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“TRAPPED LIKE A MISERABLE GOPHER” – April 2

April 2, 2013

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12

I am a ruler; a sovereign noble over more than nine acres of flora, fauna and terra firma.  My kingdom produces a variety of produce including cheatgrass, kosher weed, thistle, white-top, knapweed, ragweed, stinkweed, milkweed, morning glory, hemlock, crabgrass, Russian olive, among other varieties of the unwanted.  My kingdom is not a land of agricultural produce.

IMAG0018However, there is trouble in my kingdom.  There is open rebellion to my rule.  Not all the inhabitants of my lands are willing to subjugate their existence to my rule.  The gophers have declared their independence.  They have declared their freedom and pockmarked my fields with mounds of defiance.  They are usurpers and destroyers.

I hate gophers.

Their existence is a stench.  Their menacing message has reached even within my yard.  The audacity of proclaiming their message of defiance by blanketing mounds of soil over my grasses of fescue, cultivated by my own hand, has to be stopped.  My domain must be defended.

I have declared war on all gophers and have bounded myself to their destruction.  Their destruction has been primarily wrought through the use of the trap.  This season my wrath has been particularly felt by these usurpers.  I have already trapped 44 of their rebellious kind.

Mazama Pocket Gopher trapping arrayDeception and lies are the principles of effective trapping.  The gopher must be deceived into complacency in order for the trap to deliver them to their destruction.  The gopher must be lured from the safety of their natural environment into the artificial environment of my trap.  This dance of enticement requires the practice of the art of deception.  Every gopher that I have trapped has followed the promise of one of my lies.  I have never pursued any gopher down their filthy tunnel.  I am a master of deception and lies.  My lies are crafted upon their natural tendencies to orchestrate a sonata that is so seductive that they willingly shuffle from the hand of safety into my hand of destruction and death.

The immature gophers are easy.  They are oblivious to a change in environment and the danger that it represents.  I don’t even have to be very careful in crafting the deception of my trap for these wee-ones.  They stumble along and don’t perceive that the walls of their tunnel have changed from dirt to plastic, they don’t comprehend the unfamiliar scent of my hand, they do not consider the danger of the message dangling enticingly before  their nose.  They push against the trip-wire that I have lured them to and there is no time for escape once tripped.  They are in my hand in that instant and their destruction is assured.

I prefer to kill gophers when they are young, before they get the chance to mature and start to reproduce.  That is when they become a real problem.  Therefore, I am diligent in setting my traps during those periods when I know that the young are venturing out into their own tunnels.  I can tell when a little one is finding its own way.  Their tunnels are small and their mounds are little.  Their tunnels are shallow and easy to dig up.  I seek them out.  I will pursue a young one over a mature one.  A mature gopher is hard to deceive.  My time is best spent on the young ones.  Therefore, my eyes roam my lands for small mounds and I am quick to spread my traps of deception when the young ones venture too close.

This does not mean that I do not entice the mature gophers.  I celebrate every mature gopher that I destroy.  They are the ones responsible for the greatest encroachments into my domain.  Therefore, the mature gophers, especially the leaders, which I can ensnare, are particularly satisfying because I understand the difficulty in getting them to fall.  The trick for trapping a mature gopher is to get them distracted from their natural senses.  The deception for a mature gopher must be sufficient to get them to rush into the trap.  They must be enticed to rush forward with passion, otherwise the warning signs of even the most skillful lie will alert them to danger and they will flee, backfilling their tunnel, and the opportunity lost.

I play on the passions of the mature.  I know what they love.  I know what instincts drive them.  Gophers are very territorial.  Each gopher has its own tunnel system and they defend it vigorously.  Their territory is their greatest love; it is their greatest passion.  They will rush to the defense of their territory.  When I set a trap for a mature gopher I spin the lie of their greatest passion.

I take the body of a gopher that I have already killed and lay it behind the trip-wire of my trap.  A mature gopher will be blinded by their passion to protect their territory and rush past all the warning signs that normally would have kept them safe.  I have trapped gophers so large that I don’t know how they pushed themselves into my trap.  Their territorial passion must have been all consuming.  This has been the only way I have been able to kill the big ones.  It is the only way I have been able to effectively deceive them.

I use death to entice them to death.

Every follower of Christ lives in a world, whose ruler hates them.  Those who call on the name of Christ are an abomination to the ruler of this world.  We have an enemy who is seeking our destruction.  We have an enemy who cannot destroy us in safety of our new environment in Christ.  Therefore, he must lure us out of the safety with deceptions and lies.

He has an affinity for feasting on the destruction of the immature.  He spins lies that the words of God are not true and cannot be trusted; he crafts the deception that giving up the pleasures of this world is not worth the gift of eternal life; he amplifies the cares of this world to choke the young with anxiety and worries so that they forget what they have been promised; he send in charismatic wolves to preach a slightly different message that sends the careless in a direction that leads only to the trap trip-wire.  He seeks the young ones who are venturing out on their own because they are easy to deceive.  He wants to get them before they spread the message of the Gospel and become a real problem.

However, that does not mean that he does not come after the mature ones.  He just has to work harder.  He has to craft more elaborate lies.  His traps may take years to be laid.  He knows that he must get the mature followers of Christ to blindly rush after his lies and ignore all that they know to be true.  He must stoke their passions for the flesh.  He must get them to abandon their first love.  All he has available for bait is death.  Therefore, he must make death appear beautiful and desirable.  He must craft an illusion that in death there is the promise of all that they have ever desired.  He must get them to believe that death is preferable to life.

