Who Painted My Cow?

Sometimes curiosity wins. Our church’s youth group worked hard in the intense Texas heat to scrape and paint the Cross-Dubya’s pipe fencing over the two days they were here. As the team shared, listened, learned and laughed—a few managing to get more paint on them than the fence—all had a good time. On Saturday evening, as we were cleaning up, I decided to check the water in our north pasture. That’s when “Ronaldo” the bull calf walked up with a forlorn look on his face. One look at my beautiful, solid-coated Red Angus calf told me that curiosity won.

Visible evidence of his inability to resist temptation was all over my calf’s face, head, and neck. Watching the young people painting one of the braces, he apparently could not resist the urge to investigate further. With a chuckle, I shook my head and snapped the photo. I checked his eyes and mouth to make certain he hadn’t been silly enough to try and taste it. Satisfied he was physically okay, I smacked his hindquarter and sent him on his way to find mama.

As he slowly sauntered away, the words of James 1:14-15 came to mind.

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn
away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire
has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is
full-grown, brings forth death.”
(James 1:14-15)

I remembered how often in my young life I too allowed my curiosity to lead me headfirst into temptation. When I recalled how my adopted dad used to tell me, “You’re like a bull in a china shop”, I laughed again, thinking perhaps maybe God made us more alike the animals we care for than I thought.

In Romans 7:15-18, the Apostle Paul explained how sin dwells within each of us (Christian and non-Christian). Sin, being a part of our mortal being, enables us to be tempted. When temptation becomes sufficiently appealing to us, it causes our almost involuntary response to sin. Our craving for what appeals to us, even though we might recognize it is wrong, is too strong to overcome in our flesh. I’ve learned that the more (longer) I focus on something tempting, the more my desire for it grows. Perhaps this is one of the primary reasons God gives us self-control as one of the fruits of His Spirit.

For me, the key to the gift of self-control is my willingness to use it. Indwelled with the Holy Spirit, I can instantly sense when Satan attempts to sway my attention and draw me into his web of deceit, decay, and sin. It’s that check in my spirit that says, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!” If unheeded for very long, I fall headlong for Satan’s trap and sin is birthed.

In what ways are you made aware of temptation in your life? #CrossDubya #OvercomingTemptation #SpiritualWalk Click To Tweet

Satan uses many devices to tempt folks. In my life, I sense them visually when reading or looking at something or someone and aurally when I hear something that piques my carnal interest or disgust. I suspect he can use all of our natural senses, as all of man was corrupted upon the fall. Knowing our trigger points should cause us to be on guard more in those situations, but Satan is so deceptive and cunning that he can sneak up on us and attack us when we least expect it. It is for that reason that we should invite the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts and actions throughout the day.

What are some of the ways that Satan tempts you? How do you guard against falling for his tricks? #OvercomingTemptation #Temptation #SpiritualWalk Click To Tweet

When I pay attention to God’s warnings, I can apply His exhortations to flee from so many of the worldly things that can ensnare our lives. I often think of James 4:7; which says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Sounds easy doesn’t it? What many Christians today fail to learn—and perhaps it’s because we the church fail to teach them—is how do we resist Satan’s ploys. God’s word teaches us and gives us Christ’s example during His 40 days in the desert following His baptism by John the Baptist as described in the Gospels. The key is knowing God’s word and keeping it in our heart for instant recall (Psalm 119:11) when it’s needed.

Some of the ways I’ve learned, not that I always apply them sadly, to resist temptation when the Holy Spirit sends out His warnings in my soul are:

  • Call upon God’s strength to help me overcome the temptation. It’s by focusing my mind on God and not the worldly temptation that invites God’s power to surge through my life. He doesn’t go where He’s not invited.
  • Remind yourself that as a child of God, the power of sin no longer has any hold over you. You have been freed from sin and forgiven. Too many of us fail to remember that Christ died for our sins before we were even born. He’s already paid the debt for ALL of our sins. We have to remember to apply the instructions of 1 John 1:9 to ensure we maintain the right relationship with God through confession and repentance.
  • Use God’s word to rebuke Satan in the moment. He’s not going to wait while you dust off your Bible and struggle to find what you need to send him packing.
  • Pause to think about the terrible price Jesus Christ paid to free us and restore our relationship with the Father. We must remember how much He loved us and repay that love with our obedience. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He expects us to be purposeful in this life.

