A few weeks ago I saw a donkey grazing, it was penned to a rope. However, it didn’t like the pastures in which it was left to graze. I slowed my pace to observe what the donkey really wanted and it quite amazed me with how similar it was to someone I know (me).
The donkey just seemed to be stretching the rope a little further always appearing to like the pastures a foot further than it was able to reach. It was too occupied with what it did not have to see what was right there in front of it. Since I had other things to attend to, I left the donkey to its own business and went my way, but the thought of that ordeal really stuck in my head, I couldn’t quite get off of it.
I honestly identified with the donkey on this one, It’s more or less connected to my little sister who was always being warned by mum not to put her finger in the fire but the more she was warned about it, the more she felt the need to want to know how it really felt like, the more she got enticed by it. So what mum finally did to my seventeen months old curious sister is actually permit her to catch the fire, it is an ouch I know, but what she said is that she was protecting her from the bigger “danger” in case it came and she was not around to warn her or protect her. Mum was right because every time my sister sees something even in resemblance to fire, she makes a sound and runs from it, talk of a wise woman, my mum is.
In my pursuit of Him, I have had some “fire” experiences. The thought of feeling like am missing out on a lot in life because am sort of penned to this “cross” thingy, to only graze on the restricted area where He can ‘see’ me. The feeling of being tied to some scripture and the dos and don’ts that my peers don’t even understand what they entail.
Sometimes I have found myself stretching it just a little further with the rope called grace, and giving excuses like “my Shepherd will understand” or “We’ve been freed from religion and legalism”. I stretch further with, “how far is too far”, Knowing way too well that if it has gotten to me asking that question, then it’s actually quite far.
One thing about this tree I have been penned to is that it will never at any one time move to suit my appetite or my extra-curricular activities, it will forever be fixed and constant so my stretching of the rope will only give me a blister and even more scary is that it might even leave a wound. My playing with the fire will only give me a burn.
The human nature is quite interesting because we are sort of attracted to the very things that we are warned about. We tend to be drawn to it and so like this donkey we want to be free, we want the rope of the grace of God, to be forgiven every time we fall short, but not the tree of life which is the Word becoming flesh, Jesus Christ, and His law which simply is love. Too bad because we cannot separate the two, we take the grace, then we sure must take Jesus fully with no partiality.
I can give the donkey some credit for not trusting the pastures in which it has been tied to feed, but not so the Christian. Our owner is called the good Shepherd. The Psalmist says,”…He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters…” He has placed you in the right place, in the right context and you will not want. You just don’t have to bend the rules, don’t let the fire allure you because you will get burned, it is you that will have to deal with the blisters and wounds of guilt and shame after stretching a little further to have a ‘bite’ of what you have not been allowed to have, only to realise that it wasn’t an apple after all but some gravel that broke all your teeth. Just like Eve.
Eve thought that God was a fun killer, always tiring them with rules. She also thought that God was hiding something from them, and in her quest to try know what was behind the scenes, she ended up losing her teeth, if I may use that, she lost her opportunity with God.
The Bible in the book of Romans 1:24 says “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves…” God does not give up on us, no, but sometimes He allows us to go the furthest we can go with our lust and all, to reach to that point of realizing that the rules were not just made to kill the joy but to enhance it, the rules were made for us to enjoy life guilt free and with no burden of shame. A wise man once said that sin is not bad because it is forbidden, it is forbidden because it is bad. Sin does not know how to stay indoors, sooner or later it shows itself out, it will catch up with you, there is no free lunch in the enemy’s camp
Most certainly the donkey, would never have had a rope big enough to satiate its desire for more pasture, it would still have stretched a little bit further and the same case applies to us as believers, even if some sin was tolerated in the kingdom we would still push God further, good thing He is not moved our whining because we would be having an amending of the Bible daily. The issue of Sin is deeply embedded in our hearts, and it is through the stripes of Jesus that we are healed of it, it is also avoided if we get rooted or penned in Him.
I would take my imagination further and say that the donkey might have envied the donkeys that were freely grazing without being penned to a stick or something, but what it didn’t know is that these other donkeys had to fend for themselves, and if the enemy came or they grazed in the enemy’s territory, in case of danger, they would have to fight it off themselves, but for them that are rooted and penned in this tree of life, in case of danger, He defends His own, He quenches their thirst and he will always leave the ninety nine in search of the one.
This is a call to you that might be looking at the “tree” and can’t get your eyes off of it, you that has been allured by the fact that it, “appears to be good for food, pleasant and desirable to make you wise” you that feel as if you have sort of stretched the rope too far and are almost having that bite, you that feels like you have been hypnotised by the enemy and you don’t have an option out . The feeling will always be there and there is never going to be “enough” when it comes to the flesh, just like the grave, the flesh will never have its fill, no matter what you give, it will always come and ask for more, a mile further away. The only way to win is to say no, no to every form of ungodliness, no to the food laid out for idols, no to Baal. It is having no negotiating with the devil in the first place because the moment you start the bargain you will end up buying his dirty stuff.
Get back to your allocated pastures, because that’s where you will get your covering. Trust the Shepherd that when the pasture runs out, He will take you to greener pastures, without your nagging or ‘braying.’
Brethren, that tree might appear to be having apples, but the truth of the matter is they change to gravels once you have a bite, don’t lose your teeth over them, there are more legal meals in the pasture laid out by Him. God surely forgave David, but he still had to face the consequences for his actions, you do not need a blister or far much worse a wound for you to know that you have stretched too far, listen to the voice, that still small voice and you’ll know when you’re in the wrong territory. You don’t have to always live at the periphery.