If you're my friend on Facebook you might know that I've spent the last few days chasing our horse because she keeps getting out of our field. After she escaped the first time, we put her in a neighbor's pasture--80 acres of alfalfa--so she could graze while we figured out where she got out of our fence. She wasn't satisfied to stay in that pasture and has escaped to the highway posing a danger to herself and to traffic. I've had to chase her up and down said highway, halter her with a rope, and lead her back to the field. Not a safe experience for either of us.
Needless to say I've been frustrated and even told her after our last escapade that I was going to sell her to a glue factory. I still don't understand why an animal with access to acres and acres of alfalfa would escape to run up and down a highway with less than ideal feed. Unless it's because she wants to date that stallion across the street.
In any case, I've been thinking about our fences and how we need to keep them strong to not only keep the horse in, but to also keep predators out. (Update on our coyote problem: either the coyote has moved on, been shot somewhere else, or the donkey struck such fear in him that he never came back. Whatever the reason, he hasn't been back and the goats, for the moment, have been safe.)
I think this is a great parallel for our lives. We've been told to build our testimonies on a solid foundation (think "Wise Man vs. Foolish Man"). Once we build on that rock, we also need to erect fences. Strong fences. Fences that are meant to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. We can keep those fences in good shape when we read our scriptures, say our prayers, and keep the commandments. When we forget to say our prayers one day, the fence sags a bit. If we continually forget, or even lose the habit of daily prayer, we may even leave a gate open. Once that gate is open, there's no telling what can wander in. Rebellion. Murmuring. Speaking ill of our leaders. Loss of faith. Even loss of testimony.
Obviously, leaving a gate open would mean possible, even certain, death to my horse or goats. So will an open gate in our own spiritual fence. We need to continually keep our fences strong and able to withstand that which wants to get through to harm us. With a strong fence, we can keep out pornography, worldly philosophies, and other tools created by Satan to damage our foundation. Satan not only wants to damage our foundation, he wants to destroy it. We can stop him from even getting to our foundation by maintaining our fence. Daily prayer. Daily scripture study. Family Home Evening. Attending meetings. Fulfilling our callings. Attending the temple.
Just as I will reinforce the fences around my property to protect my horse, I will continue to reinforce my spiritual fence to protect me and my family.