With each day, I see fewer signs of my calf’s failure to avoid temptation as he rubs his head and face on the ground, mama licks him, and he uses his hooves to remove the stain of his transgression from himself. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God can remove the stain of sin from our lives with a simple, faithful prayer?

When I asked our Pastor, “Which one of you Picasso’s painted my cow”, and showed him the photo, we both laughed. I’m not sure if he thought about how temptation can overtake all of us, but I’m certain there’s a sermon in there somewhere in my future.

I pray this week that you found both a moment of laughter and a reminder of praise in this post. A last lesson I’ve learned is that with each success I have at turning from temptation, the more confidence I have in my faith to do so. I may never be sin free in this earthly life, but with God’s help I can become less sin full.

God’s blessings,

Signature

58 thoughts on “Who Painted My Cow?

    1. LOL Thank you Ms. Gail. I thought it a great example. I loved how “Ronaldo” reluctantly came to me, seemingly ashamed to show me the mess he had gotten himself into. I wondered how God sees us when we come to him, filthy and covered in sin? I think He sees us with the loving eyes of a parent, as I tried to my little five-month-old calf.

  1. Hi, friend.
    What a great photo of Ronaldo and a wonderful lesson for us!
    I love the points you’ve shared. This nugget of truth would make a great bumper sticker or sound byte. “He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He expects us to be purposeful in this life.”
    Blessings,
    Tammy

      1. Well said Ms. Barbara. While sin can no longer hold power over us, the guilt we carry because of unconfessed sin in our lives can. Satan will use that to cause us to doubt the sincerity of our faith, and often times, it will lead to weakening our testimony. Great reminder ma’am.

  2. This is the BEST! And so true! ❤️ “For me, the key to the gift of self-control is my willingness to use it. “ Simple… yet profound! “Pause to think about the terrible price Jesus Christ paid to free us and restore our relationship with the Father. “ Gut punch! Keep writing. I can wait for that book to hit!!! ❤️

  3. J.D., when we painted our living room I found my yellow lab sitting quietly with her front legs crossed looking at me with those innocent lab eyes. I shook my head. A big splotch of red paint covered her head. Our sins will surely find us out.

  4. Love this, brother J.D. . It’s a great illustration of the price of sin, how to overcome, and the benefits of dealing with little temptations. And, I chuckled at your red bull. Hilarious! Thank you.

  5. Thanks J.D., for the story, pictures, and prompts. Didn’t one of the ol’ country singers have a tune about ‘I ride an ol’ paint’…, don’t really remember. Anyway, this ol’ papa is often too tired, or too, shaky, to stand up to every lure out there which would take away from my testimony and the Lord knows and amen. Thanks agaiin good buddy. Ol’ papa

    1. Not sure about that song my friend, but can sure appreciate the “too tired and old” part. Still, I find myself asking forgiveness far more than I would like to most days.

    1. Thank you Ms. Ann. I think far too many of us fail to remember that even though we are saved from sin and forgiven for our transgressions, we still house a sinful human nature. While I can’t unplug from it, I can minimize its impact on my life. Because it’s there in me, doesn’t mean I need to feed and care for it. Amen ma’am!

  6. LOL as soon as I saw the picture before I even opened the post to read I knew this cow had to have followed the kids in their painting job you spoke of and the paint gave his behavior away LOL

  7. Okay, I laughed at the “danger, Will Robertson, danger” because of how many younger folks might not get the reference. Such a wonderful lesson from the poor painted cow. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow. When I first saw that photo I thought maybe some of your volunteers got a little carried away with the paint brush. How funny he did it to himself! I hope his mama recognized him!!
    I’ve always been TOO curious, and willful too (never could pass a Wet Paint sign without touching it to make sure). (sigh) I love how you turn everyday or funny things into good God messages. keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you for the blessing of encouragement Ms. Jackie. So glad you enjoyed ma’am. I knew the instant I saw him that he must’ve decided to investigate the downpipe (aka kicker) inside one of my corner braces with his head. Sure enough, when our Pastor called his wife over to show her the photo, she chuckled and asked me which little calf that was. She said she and the youngsters had tried to shoo him away, but his curiosity got the best of him. She and Pastor came on the second day to lend a hand and provide adult guidance. Am sure glad they did.

