DeerFences

My mother-in-law, Frankie, has a green thumb and bottomless grit.  She has worked tirelessly on her flowerbeds.  Lush varieties of ferns, shaded by glorious live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, create the perfect Savannah home.  

 

The problem is that deer roam uncontested on their island and see each manicured yard as a 24-hour buffet. Over the years, Frankie has shifted and tweaked. She researched plants deer don't prefer, then started building fences. When each of her attempts to protect her yard failed, she added more defenses. Gaining wisdom with each adjustment, she rethought her strategy and methods, then built smarter, all while keeping aesthetics at the forefront of her plan.  A true southern woman. 

 

Deer aren't here to cause harm.  They aren't a vicious, evil enemy.  They honestly may think that my MIL is simply redesigning a parkour course to make their daily hunt for treats a fun adventure.  

 

As I sat sipping coffee, watching a deer casually nibble outside the boundaries of the newest fence, I wondered:  what if we worked as hard to guard our hearts and minds against an enemy who IS intent on stealing, killing, and destroying?  As believers, Jesus was clear that a spiritual battle would come at us.  We know who the enemy is, we know his intentions, and we have insight into his history so that we are better equipped to anticipate his strategies.  Yet, how many of us take that threat seriously?  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Until life falls apart…Suddenly, we take one of three paths:  blame Satan, blame ourselves or others, or blame God.   

 

What if you let this pondering be a wake-up call to guard your territory?  Your heart, mind, children, spouse, friends, pastor, government?  We are told to pray for, strengthen, and encourage these people groups throughout scripture.  Why?  Prayer is our DeerFence—Punny, but hopefully, it is an image that will prompt you to visualize.  

 

I wonder if Satan masquerades as a 'deer' sometimes, beautiful, docile, alluring, prancing out of reach, enticing us to follow?  Inviting you to entertain it, then ravishing your land while you sleep.   It's like a scary movie where the innocent-looking creature transforms into horror at night--revealing its authentic features in the darkness.

 

All of this is fine, but HOW do you fight an enemy you can't see to honor a God you follow in faith?  I will show you how I unpack scripture to gain wisdom and form a DeerFence system based on  Genesis 3:1-7 (MSG)

 

 

"The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He asked the Woman: "Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?"

 The Woman said to the serpent, "Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It's only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'Don't eat from it; don't even touch it or you'll die.'"

 The serpent told the Woman, "You won't die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you'll see what's really going on. You'll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil."

When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she'd know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate."

 

 

Step one:  Invest the time.  Dig in and learn the truth.    

The first tactic we see Satan use was in the Garden of Eden, and it was powerful enough to tip the fall of humanity:  a simple question, truth with a twist:  "Did God REALLY say you couldn't eat from ANY tree?" 

 

  • Tactic:  confusion--
    • He will test whether we know the truth; a version of the truth with a twist may be enough to send us wandering the path of destruction.
  • Tactic:  Scarcity mentality
    • When Eve pushed back and *kind of* corrected the original command, Satan offered a twisted vantage point:  "You won't 'surely die.' God knows your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."  
      • The enemy minimizes the consequences of disobedience, hinting that God is holding out on them because if they ate, they would be like God, implying that disobedience would offer them God-like status.  
    • When Satan goes with this strategy, it tickles our pride and entices us with our lust for power and control.
  • Tactic:  Question the goodness of God
    • He drops psychological doubt:  Is God holding out?  Do I deserve these limits? 
    • Is there more….What if I do it my way…

 

 

I'm sure there are many ways to guard your heart.  This is just one of mine.  'Know thy enemy' has been a strategy that has helped me so much over the years.  When I feel the doubt creep in:  this situation is horrible, it's painful….would a loving God really…?  I STOP COLD.  I sense the enemy and feel his laser mark on my mind.  Time to throw up a defense counteraction:  

 

"All things work together for good for those who love God and have been called according to His purpose."

Romans 8:28

 

 

I've memorized a fast version in the NIV, but today, I read it in the Message, and it wrecked my heart with its tenderness:  

 

 

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."

Romans 8:26-28

 

 

What are some of your DeerFences?  How do you guard your heart, protect your land, and fight the enemy?  Maybe right now, you realize you have some work to do.  Know Satan fights dirty; he is truly the most evil, and when he senses you are no longer passive, he will come at you hard.  The best weapon is scripture and other believers who know you are headed into actual battle.  Tell people who will pray with you and for you.  Tell people who will talk it out and walk it out with you.  Be kind to yourself.  You won't be an army ranger at basic training.  The Lord isn't dropping you into battle to fail.  Here's a scripture connection I love:

 

Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." ------ "Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth"  Psalm 46:10

 

See how He teaches strategy?  We are never passive; we are learning to fight with power.  When we live His way, there will be bumps and hurts; there will be defeats in little battles, but victory is secured.  Let's build a solid DeerFence and stand firm behind the Glory of our Maker.  Stand boldly in the light, trust His goodness and truth.  Trust His justice and mercy.  Trust His wisdom and timing.  Hold our DeerFence until He makes everything right. 

Come quickly, Lord, Jesus.  Amen


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