Have you ever wondered what barbed wire fences and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have in common? Well, I’ll tell you.
The other day we went and helped a lady named Jan fix and rebuild a fence for her stallion (we'll call him Jasper because I can't remember his name). Jasper is not just any other horse; he is a race horse and Jan's pride and joy. Just about all of Jan’s daily activities revolve around her horses--especially this beautiful thoroughbred. Jan needed a new fence because she was afraid her old one wouldn’t keep Jasper in when the temptation of fresh spring grass popped up around the fence. She did not want her horse to get out and roam around. She didn't need a new fence because she wanted to confine Jasper, she wanted one because she wanted to keep him in a safe area where there were no threats and she could take care of him.
As we were putting the barbed wire on the fence, the thought came to me “Holy Cow! This is a lot like life and the commandments God gives us.” God cares so much for us. We are His pride and joy. His work revolves around us. He knows our potential just like Jan knows the potential of her stallion. She knows Jasper isn’t supposed to be just another horse to trot around with; she knows his genes are bred to race. Because of this, she makes sure he has a special diet and is well taken care of. We are all children of God. God knows our royal bloodline and sees our divine potential. He makes sure we are nourished by His word. He watches over us. But the most important thing He does is He builds a fence.
He puts up a barrier so He can take care of us. This barrier, this fence, is His commandments. He’s drawn the line and told us where the boundaries that protect us are. He has given them in His scriptures written by His servants. The only difference is we know where the gate is, and it’s our choice whether to stay within the bounds He has set. He tells us what to abstain from and also things we need to do. The greatest news is that His mouth is still open today. Today, modern prophets continue to give us commandments in an ever-changing, standard-fleeting world.
So why does He give us commandments? Is it to confine and keep us away from the “fun” things of the world? No, it’s because He knows there is so much temptation in the world that is pleasing to the eye, but will ultimately lead to disappointment, devastation, and, in the end, eternal destruction. If Jasper followed the enticing grass, he would face dangerous traffic, disease, and would never reach his potential to be a great race horse. Just like this, if we follow the temptations of the world, we can never expect to reach our Heavenly potential.
Although God’s commandments sometimes look like they restrict us, they are there to give us life. We all have the choice to stay within the barrier that God has set or wander around searching for a greener pasture. I can promise you that no pasture is truly greener. Take it from one who hasn’t always stayed inside the fence. God’s commandments are really here to protect us. If you are outside the fence, go back in and live within the bounds that God has set. If you are in the fence stay there! It is the only way to happiness and peace. It is the only way to eternal salvation.