As I hear the coyotes barking right outside my door…I was reminded of a Sunday School lesson I wrote years ago:
Recently, I have noticed the dilapidated state of the fence surrounding our home. Hurricane Ike and the unrelenting heat of Houston summers have taken their toll on our fence. In places, the barrier has completely fallen down. In others, it is rusted out, worn and battered, barely withstanding the beatings of Mother Nature. However, that old fence still has a primary purpose in my yard. It keeps my 65 lb. terrier mutt from running amok all over the neighborhood. It keeps him safe and sound within the boundaries of my home (and it makes my neighbors a whole lot friendlier, too).
Let me tell you something, though, my dog doesn’t it see it that way. He would prefer no fence. He wishes to be free to roam whenever and wherever he chooses. He has the perspective that the “grass is greener on the other side.” Any opportunity that he has to bust on out of the yard, he pounces on it. He dashes out of the fence like nobody’s business and hurriedly runs down the street.
Oh, how we are so much like my dog! We always want to jump the fence and taste what is on the other side! But, let me warn you today, what is lurking out there is NOT what is best for you and me. Read the following true story:
Washington Post, November 9, 2009¹, A deer that jumped a wall at the National Zoo was fatally injured by two lions Sunday as dozens of startled spectators looked on.
Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson described the incident as highly unusual. It began about 2:50 p.m. as visitors lined the perimeter wall of an enclosure that contained two female lions, and it involved a deer that may have entered from Rock Creek Park.
“Everyone was cheering, ‘Go, go, go’ ” to encourage the deer to reach safety, witness Josh Shpayher said. “Everyone was rooting for the deer.”
As recounted by witnesses, the deer, over as much as 20 minutes, was in and out of a moat while the lions clutched, clawed or swatted it. A crowd of spectators grew. Some shrieked, cried out or took children away.
There are reasons that a fence is necessary. Tragically, however, we often become antsy and jump the fence because we have the “grass is greener on the other side” tendency. We either jump the fence or worse yet, leave the gate open so that the enemy can come right in. He has no written invitation to be in our space. In fact, we may even have signs posted that are clearly legible and well-lit, declaring “Private property. No Trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted.” Make no mistake. He can read just fine. But he pays no attention to the law. He has no regard for the highest of authority. Nothing stops his desire to trespass on you and your family. All he needs to invite himself in is a weak spot in the fence. A spot where we have let our guard down or not kept up our required maintenance. An area in our lives where we have allowed sin to creep slowly in unnoticed or at least, kept under cover.
We are instructed, “to be sober, be vigilant.” In other words, we are told to exercise some self-control and discipline in our lives to be ready to battle the enemy. There will be days when we don’t feel like praying and spending time with God. We will be tempted to sin and give in to our fleshly desires. However, a person exhibiting self-control is sure and steady, even in the toughest of circumstances. A self-controlled believer never neglects their time with the Lord.
¹Deer in lions’ den is fatally injured as crowd watches, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/08/AR2009110817703.html (accessed February 1, 2015).