My job was to take care of the dog and the chickens while my son and his family enjoyed a vacation in Hawaii. It wasn’t so bad until one afternoon I found that two of the chickens had “flown the coop,” literally. They were happily pecking right outside the fence while their girlfriends stuck inside were busy clucking their displeasure. They needed to be inside because my son’s foxhound, Sammy, needed a bathroom break after being cooped (pun intended) up in the house all day.
I called my son for his advice and was surprised when he said. “Open the gate to their enclosure and let Sammy out; she likes herding them back inside.” I was skeptical. Although I love Sammy, she seems pretty clueless about anything but running around, eating and sleeping. With nothing to lose, I let her out. One chicken ran in without much prompting, but one was stubborn. With much squawking and flying feathers, the errant one finally made it inside.
After researching about foxhounds and their hunting nature, it was even more puzzling that Sammy, instead of hurting the chickens, herded them. I don’t know how her natural instinct to capture was replaced by the urge to herd.
I also have natural instincts and it’s to sin. I’m right there with Paul when he says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15, NLT).
Why is that? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV).
Fortunately for us, there is one who knows our heart – knows the wicked things we want to do – and can change what comes naturally to us. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, NKJV).