As I drove past the luscious green pastures with pearl painted fences, I noticed all of the cows grazing for food. It seemed like these cattle were living the life, a nice red barn to sleep in, as much grass as they wanted each day, and basking in the bright sunshine. However, the number on their ears told a different story. The fabulous life these cows have leads to a meat market. The security and comfort which they take in the farm is a false idea of where they are headed. They are being groomed for destruction. I pondered as I rode past that we too can be in what we believe is a “happy place” in our sin, but are really headed for our own downfall.
Don’t get me wrong, one of my best friends is married to a cattle farmer in Kansas. They rely on these cows for their livelihood and do take good care of the cows before sending them off for meat. However, go with me for a moment and imagine your most enticing sin. Think about the pleasure, pride, or power you feel when you walk in that sin. This is no different from a cow living on a farm being prepared for the meat industry. Everything might seem like you are living your “best life,” when in reality you are plumping yourself full of emptiness and living in a false reality that your struggle is better than God.
Psalm 23:1-4 says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The Lord tells us that He makes us lie down in green pastures and the He will lead us beside still waters. There is no better field to graze in than in the land of God. So why do we often choose other places to wander?
Why do we trade in our Farmer’s fields for the enemy’s deception? Oftentimes because the Father’s farm is not as easy. Sinful decisions are frequently the popular or easier routes. When a businessman is told that he will lose his job if he does not treat clients unfairly, he could simply push aside his morals and make more money and climb the corporate ladder of success. When a college student on scholarship failed to study well and does not know the answers to the finals, she could easily cheat to keep her scholarship. When a husband knows his wife is not home, he could choose to look at a variety of women without her knowing.
Being in the field of sin may appear appetizing and enjoyable, but over time as believers, that grass makes us sick to our stomachs over the conviction of the amazing Holy Spirit inside of us. If a person is saved, the Lord does not hold him hostage into doing the right things, but allows the free will to make choices. Sure you can go “graze in another field,” but after truly knowing the depth of satisfaction and identity in Christ, a person would not be able to be gone for long.
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There is a well-known wisdom in Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” The ways of the world are vomit in the sight of God. It is foolish to continually go back to ways of living that oppose the Lord’s best for our lives. How often though do we see perpetual sin in our life or in the lives of other believers. We know what is best for us, but we are stubborn, not spending time seeking the Lord regularly, or we just plain ignore the Holy Spirit’s leading.
It is the shock that comes up when another man leaves his wife and kids over an affair. It is the deepening pit of anxiety to feel like you are in control. It is the violent movies and video games that motivate a young boy to buy a gun. It is the tiny bit of credit card debt over online shopping that slowly adds up over time. A little grass here, a little grass there, sunshine here, sunshine there, then we all walk into the slaughterhouse of the devil.
I am by no means saying that we will lose our salvation. However, we can lose our way like prodigals. We can choose to live our lives by the flesh instead of the Spirit.
Romans 8:31 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
But what if, instead of selecting lives that receive great praise from the world in which we live, that we graze in God’s pasture? It is not always easy, there are times when we will walk through the valleys and when the grass looks greener on the other side. But we have to remember that our ultimate destination is leading to a greater reward in heaven. Our Farmer is not out to kill us, He is out to rescue us and restore us.
Proverbs 24:11 says, “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” David Guzik says, “Surely we did not know this: We shouldn’t be indifferent towards those headed toward death. Since they often reject God’s wisdom and are hostile, it is easy to give up on them or ignore them. Yet God, He who weighs the hearts, does know and consider this.
Are you roaming in a territory that is going to end badly? Is a loved one straying from the pasture of God? Cry out to the Lord today on your behalf or on theirs. Confess and turn away. I think about the prodigal son. He may not have even had the strength to run to his Father, but when his Father saw him, he ran to his son and embraced Him. May we all look with discernment in every season to make sure that we are restoring and resting in the presence of the Lord and living out His best for our lives.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com