WHERE IS A CAT WHEN YOU NEED ONE?

For several days we heard it. Movement. Tapping. Jostling. 

We thought that surely it was nothing more than just normal  “noises” that a house tends to make at times. 

Then the noise became more confined. More specifically located. And more like…eating. Last night, we found Ralph.

First we noticed the dog treats scattered throughout the cabinets. Then we noticed a few “surprises” Ralph left behind for us. Then we found Ralph munching loudly on one of the dog treats Moses holds so dear.

Out went all the dishes to be washed. Off went the bottom plastic piece of the dishwasher. And out came the blueprints titled “How We Will Capture Ralph”. 

A homemade mouse trap is all that will do. There will be no mouse murders in the Mayfield house. Strategically and quietly, Reece and I stalked and staked out Ralph and his habits last night. We remodeled a popcorn box into a tempting haven of treats and peanut butter. We figured a respectable ramp leading up to a balcony overlooking the now empty cabinet below would be a suitable new home for Ralph…once he stepped onto the delicately placed peanut butter cloth hiding the trap door…At least until he is relocated to the field by our house. 

Late last night I returned to ground zero to see if our plan had succeeded. That’s when I found him. Reginald. The jolly sound of munching could now be heard from two separate locations at ground zero. Ralph was found munching happily under the dishwasher. And…surprise! The drama just got more intense. His buddy, Reginald, was found munching in our cookie sheet cabinet. He looked at me like a deer in headlights with the bacon strip dangling from his tiny jaws as if to say “I can explain.” 

The water line tunnel leading from the sink cabinet, through two cabinets, and to the dishwasher serves as a secret passageway for the two pals. Needless to say, the stalking, the staking, and the strategies are continuing today. One of the pals thought he would be smart and drag the peanut butter cloth off the balcony trap door last night. He left behind a note that read “Thanks for the house warming gift. But you really need to fix that gigantic hole on top of the house because I almost fell in.”

The other pal was seen leaving the premises early this morning. New blueprints and plans of action are now needed. 

So what in the world is the spiritual application with this story? 

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”- Proverbs 29:25 

The fear of man is something we have all experienced at one time or another. The fear of man does not just mean that we actually are fearful that someone will hurt us in some way. To fear others, oftentimes, means that we try to please man more than we try to please God. Let’s take this type of fear into consideration.

It begins when we are able to clap our pudgy baby hands. We do something outrageously perfect such as sitting up on our own or reaching for a toy. Our parents joyfully exclaim how proud they are and encourage us to do it again. We learn cause and effect. We learn that our actions have the potential to get a hand clap or a “hooray”. We love the response we get from the adults as they coo over us. 

Our need to please others continues through our childhood. Good grades, blue ribbons, and college acceptance letters make us feel special and bring smiles to faces. Friends and peers approve of you when you help, give, or, oftentimes, give in. 

We continue our need to please others throughout our adult life with the same purpose as a one year old waiting for the audience in the room to burst into applause. Some people are the ultimate people pleaser. Some people have a healthy balance. And there are a few who seek only to please themselves. 

A healthy balance is probably the way to go. But when we seek to please others more than God, we must beware. Beware of the snare.

Like a tiny mouse caught in a trap, our need to please others becomes the tasty treat we seek so desperately. It can enslave us so greatly that it becomes our primary goal in life. It can become like a snare that deceives us into thinking that the approval of others is the standard by which we should judge ourselves. Something as small as what to wear…to something as big as sharing our faith…If we allow the approval or disapproval of others be our standard for living, we have allowed the enemy an invitation to speak into our life.

God is a holy and righteous God who only allows holy and righteous people into heaven. If we judge ourselves by the standard of others, we seem to be doing pretty well. Murder? Never. Adultery? No way. But God only judges us by the standard of a holy and righteous God. A little something called the Ten Commandments is a good place to start. Have you murdered? No. Have you hated? At one point… I’m sure the answer is yes. Have you committed adultery? No way. Have you lusted? Let’s be honest. Our holy and righteous God will not allow you into His holy and righteous kingdom. Because the standard is not your best friend’s cousin who is in jail for theft. The standard is Jesus Christ.

Speaking of Jesus, we can be grateful that our holy and righteous God knows that we are not holy and righteous in and of ourselves. It is Christ in us that makes us worthy to enter heaven. It is Christ in us that makes us worthy to be called a child of God. And it is He alone by which all can be saved. If you ask me, no approval of others compares to that of the only one who can set us free.

It is your choice. Approval of man will send you falling into a popcorn box. Pretty soon, the peanut butter will be gone. The approval of God will set you free in a field of safety where the sustenance is endless. Ask Ralph and Reginald in a few short hours. They will tell you which they prefer.

Blessings!

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