  9. I love that picture, J.D.! I wondered how my namesake down there was doing, and it’s interesting to see that we share that dangerous curiosity you elaborated on so effectively. I am always grateful for the way your admonitions are Scripturally reinforced and practical. The suggestions you presented are dependable and powerful deterrents to the deceptive allure of the devil’s bait. Thanks again for the practical spiritual nourishment, my friend, and for another enlightening visit to the Cross-Dubya–and thanks, too, for the updated picture of Ronaldo. It was a really pleasant introduction to an instructive and enlightening piece.

    1. Such kind words Mr. Ron. Thank you so much sir. I’ll endeavor to live up to those words one day my friend. Yes, little “Ronaldo” is not so little today. He’s around 325 and is doing great! He’ll be weaned in about a month (after next round of vaccinations), which will be a traumatic couple of weeks for him. After that, he’s slated for a long life as a herd bull with a friend in Arkansas who will make sure he’s well cared for.

  10. Great post, J.D.! It occurs to me that it might be better of our transgressions were “written all over our faces” too. Perhaps we’d be quicker to confess them.
    Ronaldo is adorable!

    1. Amen Ms. Gena. While we don’t have an “idiot light” on our forehead to denote something is wrong like the ones on our vehicle’s dashboard, we do have a Holy Spirit inside to convict us of our sin and wait for us to reconcile ourselves once again with God. And thanks, “Ronaldo” is 300+ pounds of personality for sure. To watch him bull (lower his head and try to butt heads with another cow) with his father (2,000+ pound “Mavric”) is a sight!

  11. Ronaldo painted a masterpiece in tints of red and white!! Seriously I’m glad he didn’t get hurt, and his story of giving in to curiosity and temptation provides a great lesson for us all. Thank you, J.D.

    1. So very kind. Thank you Ms. Kathy. I too am grateful that “curiosity didn’t kill the calf” (in this case), and I’m not sure if he learned a lesson from it or not. When they’re just months old like this, they can let their curiosity lead them into all kinds of situations. Perhaps one day I’ll share some of the many stories of “Calf Rescues – A Lifetime of Lessons”

  12. Wonderful, entertaining, and instructive post! The last bullet point of your battle-tested list of way you resist temptation is the one most effective for me.

    How could I not be convicted when I think aboit the sacrifice Jesus paid for me.

    1. Right there with you Ms. Candyce. It’s when I pause to consider the cost paid to give me His strength to fight the urge to sin that I can short-circuit my carnal desires. Thank you ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Emily. Me too ma’am. This week, as he’s worked to get that paint off, he’s been a bit less curious. Just let them into a new pasture for him though, so who knows what next week will bring. LOL

  13. Another great lesson at your bull calf’s expense! It reminds me of the Apostle Paul when he decried the two conflicts fighting inside him in Romans 7:14-25. Verse 19 says, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” And the final verse says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
    It’s like that old saying, the dog that gets fed the most wins the fight. May we all feed on the Word of God, and He will give us victory through the power of the Holy Spirit. Blessings, brother J.D.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. What we feed ourselves can make all the difference in a fight. I think of that quote from F.F. Bosworth (I’ll paraphrase here), “We feed out bodies three hot meals a day, but our souls one cold snack per week. Then we wonder why are faith is so weak.”

  14. I’m just like your calf except I know better! Poor little guy has no clue, but I do and I should. Thanks for reminding me, J.D., that I can resist in God’s power!

    1. Amen Ms. Kathy! It’s the ones who don’t know (like “Ronaldo”) that we can feel sorry for, but as you point out, we should certainly know better. We just have to ask God’s help to grow stronger. 🙂

  15. Temptation is always lurking this side of eternity. It’s an exhausting endeavor to turn away. Grateful we have the Spirit to guide and strengthen us and blessings when we choose wisely. Best way to upend the enemy’s cause is obedience, but oh how very difficult in a world full of colorful “paint”. Hugs to Ronaldo. Glad he didn’t suffer from his curiosity.

