My husband, Jay, and I have a new family member—a 2-month-old tabby cat named Jasper. To keep our new kitten safe, we’ve had to break some old habits, like leaving doors open. But one thing remains a challenge: the open stairway. Cats like to climb. Even as kittens, they know that the world looks better when you’re looking down on it. So whenever I have Jasper downstairs with me, she is determined to go upstairs. Trying to keep her confined to a safe place near me has tested my ingenuity. Gates that work with children and dogs do not work with cats.

My cat gate dilemma brings to mind the metaphor Jesus used to describe Himself: “I am the gate for the sheep,” He said (John 10:7 niv). Middle Eastern sheepfolds were enclosures with an opening for the sheep to go in and out. At night, when the sheep were safely inside, the shepherd would lie in the opening so that neither sheep nor predators could get past him.

Although I want to keep Jasper safe, I am not willing to make myself the gate. I have other things to do. But that’s what Jesus Christ does for us. He places Himself between us and our enemy, the devil, to protect us from spiritual harm.