Not in My Town, Stranger

I have always enjoyed old Westerns. It seems that there is always at least one point in the story where the sheriff steps out into the dusty street and stops. You can almost see the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. The music is ominous. He slowly turns and scans all around to identify…danger. There has to be a reason why he feels uneasy. There's something, or someone, threatening his town.

Sure, those scenes can be a bit melodramatic, but men can identify with that guy. At the core of who we are created to be is the ability to sense and respond to the life-giving breath of our Creator. That same ability equips us to sense danger lurking in the shadows. It is there to protect the life and light that we bring into this world.

Lately, I feel like I sense a cry in Father's Heart. I sought for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the breach! (Ezekiel 22:30) He is crying out for men to recognize and respond to Him. He seeks men who will resolve to place boundaries that protect the life to which we have committed. Anything that threatens to separate us from our Source of life can be shut out by men who build strong and stand firm.

When you look at the original wording of this passage of Scripture, a more accurate translation of "breach" would have been "gate." Why does it matter? Well, a gate is an entry point formed with purpose; it may be opened or closed at the will of those who guard the enclosure.

In my opinion, a man is never more fully a man than when he is making decisions that guard the life that he has helped create.

When a man works with those Father has placed alongside him, he will recognize his worth. He will realize that we are made worthy by the blood of our Savior. There is great value in His mandate to build boundaries and stand in the gate, taking any enemy that might be standing in the dusty street, threatening the life and light within us.

But, don't think that we are forced into this role! I was greatly impacted recently as I listened to Bill Johnson talk about the value of the human soul. Our mind, will, and emotions are so precious to our Father. He determined in the beginning that the will of man would not be violated. That ability to decide who and what to embrace would determine man's thinking. And then, through man's emotional reaction, how a man lives is formed.

Man must decide! Will I form a life without boundaries, living out from every wind of teaching that might blow in a fallen world? Or, will I live in the life and light that Father prepared from the foundation of the world? In truth, Almighty God only empowers one choice. Any other choice opens the gate of our life to the darkness of men empowered by the opinions of other men. Suddenly, that dusty street in the Old West has more bad guys than we can handle.

I have decided that I'm going to build strong and stand firm. The bad guys won't be coming through the gate I've been given to watch over. I'll be that sheriff with hard eyes and firm resolve, saying, "Not in my town, Stranger."