, feeling, and action. And these in turn integrate us into the flow of God’s eternal reign. We really come to think and believe differently, and that changes everything else. (Divine Conspiracy, 1997, p. 362.)
How to Put Psalm 23 in your Bag
What I’m saying here is that Psalm 23 is not just a bunch of pretty, inspiring words! It’s reality, Kingdom of God reality. We can live in the healing, transformational world of “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.”
A good way to begin living in Psalm 23 reality is to memorize it. This way we have Psalm 23 in our special little bag, ready to pull out for prayer and meditation anytime, anywhere. Psalm 23 is first on the list of the Electric Passages for Scripture Memory!
When you open your heart to the wonderful words and soothing scenes of the David psalm you will indeed experience an “intensive internalization of the kingdom.” You’ll find that you are not alone — Jesus the Shepherd-King is with you on your Psalm 23 journey. He is the One you want and when you trust him he makes you to lie down in his green pastures, leads you beside his still waters, and guides you in his path of life. You learn that you can be confident in your Shepherd’s love even in the dark valley when you can’t see him. (Psalm 23:1-4)