We haven’t actually killed a Coyote… Yet.
I was just bragging to some friends about how we had only lost 1 out of 35 chickens this winter – even with temperatures below zero. We were feeling so confident in our coop, our feeding system, and having roosters to protect the flock, that we started to let our guard down. Our temporary fence had become saggy due to the wind and rain, and on certain days we would miss a feeding hoping they would scavage more. Then, just this week we lost 3 more chickens. One hen had gotten out of the fence and could not find her way back in before we closed up the coop for the night. We didn’t know she had gotten out until the next day when we found feathers outside of an old dog house that we have laying on the side of our barn along with other scaps and freebies. We don’t always count our chickens before we close up the coop. The way they hunker down and bundle together makes in nearly impossible. You can’t tell if you’ve counted the same one twice or if you missed one that was tucked under another. Usually, we just glance in there and if it looks like there are 34ish chickens, we close it up. But sadly the one black hen, who escaped during the day and cleverly found shelter in the old dog house, was either killed by an animal or she froze to death from being isolated from the warm flock. So the next day, we decided to take down part of the fence to let the chickens free-range and easily be able to find their way back to the coop at night. But as you might have guessed, we lost two more chickens who were taken by coyotes. We don’t usually hear or see coyotes until late in the evening so we thought they’d be fine to free-range, but apparently, it’s the mating season and being later in the winter, coyotes are extra hungry and more aggressive.
It’s easy to let down our guard when things are going well for us. We may even find ourselves bragging about our successes. But Paul reminds us in I Cor. 10:12
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! ” And Peter in 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Recently I’ve let my guard down and have fallen into my flesh, not just with our chickens, but with certain sins. I thought I was doing really well in the area of forgiveness, letting go of control and past hurts, but in a moment of great fatigue, the enemy attacked me and I fell back into the person I hate – presumptuous, aggressive, depressed, bitter, angry, defensive…
I could totally relate to Paul in Romans 7 when he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
The Bible exhorts us to watch out so that we don’t fall because the roaring lion is out there to kill, steal, and destroy. We should take all the measures we can take to kill the coyote. We can and should continually be building stronger fences by guarding our mind daily in the Word, seeking counsel and discipleship, talking to God continually, serving people in need, regularly surrounding ourselves with Christians who will challenge us and point out blind spots, and so on. However even when we’ve done everything right to protect ourselves, the devil is clever at finding footholds. And when he does and when we fall again into our flesh – into the person we hate – we can be encouraged that “Though a righteous man falls 7 times, he gets back up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.” What’s more, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Satan is much like the coyote who found our chickens. He goes around looking for people who are confident in their flesh or in their walk with the Lord. He goes around looking for those who are isolated. He goes are around seeking to find ways to kill our joy and destroy our peace. He often does this by whispering lies of accusations into our head – or rather misconstrued truths or, truths taken out of context so that they seem true but are not. He places these manipulating thoughts in our minds during our greatest moments of weaknesses causing us to lash out these lies directly toward the person who is also in their greatest moment of weakness. You don’t think he’s been precisely and strategically planting the exact lie in your head that will react like a nuclear bomb at just right time with the precise lie that he’s also been planting in your adversary’s mind? Well, he does. And his strategy hasn’t changed since Adam and Eve. Why? Because it works! Or at least he thinks it works. He thinks he is gaining the upper hand of division and doubt. But we can be rest assured that even if we fall into Satan’s trap and back into the person we hate, that Jesus didn’t fall, and we, who are in Christ, are tucked safely inside Jesus’ righteousness where we are free from accusation and condemnation.
This weekend Kyle plans to do some Coyote hunting and build a stronger, taller, more permanent fence. We’ll probably still lose more chickens down the road but I’m sure God will just use that to inspire another life-lesson cause that’s just who He is. He causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28