    1. You betcha Ms. Melissa. As I was writing the post, I couldn’t help thinking of the many times I’ve fallen headfirst into sin. Isn’t it funny though? It seems to be I lead with my heart more than my head sometimes.

  16. What an incredible analogy, JD! I was reminded of the moments when the devil whispers in my ear that it’s ok to have a cigarette. It is NOT!!! Thanks to the Lord, I can resist.
    Blessings!

    1. Sure, “it’s just one. It won’t harm you.”
      “No, Satan; it all started with just one.”
      “Yes, but you’re an adult know. You’re powerful. You can stop and start whenever you want, whatever you want.”
      “I see you’re still lying you old so and so. I’m no longer listening to your lies. In Christ’s name, Be Gone!”
      As he slinks cowardly off into the darkness of her mind, he hisses, “I’ll be back. I always come back.”
      She bows her head in reverence, “Thank You Father, I know he’ll be back and that’s why each morning I invite You to walk with me through the day ahead.”

  17. What a great analogy. And great tips. The biggest one for me is staying in the Word of God. Another that helped me was something I read in a book by Erwin Lutzer. He said if you try not to think of the number 8….then that’s ALL you can think of. But if you actively turn your thoughts to something else, then you’re not thinking about 8 any more. That was such a big help for me, because if I just focused on, “I shouldn’t do such-and-such,” my thoughts were still filled with it and I was more likely to succumb. But if I actively pursued something else, it was easier. I love how the Bible tells us not only what to avoid, but what to pursue–“put off” some things and “put on” others. Now, as you said, we just need to do it consistently.

    1. I love reading what Pastor Lutzer writes Ms. Barbara. I’ve got “We Will Not be Silenced” on my shelf, but haven’t gotten to it yet. Can’t wait. You’re so right thought ma’am, the quickest way to short-circuit temptation is to let God’s truth freely flow from your heart in response. It works every time.

  18. What an amazing lesson God shared with you through Ronaldo. A wonderful reminder of how much we can learn from God’s creation if we just watch, listen, and reflect. Thank you for sharing strategies to resist temptation. One thing we can be sure of–temptation is always with us, but our Lord is forever with us, just a prayer away in our time of need.

    1. Yes ma’am. It surely is Ms. Katherine. My little calf reminded me that even innocent, healthy curiosity can lead to embarrassing and sometimes sinful situations. It’s learning to resist those temptations that we grow stronger. We, unlike the livestock we care for, have the capacity to be indwelled by the Holy Spirit to guide us.

  19. Love the photo and your title, J.D. Too funny and cute. But what a wonderful analagy to temptation and letting curosity get the best of us. Your points to help overcome temptation are very wise and practical things we can apply in our lives. Thank you!

  20. I am new to your blog and your website. I’ll be back often as I thoroughly enjoy your writing. A tip of my hat to Yvonne Morgan for sharing your posts on FB and recommending I follow you. Blessings!

    1. So glad Mr. Craig. Have long enjoyed your and Ms. Karen’s digital magazine sir, so am very grateful that I can humbly offer something to bless you sir. Pray you’re feeling much better these days and getting stronger every day.

  21. Poor Ronaldo! He didn’t know better. The white almost looks natural on him. But then when we dabble in temptation long enough, we start thinking that, don’t we? That it’s OK, that it doesn’t look that bad. He needed his Papa. Hmmm, so do we. We need our Abba Papa!

    1. So true Ms. Karen. His natural curiosity most certainly got the better of him. And yes, I teased our Pastor that “Ronaldo perhaps decided he wanted to look more like his Hereford half-brothers Dante and Federico.” He’s happily being 99.98% Red Angus again though as most of the paint has finally wore off. I won’t tell you though what he rubbed his face and head in next. 😀

    1. Aww… thanks ma’am. I think so too. He’s always been an inquisitive little bull, and I’m hoping I can place him with a local herd so I can continue to visit with him from time to time. God’s blessings ma’am.

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