A Hedge of Thorns

August 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm (Flowers of Thought) (, , , , , )

D-town is a town of trust. So many of the shops are so careless—it would be so easy to lift something. Strangely, the thought has entered my head on multiple occasions lately. Not actually to steal something, I don’t believe, since there’s no struggle or deliberation involved, but almost more of a shock at how easily I could pocket something and continue on my merry way. Only, I would be rather less than merry.

I remember the only time I ever took something from a store—it was a fake flower, lying forlornly on the cold, tile floor, and my four-year-old mind reasoned that it would never be missed or cared about. Surely the Hobby-Lobbyists would just sweep it up and throw it away anyway. So I rescued the poor blossom from an untimely demise. Mom discovered my heroic effort halfway out to the car, turned me around, marched me back inside and made me return the flower with an elaborate apology. Something like, “Sniffle…I’m sorry I took this…sniffle…it was on the floor…sniffle, sniffle…I’ll never do it again. SNORT.”

Why do I do what is right? Why do I shudder at the thought of taking something that is not mine? Is it a fear of punishment that keeps the thought spinning through my mind, polishing it like a stone in a tumbler, but never allowing it to hatch? Is it my conscience that would never allow me to enjoy something taken through deceit? Is it a fear of disappointing my parents? A horror of displeasing my Heavenly Father? All these facets are in place to keep me from sin—like a hedge of thorns around me, keeping me on a path of purity. It’s the same way with many sins—lying, sexual sins, sins of excess, rebellion. But how often I forget that these same hedges guard the pathway to keep me from secret sins? I trample my conscience, I push away fears of punishment from the One Who sees what is done in secret, and I indulge in sins that stain my heart—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. I shrink in horror from breaking the commandments against lying, murdering, stealing and fornication and glibly go my way, trampling underfoot the two greatest commands: to love God first, and my neighbor as myself. Oh, that I would shrink from impurity of heart as quickly as I shudder at impurity of actions.

Lord, Thou art a perfect Master,
Which would seem a huge disaster,
Had Thou not been born of dust
So as to sympathize with us.

May my life not be a lie
As studied to please human eye
But lived in perfect purity
To bring delight to even Thee.

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5 Comments

  1. Marcia said,

    Absolutely. This brought to mind what I read this morning:

    5Thus says the LORD,
    “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
    And makes flesh his strength,
    And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
    6″For he will be like a bush in the desert
    And will not see when prosperity comes,
    But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
    A land of salt without inhabitant.
    7″Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
    And whose trust is the LORD.
    8″For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
    That extends its roots by a stream
    And will not fear when the heat comes;
    But its leaves will be green,
    And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
    Nor cease to yield fruit.
    9″The heart is more deceitful than all else
    And is desperately sick;
    Who can understand it?
    10″I, the LORD, search the heart,
    I test the mind,
    Even to give to each man according to his ways,
    According to the results of his deeds.
    11″As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid,
    So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly;
    In the midst of his days it will forsake him,
    And in the end he will be a fool.”

  2. Marcia said,

    Oh, and that was from Jeremiah 17.

  3. Renee said,

    “I trample my conscience, I push away fears of punishment from the One Who sees what is done in secret, and I indulge in sins that stain my heart—”
    You are so eloquent. Thank you for sharing, it really inspired me.
    Thank you!

  4. Oksana said,

    Hi! 🙂 I found your blog through the Kindred Spirit Network, and I have found it to be one of the most useful resources for girls on the entire web. Your articles are so helpful to me! Thank you for your ministry! 🙂

    “Trample my conscience.”

    This is so true. There’s a commercial on TV right now for an alcoholic drink, which, when it first aired, I found completely repulsive. After seeing it a few dozen times, I’ve found that it doesn’t bother me anymore. Same with bad words that I hear at school… you just become desensitized to sins when you do them (or are around them) often.

    You’ve really spoken what’s been on my heart lately. Thank you.

  5. Abigail said,

    Marcia–I did a double take when I saw your notes…my Mom’s name is Marcia (spelled the same way) and we’ve been studying through Jeremiah as a family! What a perfect passage!

    Renee–Thank you. 🙂

    Oksana–Thank you so much for the encouragement. We are aways delighted when the Lord can use whatever we offer. You are so right about desensitizing–I find that in so many areas of my life!

    BTW, you might consider checking out our blogroll page (and joining!) for some more networking with other godly girls!

    Blessings to you, Ladies.

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