He uses death to entice the wayward to death.

Our enemy roams this world seeking those whom he can devour.  Do you believe that?  There are many who don’t believe that.  There are many who live in so careless a manner that it appears that they are oblivious to the existence of a predator.

It is in Christ where we are safe.  We are secure when we are living according to the Spirit and our minds are set on the things of the Spirit.  We have nothing to fear when we hear the word of God, believe it and bear fruit.

The fact that we have nothing to fear does not mean we should be lackadaisical to dangers.  We do not need to fear of this world due to our ability to cling to the promises of God.  The setting of our minds on the wonderful promises of God and the things of His Spirit is what grounds our hearts to our first love.  It keeps our passions for our first love.  When we love God with everything that we are and have then there is no passion that will entice us to rush away from our Lord.  Perseverance is the following of our passion for Christ and Him alone.

Let us not ignore  the world that we live in.  We have an enemy who is cunning.  He will lay many traps for us.  However, he is not to be feared as long as we do not let our love for our Lord to venture from our hearts.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for freeing us from a spirit of slavery and living in fear.  Thank you for giving us the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we can cry “Abba! Father!”  Thank you for hearing our cries.  Lord keep us and protect our hearts from all of the passions that can be used to entice us to wander away from you and our minds to drift back to the things of this world.  You are better than all that this world has to offer, combined.  Keep me under the shelter of your wing.  Amen

22 comments

  1. Reblogged this on ipbchigi and commented:
    Great Article!


  2. I can tell that Bill Murray has got NOTHING over you!
    Loved how this post turned out.


    • Thanks Ed!


  3. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    This is a delightfully different approach to sharing God’s love. ~ Connie


  4. Great lesson in a well written up to date parable.


  5. “We have an enemy who cannot destroy us in safety of our new environment in Christ. Therefore, he must lure us out of the safety with deceptions and lies.” Thank you for a compelling warning, JD. I do NOT want to be a gopher!!


  6. Reblogged this on Jeffrey H. King's Blog and commented:
    This is about the best description of the snares of Satan I’ve ever read!


  7. THIS WAS A HOOT!! And very instructional/insightful! I’m always impressed when someone can come up with an attention-grabbing way to teach the Gospel. You drew us in to your “message trap.” Just remember to only use your powers for good…not evil!

    You remind me of people I met on a business trip to Texas. They hate prairie dogs with a passion. But they don’t use traps. They use a coupla lawn chairs, an igloo with beer, a whistle, and 12 gauge shotguns. They settle into position, put the whistles in their mouths, disable the safeties, and BLOW! The critters all jump up out of their burrows: “What was that? Where’d it come from?”

    Ka-BLAM!! And they all duck out of sight. ‘Cept for a few.

    Wait a few minutes for them to forget, and blow again.

    It’s kinda like adult Whack-A-Mole with shells and booze.


  8. Reblogged this on The Recovering Legalist and commented:
    This post by J.D. Blom is spot on. Using his gopher-hunting skills as an analogy, J.D. makes it chillingly obvious why Satan first goes after the young, then skillfully and patiently traps the mature. Well worth the read, if for no other reason than to learn how to catch a gopher.


  9. Reblogged this on A DEVOTED LIFE and commented:

    It is gopher season once again here in southern Idaho. Last night, as my wife and I walked our property checking gopher traps (so romantic), she reminded me of this post. So, I thought it might be a good one to reblog.


  10. […] I walked my nine acres of unproductive farm-ground in hunt for the only thing my property produces in abundance – gophers.  The rains of March have cleared my land of snow and sapped the frost out of the ground.  As green sprouts begin to push out toward the surface, other monuments to spring have been appearing across my acreage – the miserable gopher mounds.  I have a gopher problem substantiated by last year’s trap total of 126 gophers.  I have written about my hate of gophers before (Trapped Like a Miserable Gopher). […]


  11. […] temptations: JD Blom doesn’t like gophers, but he uses them to illustrate Satan’s traps.  Standard advice to preachers:  be careful about being the hero of your own illustrations.  JD […]


  12. Reblogged this on wordimagery and commented:
    Thanks again JD. I really appreciate this analogy. We need (I need) to be reminded of these things over, and over again. Really helps me to keep centered in the midst of my busy work-week. “Set you affections on those things that are above and not beneath..”.


  13. Thanks for posting this. Really like the analogy. I’ll have to let JD know. We need (I need) reminders such as this over, and over again. Really helps to keep me centered in the midst of my busy work-week.

    Blessings


  14. Reblogged this on Beyond The Cloth.


  15. A masterwork in its own right, I am so blessed to found this blog to follow…thanks!


  16. The carnal mind is enmity against God, as Paul says. Indeed.


  17. A bit like Milton’s paradise lost, maybe…


  18. […] “TRAPPED LIKE A MISERABLE GOPHER” – April 2. […]


  19. LOVE this! very Screwtape Letters-ish!


    • Funny, I was thinking as I read it that hubby & I started the Screwtape Letters awhile back & got distracted, not finishing. I was thinking we needed to get back to them as I was reading this piece. Interesting that this made someone else think of the SL.


  20. Reblogged this on Take A Look.



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