TOUCHING YOUR NOSE TO THE FENCE                                                                                   Andy Hollifield 12-6-17

Romans 6:12 Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

The word “sin” is used in the bible 448 times in 389 verses. “Sins,” with an “s,” appears 172 times in 166 verses. If I had read all the verses that contained the word sin, I would not have finished this post this week. The thought I had is the title of this post. I was feeding the cows and calves last night, when I noticed something I had seen before but this time it got me to thinking about spiritual things. I preached a message one time years ago entitled, “Things I Learned In The Barn.” This time, I wasn’t in the barn but standing out at the fence. I had just dumped some grain out on the ground and was watching the cows eat. I have 3 cows and their calves on my pasture right now. It has amazed me how mean cattle can be. When I feed them, I will dump out the grain in five or six piles just so they all can get a little and especially so the two older calves can get some. The thing I noticed is that cattle are a lot like people; they can’t be satisfied. They will be feeding on one of the piles but when they see another pile, they will butt each other out of the way just to feed on the next pile while the one they just left often still has as much as the other one does. Jealousy is almost as rampant with cattle as it is with people.

The thing that I wanted to talk about today isn’t about watching the cows but watching the calves. The youngest one is a little steer that was born I think on November 27th or 28th. It is just over a week old. Last night while I was watching the cows, I began to notice the newest calf getting his nose ever so close to the electric fence. He was looking to poke his head through and see what was on the other side. I wasn’t worried about him walking through the fence because where he was at was on the lower side of a retaining wall. I don’t know if he had already been shocked by the fence, which was probably the case, or if he smelled the electricity. I have heard that they can smell electricity and water. I don’t know if they can or not but regardless of his reasons, the calf never did touch the electric fence but just backed away from it. I got to thinking about it and figured that he may have already been shocked and learned from his mistake.

As I thought about this calf I thought, “Why are we not as smart?” Whether from learning by experience or by God-given ability, this calf either knew what would happen or just wasn’t willing to take the risk. He might have even seen one of the other cows get shocked and didn’t think it was worth it. We can’t seem to catch on to that. We will try the same stuff over and over expecting a different result. When I was in the freight business, we called that the definition of stupid. The oldest calf is 3 months old now and the fence isn’t an issue with her. The day she was born, the mom and the baby, along with the other cows, were going to the lower pasture. When “Little Bit” got tired she would stop and lay down wherever she happened to be. My pasture has just a walkway from the upper to lower pastures. I was afraid the calf would get stepped on while laying in the trail so I got her up and was trying to move her. She finally, very reluctantly got up and when she did she backed up a little into the fence behind her. As she lunged forward from the shock she made contact with the fence in front of her. Naturally she began to panic and just tried to run through the barbed wire and electric. Fortunately, I was standing by the fence and was able to stop her from coming through. In the process of doing that, she got tangled in the barbed wire and fell down across the fence after grounding it out. I got her untangled and gave her some real strong incentive to go to the lower pasture. She may get out today, but so far she has never offered to get out. I believe she learned about the consequences of her actions.

As I said, I was watching the littlest one, he gave it some thought but for whatever reason decided that it wasn’t worth the pain it would cause him. I continued to ponder that and the Lord stirred my heart about “touching our nose to the fence.” You may think that is silly but it is amazing what God can use to teach you if you are willing to learn. I started thinking about how that we know the consequences of sin but we still touch our nose to the fence to see if it is really as bad as everyone says it is. We figure if the shock ain’t too bad, it might just be worth it to do what we want even if it is not pleasing to God. We will often try to justify it when we get caught by saying that everyone else is doing it and they don’t have a problem with it. Everyone else that’s doing it may not be a child of God or are otherwise not trying to live pleasing to him. The blame game didn’t work in the Garden Of Eden when Adam tried to blame God for giving him Eve and tried to blame Eve even though he voluntarily took the fruit from her and ate it. The main thing to remember is that if you get too close to the fence, even for a split second, it will shock you. Your reasons for getting too close won’t matter, who else is doing it won’t matter, or who else you think has gotten away with it won’t matter. If you touch the fence, you will get shocked!

That brings me back to the original question; “Why are we not as smart?” Why do we not learn to just back away like that calf did? We know that according to Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Why do we repeatedly touch our nose to the fence or, get too close to sin knowing what the outcome will be? Looks like we should probably do like that calf did and just back away when we get too close. Hope this has been a help to you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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