We Can’t Do It ‘Ourselves’!
I remember when my oldest son Blake was just a small boy always saying: "I do it mysaelf" (spelled to accent his accent). Independent as could be, he did not want us doing anything for him that he thought he could do himsaelf! It did not matter that he most often had no idea how to accomplish the task himself, he thought he could and he wanted to try without any advice or anyone showing him how.
Sometimes that is the way we all are--at least until we find out that our ways, our thoughts, our knowledge and our strength does not take us very far, except when we are headed downhill, and even then we are most often out of control. However, this attitude seems to be our default setting no matter how many times we have learned that our way usually does not work out very well. The more we pursue our ways, the more devastating the results. Instead of living within the boundaries God has given us, we reject His ways and instruction and try our next best approach or follow the advice of an often corrupt and twisted society.
When I look at all the chaos, foreign thinking and absolute moral depravity that is going on today around the world and in our own country, it becomes more and more evident that we want to do everything our way, without any moral absolutes and without any set boundaries. Anything that contradicts our way of thinking is either politically incorrect, intolerant, discriminatory, or is too restrictive and a violation of our personal freedoms—no matter how detrimental it may be or who gets hurt in the process.
To puts things in perspective, fences are an absolute necessity in any livestock operation and they are also a necessity in our own personal lives. You have heard of the open range days when stock ran freely wherever they wanted to go without any fences. Fortunately, those days are long gone in this part of the world. Think about the chaos this practice would cause now with our current population densities, increased private property ownership and much heavier traffic on the roadways.
Imagine your closest neighbor hauling in trailer loads of cattle, hogs, horses or goats and just turning them out on his unfenced property. How long would it be before the animals came visiting your place, eating your pasture (and yard), breeding your stock, destroying what you have worked so hard to build? Your neighbor would probably benefit financially from not having to feed or care for his livestock, but all his gain would be at your expense and the expense of others! How long would it be before you and everyone else around you had a problem with this practice and with this neighbor?
This scenario may sound far-fetched, but is has happened before when the prices fell out of the hog market and rather than feeding valueless hogs, many farmers just opened the gates and let them go. This dramatically contributed the devastating problems we now have around the country with wild hogs. It happened again a few years ago when the horse kill market was discontinued leaving prices plummeting. Irresponsible horse owners just turned out their horses to roam free rather than having to buy feed. I have seen them for myself roaming the hills in TN and KY. The affects today of a free range society may not be as farfetched as it first seemed.
Many people today, under the guise of 'Freedom of Speech', 'Individual Freedom', 'Tolerance', 'Anti-Discrimination', or even 'Freedom of Religion' want us to believe that we too should be able to live our lives free range, without any boundaries, any restrictions, any fences, and without any concern for how our fellowman is affected by our actions. They also do this without any regard or respect for the Holy God who established the boundaries and directed the building of the fences in our lives; fences that are designed to guide our thoughts and actions, and govern how we relate to God and to one another.
Some refer to these God established boundaries and fences as legalistic and oppressive—a list of do's and don'ts that Christians have to live by—when in fact they are rooted and bathed in love. God's boundaries and fences are for our safety, our good, our protection, and the good of our neighbors and all of humanity. They not only make our world a better place, but they show us our sin. They keep us from trespassing on our neighbors, they keep our neighbors from trespassing on us, and they help us to not trespass against our Holy and Loving God. This is important because trespassing is a serious matter and almost always leads to broken or damaged relationships between the parties, whether it be other people or God.
The word "trespass' in Scripture is almost always associated with sin and is sometimes used interchangeably with sin. Scripture reveals that sin is a "trespass" against God and "trespass" is a sin against God, both of which must be atoned for by the shedding of blood. Most often when we trespass against God, we trespass against someone else as well. Praise God for the blood of Jesus that was shed to atone for our sin and our trespasses!
Fencing also teaches us to trust and depend on the shepherd or the rancher to provide for us what we need within the fenced parameters. The Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-15) who lays down his life for his sheep. If we know that he loves us enough to give his life for us, then it is a given that He is trustworthy and caring enough to meet all of our needs and sustain us within the parameters He has ordained. In fact, His Word promises that He will do so in Philippians 4:19: "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
If God's Word is true, then we can know without a doubt that God not only loves us and is faithful to sustain us, but He also knows what is best for us. Therefore we can trust His character, His integrity, His knowledge, and the genuineness of His love enough to know that the boundaries He has ordained in His Word are liberating instead of oppressive. They protect us from ourselves and from others and point us to Jesus. He alone took upon Himself the burdens of our sin and the guilt associated with our trespasses against God and others. This is Grace!
God has indeed set moral boundaries for our lives. As we place our faith in Jesus and yield our lives to Him, we find freedom, sanctuary, and contentment that could never be found living outside His will. Instead of continuing to plummet down the path of destruction, doing what is right in our own eyes, let us surrender our lives afresh and anew to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows what we need. He knows the way and has prepared the way for us. He cares for you and for me. If we follow Him and walk with Him, He will lovingly and skillfully take us safely and triumphantly where we need to be, meeting all our needs along the way.