The idea of dangling carrots in front of stubborn horses or donkeys has been around for centuries. It’s a simple idea, take a stick with a piece of string, fishing line, etc. and tie the carrot so that it is always just out of reach of the animal. It hangs where the animal can see it, but can never reach it.
The animal is not intelligent enough to recognize the ruse, so it will continue to go forward, which is the owner’s intent.
Our enemy works the same way.
When our eyes are off our relationship with Christ, when we are tired and weak from battle, the enemy springs his attack. It does not look like a full, frontal attack, something we can see and prepare to fight. The enemy instead, will often place an item we innocently desire in front of us. Soon we become so drawn to that item, that we don’t realize we are being led off the path.
We may “wake up” and see we have been distracted by the carrot, but it’s only after we have walked through the brambles and burrs, or even lost our way. We cry out to God to save us and restore us to Him, which He will do.
So the enemy changes tactics.
Parsnips taste very similar to carrots. It’s different in color, but the goal is still the same. Misleading us to chase something or even someone, we will not attain. Even if it seems we are getting close.
We can even talk ourselves into believing we are not being fooled; “We’d recognize the carrot and not follow it. But has anyone else seen this new thing we are following after?”
It’s is the way a simple friendship develops into an affair.
It’s the way someone who may drink a glass or two at night to help unwind, becomes an alcoholic.
It’s the way a suggestive image that triggers a rush can develop into a porn addiction.
It’s the way the enemy can distract us ultimately to death itself.
This image above was used as anti-war propaganda during WWI, however, it is a valid depiction of what the enemy wants to do to all of us. Distract us with our carrots or parsnips until our hearts deaden to the whispers of the Holy Spirit calling us back to God.
The whole experience can seem hopeless.
But it is never hopeless when we have Christ. Scripture is clear that we do have a way out.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, NIV).
When Jesus was in the wilderness (Matthew 4) and the enemy tried to tempt him with food, fame, and power, Jesus did not try to debate with him. Jesus turned to Scripture, knowing there is power in the word of God. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The enemy then tried to use Scripture to validate his point, quoting Psalm 91:11, 12. Jesus responded with Deuteronomy 6:16. Again, knowing our New Testament, we know what Paul said is true.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil (Ephesians 6:10-11, HCSB).
We are not strong enough to cut the string that holds our carrots. Only Christ and His power can do that. Don’t lose hope, Best Beloved, it can be done.
Just ask the person going through counseling.
The person going through a 12-step program.
The husband and wife who choose restoration over divorce.
Make no mistake, it is some of the hardest work for us to do – with Christ. Yet, it can be done, (see Philippians 4:13, 19).
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV).
This is the first step, Best Beloved. We seek Christ. He has the power and dominion over everything, given to Him by God. It is by Him and through Him, that we can be restored.
It’s time to cut the strings.