The other day, Elder Rockwood and I were thinking of what we could do or who we could go see. I don’t recall exactly what we were doing beforehand other than that all of our plans had fallen through. We looked through a list of members of our church in the area and chose a name that was close by. As we pulled up we noticed that the house was fenced off with a “Beware of Dog” sign… A couple of them. Well, we’re missionaries in the South where EVERYONE has a similar sign. Usually the signs end up being for a “ferocious” ankle biter like a Pomeranian or a Chihuahua. We weren’t too worried. We rattled the chain link fence to get any dogs that may have been there to come out. Nothing happened.
As we entered the fence, my heart began to pound slightly as we heard, from underneath the house, the clanking of dogs’ choke chains. My heart dropped. Out from under the house came two HUGE pit bulls. I’m not lying when I say that I’m pretty sure that their heads were bigger than mine. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but still, these dogs were huge. They cornered us on the stairs of the porch, teeth showing and ready to make minced meat out of us. I said a silent prayer and braced for the pain of dogs eating me just as Elder Rockwood knocked on the door. Thankfully and miraculously, the owner came and shooed the dogs away and we received no harm; although, my legs were still shaking when we got back in the car. I literally thought I was going to die.
Every day we are faced with things that are just as dangerous, if not more so, than two pit bulls. True, the danger is of a different sort, but it is still danger. The danger I speak of is that of temptation, sin, and all other things that draw us away from our Heavenly Father. You see, each time we are faced with any sort of adversity it is like coming up to a fenced off yard. We have already been warned. The warnings are all over; the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the words of the living prophets today, and a host of other ways. My plea to you today is this, BEWARE THE DOG OF SIN.
Oftentimes The “fenced off yard of temptation” seems harmless. We may say, “Ugh, it’s not like this is a BIG sin.” (Assuming it is a “Chihuahua of sin”) and walk right in, only to later find that what we thought was a chihuahua was actually two large pit bulls. Those things don’t like to let go once they have you. You cannot run. When you alone go head to head with Satan, he will outrun and overpower you every time. Besides, when you realize the mess that you have gotten yourself into, you are frozen with fear, leaving yourself feeling completely and utterly alone.
May I just say that it does not have to be this way. The yard is fenced off with signs all over it for a very good reason. It is not because your Heavenly Father had a couple of extra commandments that He decided to throw at us just to give us more rules. The sins and transgressions we face each day are VERY real, VERY dangerous, and they are NOT chihuahua sized. Listen to the signs that warn you of harm. They are there to protect us from the dangers that we cannot see. They come in the form of loving parents, teachers, friends, the scriptures, Prophets of God, and the Still, Small Voice that is the Holy Ghost.
My plea to you today is this, if you have found yourself facing one of these spiritual fenced off yards, obey the signs and turn away. Turn the other way and walk back to your Heavenly Father. He is waiting with arms outstretched. If you have made the mistake of entering that yard, dogs cornering you and all, do not fear. You are still a child of a loving Father who ALWAYS wants you to be safe in His care. Turn to Him, rely on Him, and I promise you, He will lead you to that safety.