Today, as I sat outside a friends house, I was surprised to see a coyote approaching from a field behind her house. Surprised because it was in this neighborhood where even though it is in the country, it is a development of homes on 1-2 acre lots. Surprised at how confidently it approached so closely to her back fence. It did not approach in attack mode, or in cowering manner. It simply came sauntering up like it belonged there, and was a part of the neighborhood.
My mind went to her dogs, and chickens, and goats. Would there be a fight with the dogs trying to protect the home. Would the chickens be easy prey for this predator to attack? Would the goats run around blindly and aimlessly in fear wondering where to run for safety?
What I failed to see, and what the coyote didn't see until he got right up to the fence railing is that the main fence, posts and rails, that he could have easily fit through or under, was accompanied on the bottom half by wire. This reinforcement has probably been seen by neighbors and onlookers as a way to keep the animals inside the property, but the owners knew it was also to keep them within a safe boundary to protect them from just this type of prey.
Now, what my eyes saw, God translated into a spiritual picture of our lives, and even possibly our churches. The enemy is close. He is in our neighborhoods. He is friendly in first appearance. He is among us often enough that he knows how to approach in a manner that even almost looks like he belongs. He does not just attack when we are isolated and alone.
Our minds go, like mine did, to those around us. The spiritual watchdogs, the babes in Christ who are easy prey, as well as those in our midst who have age old religion, but do not know for sure Who to run to when danger approaches. So what about them? Well, in this picture, the fence with its slats and rails represents our communities in salvation. We are inside the protective arms and boundaries of our Salvation in Christ with others in our family, church, or Kingdom partners. A body of believers whatever form that takes. We have come into that property and inheritance by trusting Jesus as our Savior. But that does not prevent the enemy from approaching, or even attacking. What we must begin to see is that our God loved us enough to also provide us with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The additional hedge of protection to keep the enemy from fully entering into our lives. The impenetrable power of the Holy Spirit to lead, protect, advise, and stand guard around our lives.
Where in our bodies have we neglected to invite the presence of the Holy Spirit? Where have we let down our guard? In our individual lives, families, and church bodies, where are we relying on "being in the fold" to be enough to keep us safe while we are here on earth? Do not confuse what I am saying, trust in Christ resulting in Salvation is the ultimate gift, and is all that is required for God's eternal presence and involvement in our lives, but after that we can not just sit on the porch. We must invite the Holy Spirit to guard us, we must continually pray over and check our boundaries and make sure we have not left holes in it or allowed them to wear down making us prey to enemy encroachment, and that we have not ventured past where the boundaries of our calling and presence of the Holy Spirit can accompany us. We must realize that within our bodies there are believers at different stages of maturity in their walks and only the Holy Spirit can protect us all, guard us all, and keep us all within God's boundaries for our lives as Christ-followers.
The picture was a sharp reminder that we must be on guard. We must be diligent. We must see the Lord's guidelines and boundaries as outlines for our own protection and the Holy Spirit active in our midst as a necessity in protecting us from the coyotes who think they might sneak in and wreak havoc. God has given us this protection, and through His Word, the direction to safely manage inside the boundaries and provision of the Holy Spirit. Let's not leave ourselves or those in our circles of influence vulnerable by ignoring the essentiality of the Holy Spirit.