On the way down to my aunt and uncle’s house, we pass by a house that has a gorgeous iron gate. We saw it years ago and marveled at how cool it was. As we were admiring it, Craig recognized that it had a wire fence attached to it. Not just any wire, but chicken wire. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with exactly what “chicken wire” is, I took the liberty of finding the definition – chicken wire – a galvanized wire network with a hexagonal mesh; used to build fences – an open fabric of string or rope or wire woven together at regular intervals. Now, here is this gorgeous house with an amazing iron gate, but the fencing is less than pretty. It is ugly. Ordinary.
We kinda laughed, and went on our way. Then, Craig made a statement that still resonates with me. He said, “Isn’t that how a lot of Christians live? We have beautiful houses (ourselves) and we have massive iron gates put up to keep out the big stuff. But all around our perimeter is nothing but chicken wire.”
How true. So often we make sure we keep ourselves separated from things like explicit music, pictures and movies. We know that drugs, alcohol abuse and adult literature are detrimental to our mental and physical health and our spiritual health. Most Christians steer WAY clear of ANY of those things. Let’s be honest, we know what can ruin our relationship with Christ and others. Our “iron gate” is put up.
Meanwhile, we have neglected our perimeters. Our chicken wire is all that is up. We think that our iron gate is enough, it is enough to protect us. But, before we know it, the “small things” start sneaking in. Negativity, bad attitudes, pride, resentment . . . Not to mention gossip, complacency and bitterness. These things attack our mind, our body, our spirit. We start making excuses for our actions. Our composure is lost, as well as our witness. We struggle just to have something positive to say. Our view on life is clouded. We have no purpose, no vision.
Passer byes see this massive iron gate. A beautiful facade. Which is a testament in itself. They may admire our stability, our tenacity. But, those who are participants in our lives get the clear view of our “property”. They see the chicken wire. They see the little things that sneak in and take residence. These people could be family, friends, coworkers and church family. All these people see our “property”. They are privy to our lives. Yet, we live believing we are protected behind just our iron gate.
Wikipedia says that chicken wire is often used to fence in poultry. (Hence the name!) It is made of thin wire, with hexagonal openings – chickens are obviously not escapees! It also says that the thinness is inappropriate for protection from predators. Protection from predators. Predator – An organism that lives by preying on other organisms, one that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one’s own gain. The bible states that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10). To protect – keep from being damaged, attacked, stolen, or injured; guard. John 10 also states that Jesus is not only the gate that protects, but the good shepherd also!
1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.