Tim Hawkins, a Christian comedian almost ruined one of my favorite Bible verses. In reference to God's "hedge of protection," Tim preferred razor wire instead of a row of greenery to keep the devil at bay. His antics certainly left me in fits of giggles as most of his comedy does, but it also prompted a few, much less humorous, thoughts of my own. After hearing Tim's jokes, I stumbled over the words, "hedge of protection" the next time I prayed them. Instead of seeing a mighty fortress, I saw the comic book Satan, large shears in hand, clip, clip, clipping away at my hedge. When this not-so-spiritual, inaccurate portrayal intruded into my prayer life, I wanted to throttle Tim. Now, I can thank him for a new insight as well as the belly laugh his theatrics provide. If, indeed, our hedge of protection were made out of greenery, why would it be so? Why would God choose a cluster of bushes and vines to offer protection? Being the romantic that I am, I envision English gardens with their hedgerows. These are preserved by the gardener who is the caretaker of the property. It is he who checks for dying limbs, gaps, or other sparseness that could potentially compromise the boundaries these plants serve to protect and define. Perhaps the same is true for us. Maybe our hedge of protection is, in fact, like Tim suggests: a living, growing planting of the Lord that WE get to tend--or to neglect. Through choices that go against God's word we can compromise what's meant to distinguish and shield us. Neglecting the tending of our hedge, we create vulnerabilities that become pathways for the enemy to encroach on our territory. These weak places in our hedge can permit him access to kill, steal, or destroy what is rightfully ours. By the same token, through choices we make, we can fertilize our hedge and thicken its branches. Doing what is right builds sturdy barriers between us and the enemy. When we realize what we have on the inside--the treasure of God's Spirit and the blessings of the Christian life--we take pleasure in our "green" boundaries, we delight in their care, and we realize that they preserve rather than limit. Instead of being tempted by what's on the other side, we love our sturdy, verdant fences that keep the party poopers of sin and evil influence from sneaking in to disrupt our joy. Trusting in God and delighting in His way allows us to grow our hedge and define the line of demarcation of our spiritual possession. We can enjoy our promises, defend our rights, and keep out the enemy--no matter how sharp his scissors might be.
Tip/Tidbit: For fun, check out Tim Hawkins comedy. He is a riot, but he will definitely ruin a couple of worship songs for you. For growth, check your choices. Are you permitting the enemy to have access to your life through poor choices? What can you do to strengthen your hedge of protection?