One morning recently my phone rang. It was my neighbour across the road. "You have horses on your front lawn," he told me. WHAT?!
Sure enough, two of our four horses found a gap at a broken gate where they could get out without the electric fence shocking them, and they were roaming around nibbling our grass! I guess the grass was greener on the other side! In the paddock they rely on the hay we provide; but the yard on the other side tantalizes them with luscious, albeit dandelion-infested, grass. Sterling and Lacy just got impatient waiting for their breakfast!
How like me in my Christian walk. More times than I care to count, I have grown tired of waiting on the Master for what I thought I should have coming to me. After all, I'm worth it! I deserve it! Right? (See Romans 3:10, 23.) God’s taking too long; I'm tempted to go check out what's on the other side of the fence.
My 11-month-old grandbaby Kyla was visiting for a few days last week. Rather than remove all the pretty things, we leave some in place and teach Kyla what is a "no-no." One such item is a pretty red basket which sits on the coffee table holding all the remote controls. I saw her reach into grab an intriguing converter, and said, "Kyla, that's a no-no." She looked at me with those pools-of-blue eyes, kept staring at me, and reached for it again. In a stronger tone, I said, "No-no," and shook my head. She paused a moment, and then stretched her neck up, sticking out her little chin and looking down her nose, as if she were trying to look over the edge into the basket to get a better look at the "no-no." Her face was filled with longing as she continued to crane her neck and scoot herself around the coffee table, to view the “no-no” from another angle.
After laughing and calling her a "cutie patootie," I thought, I do that too. God tells me "no" in His Word, and I clearly know that it's for my safety and good! Yet in my flesh, I gaze longingly and even reach for the worldly things, as if hoping that they will become approved somehow, that they aren't as bad as God makes them out to be, or I try to adopt the philosophy "just ask forgiveness later."
~I just want to hold a grudge for a little while.
~My feelings are hurt, and I want to make them pay, just for awhile.
~I can't say this is helping me get closer to God, but...
~I just don't care right now.
~I just don't want to try anymore.*
* This is a certain indication that I am trying in my flesh, rather than allowing God's Spirit to work through me!
Why do I long for the things that God has said will hurt me? Why do I turn away from the Truth in His Word when I know that it is good and that His way is the best?
The enemy of my soul pounds his philosophy into me any way he can—through music, TV, magazines, books, conversations with others, etc. This is why I must hide God’s Word in my heart, “that I might not sin against [Him]” (Psalm 119:11). God’s boundaries protect me from the enemy; they don’t restrict me. Within that fence line is freedom! Freedom from fear. Freedom from destruction. Amazing freedom! True freedom!
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. (Proverbs 3:13-14, 17-18)
True happiness comes only from God. In a love relationship with Him is deep joy. God IS wisdom. It is His very Being. Just as I seek to protect Kyla by not allowing her to go near the stairs, God seeks to protect me by the limits He sets in His Word, which are “wisdom.”
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (Proverbs 3:21-24, 26)
"Contentment is the crown jewel of a happy life." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
When you know--and accept--that guidelines are truly written with your safety and best interests at heart, you can embrace the restrictions and be content with them. Yet with God, they can hardly be called restrictions! How could you say that trading a meal out of the garbage can for a steak dinner is a restriction?!
As my Kentucky friends say, “I’m just sayin’ ‘s all!”