Hey there! How are all y’all doing? Fine? Great! Grab a glass of something cold to beat this heat, and sit down and relax a minute. Especially if you’ve been out in the summer heat! Remember – NEVER leave a child, pet or elderly person in a vehicle if it’s above about 72 degrees outside. A car can heat up 30-40 degrees in under 15 minutes, even with cloud cover. Okay, I’m off the soap box. Oh wait – I’m gonna climb back on so y’all can hear me, lol.
My BFF has some acreage with pretty much the entire farm menagerie, minus a hog or sheep. One of my favorite animals is her goat. His name is Ne-eh-eh-ed. Ned. He’s a billy goat, with the horns and all. When I’ve been around, he’s been pretty cool. He’s fat and looks like he’s pregnant and about to pop, but still a cool goat. He likes to be scratched between the horns on top of his head. He’s a nice goat. He doesn’t scare me like her huge (16 hands for you horse people) and unpredictably crazy quarter horse.
When I was growing up, my dad had a friend who moved to a farm in southern Missouri. They had a herd of goats and we kids would ride them like ponies. Except one billy goat. He would head butt anybody and anything. You could see the wheels turning in his little goat brain, and off he’d go- butt, butt, butt. Bang, bang, bang. He could knock you down.
Sometimes we people are like that, too. We get stubborn, defensive and downright ‘goat-ish’. We see or hear something we don’t like and decide to resist it, or attack it. Sometimes we even do that to the truth if we don’t like what we hear.
Ever get really excited about doing something new and somebody has to ‘butt, butt, butt’ you about it? You know, for every reason why you should, they have a ‘but… so and so tried that and it was a disaster.’ Or, ‘but, you’ve never done anything like that before!’ Or, ‘but that doesn’t make any sense!’ Or, ‘but you should wait awhile before you try that.’
I’m not saying we shouldn’t listen to those around us! The Scripture says that in a multitude of counselors is safety. (Proverbs 15:22 – check out the rest of that chapter, too!) But sometimes (pun intended) we need to ignore the goats and follow the Shepherd! Again, talk to your spiritual leaders, talk to someone with experience whom you trust and respect if it’s a major change. Be sure you pay attention while you’re at it.
On the other hand, how often have I been the one to ‘butt, butt, butt’ against God? How many times have I decided that Jesus didn’t really mean what He said (butt) or that was just a cultural comment by Paul (butt) or that ‘everybody does it today, so it’s fine to do that’ (butt). I had a pastor once who called that ‘Billy Goat Religion’. Every time there was a command in the Scriptures, or a flat statement about sin, somebody would butt their head against it as though they could win against God. That, folks, is a losing proposition! How many times have you felt God nudge you to do something, but you ‘nudged’ it back into His court? Butt. How many times has someone asked you to help them, but you didn’t want to be bothered? Butt. When was the last time you gave your time or money or talent or anything to the Lord through the church? Butt.
Maybe you’re persisting in a lifestyle of addictions and trying to do it all your own way. Butt. You won’t even try to get the help you need to overcome something because you think someday it will just magically change. Butt. Maybe you just have a ‘pet sin’ that you have consistently excused over the long haul, and now are too afraid or ashamed or feel too hopeless to even try to change. Butt.
I have bad news, and I have good news! Jesus will separate the sheep who follow Him from the goats who spend their time butting heads with Him. Go look at Matthew 25, starting with verse 31. I’ll wait.
The good news is that Jesus can change a goat into a sheep! How about you? Do you see some goat-like tendencies in your own heart or life? Take them to Jesus. He can transform you through His love. If you need someone to talk to, find a pastor or a priest. They can lead you to the Shepherd and teach you to stop butting heads with Him. I promise life’s a lot simpler when we go with him!