In reality, I was just given the lettuce by a giraffe zookeeper (and so was everyone else in the giraffe feeding line). We had to follow the zookeepers' rules; and they looked on to make sure we didn't feed the giraffes anything else; and made sure we treated those gentle creatures correctly. The zookeepers were vigilant and in charge. You could say the zookeepers are on guard in order to protect the animals from any threat.
Feeding time at the zoo is necessary to keep all the animals alive, healthy and well-behaved. The zookeepers know exactly what to feed each animal and they are meticulous about it (see my story above). If they feed them the wrong stuff the animals could get sick; they wouldn't thrive; and if the food is toxic to that animal, it could cause that animal's death.
It takes work to keep animals healthy.
Same goes for us.
It's always feeding time for us.
It's always feeding time for our minds, our hearts, our souls.
What we let into our lives governs what comes out of our lives. If we want to live godly lives we have to feed ourselves the right food.
Jesus said in Matthew 15:17 that "the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart."
He also says in Matthew 7:17 that "every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit."
Proverbs 4:23 says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life."
And one more scripture (for now). James, Jesus's brother says in James 3:11, "Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?"
We are the gatekeepers, the guardians of our hearts, our souls. What we expose our hearts to will leave its mark.
If we are tempted in an area we know is not godly (which will happen to all of us for we are all human), we need to do something about it. What can we do?
If we look to the world for help, very likely the world will tell us to go for it. Satisfy that lust. Satisfy that temptation. We all deserve to be happy, don't we?
But any action, any thought, any deed that goes against God and His word will not produce good things in our lives. They may give momentary pleasure but it will end up costing us more than we realize. We can't be friends with God and we can't live for Him if we seek stuff in the world.
So, what do we do if some temptation keeps bombarding us in our thoughts? What if we are constantly angry toward someone? What if we are constantly bombarded with thoughts of unfaithfulness or lust to commit sin, to lie, to gossip, etc. (there are all sorts of sins that the world now says aren't -- our world has turned God's ways upside down and inside out)?
Each time that thought comes to mind, pray about it. Give it God. Tell Him honestly how you feel about it. Tell Him you can't see what would be wrong with following that desire. Tell Him how you feel it wouldn't affect anyone else (but it will by the way -- we sin in private, the consequences end up out in the public). Tell Him to help you see it as He does. It isn't a sin to have a temptation. It is a sin to carry it out (in thought or deed). When this temptation comes into your brain, say (out loud if necessary), "I take that thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)."
Maybe it doesn't feel like that is helping, but it will. Keep on taking that thought, that lust captive to Christ, every single time it threatens to overtake you (and it is a threat).
What if you have already committed that sin? Why turn back? Why bother? Maybe you think it would just be too complicated to turn back now.
God will take us out of the mud and dirt and sin of our lives at any moment. We just have to reach out to Him.
What we focus on is what we are feeding ourselves.
Even if everyone says it is right, if God says it is wrong, then it's wrong. And if there is something God says is wrong, it is because He loves us and knows what is best for us and knows what will eventually bring great fulfillment and joy to our lives.
Who you listen to is who will influence you.
Listen to God. He loves you so so so much! The world (meaning world thought not the God's creation) does not love you. The world will use you and even make you feel important for a time, but once you are all used up the world rejects you. God doesn't do this. He doesn't reject anyone who comes to Him.
God doesn't want "any to perish but for all to come to repentance (meaning coming to Him and being in relationship with Him, letting Him guide you; letting Him be your Father)." 2 Peter 3:9c