Caught in Barbed Wire
On Kathy's faith walk, fencing the farm offers lessons about sin
For the last week I have been tearing down barbed wire fence around my farm. Barbed wire is nasty stuff. It gets caught on everything, is almost impossible to handle without tools, heavy leather gloves, protective clothing and glasses, and it can wreak havoc with animals if they get caught in it. Yep. Barbed wire is just like sin.
On the way home from work a couple weeks ago, listening to the radio I heard two very different news stories about a pair of eleven/twelve-year-old boys. One had discovered a fire in an apartment complex. He ran about pounding on all the doors to alert everyone to the danger. Because of him, everyone escaped the fire. The other twelve-year-old boy beat a two-year-old girl to death. I muttered to no one in particular, “I hate this world.” But my Heavenly Father shot right back, as He often does, “You are seeing the impact sin has on people. You must hate that. But don’t hate the people.”
Any lesson from God in my life is accompanied with a practical application, which is why I found myself out in the hot pasture dislodging sixty-foot strands of barbed wire from trees, shrubs, and old fence posts. I got to spend a lot of time thinking about sin and why it is so disastrous when I fail to choose life.
Sin is always there. It is the rebellion in our hearts against God. We all have it and it is this sin that Jesus died to save us from. But there is also the day-to-day impact of that sin. It is the place where you and I make decisions all day long about which way we will go. Will I focus my heart and mind on God and His amazing path for me, or will I look to more interesting and dangerous roads? Forget the devil and the angel scenario. I already know long before they show up what direction my heart is going in on any given subject on any given day. If I let myself get to the point where I am entertaining the spiritual arguments, I have already traversed farther onto danger than God would desire for me. By that time I have wound myself up in barbed wire.
If I fail to assess my situation correctly and call on my Father to help me make a better choice, soon the trees and shrubs of doubt and fear will grow up through this wire I am caught in. I will make the mistake of trying to free myself rather than ask God. The barbs will dig deeper and I will be wounded. Heavy grasses will grow around my feet and vines will cover the wire. Soon I will be paralyzed and believe the lie that no one can help me. But this is not true.
When I ask God to help me with the barbed wire of sin He puts on His special gloves and begins. He opens a chest full of body armor. When I see it glistening in the sun I know that this is my armor—the armor I am supposed to have on all the time so I don’t get caught in these messes. My Father gently pulls the grasses, small trees and bushes away but it hurts. Each time he exposes more wire He also exposes my wounds. They hurt and the scars will stay with me forever but He is gentle. Soon the wire is unwound and I am free. He covers me with healing salve and forgives me for my disobedience. He helps me put on my armor and places a sword in my hand. Ephesians 6:10-17
The impact of sin on all our lives is real. What we do with that impact is the difference between obedience and disobedience—life and death. The choice is always ours and in the end God always lets us choose which way we go. Choose life.