Sunday, 17 July 2016

Keep the Leash On: Loving Obedience

Walking my neighbor’s dog is such a pleasure! She’s a good dog, and usually we enjoy spending an uneventful time together. One day I was surprised when she was particularly resistant to going in the direction I wanted to go. While she was pulling and I was encouraging her to go my way, she suddenly slipped her collar.
About the time I realized it, I saw understanding dawn in her eyes too. Then she was off at a run. My first thought was oh no, she’s outside my control! What if she gets run over or lost? What if she doesn’t come when I call? Then I wondered if our relationship would be strong enough to woo her back to me.
Slipping our collars: a lack of love
As I walked in her direction I realized an important truth. When we, God’s children, walk away from Him, we are essentially slipping our collars. We remove ourselves from under His authority by an act of our will. It is an act of disobedience and demonstrates a rebellious spirit and lack of love.
Then I saw her run toward the woods, where it would have been difficult for me to follow. I called “no!” in an authoritative voice, thankful when she turned from her intended destination. Hope dawned in my heart, for I had trained her in basic commands. It seemed the bond between us was strong enough after all.
Obedience out of love
I was reminded of God’s wisdom in the book of Hebrews.
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief:  for that is unprofitable for you.”  Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)
I stood watching as she rolled in the grass, waiting for inspiration on what to do next. A quick prayer was lifted up. Suddenly she stopped, and looked at me from across the field. I crouched down and called her, holding out my hand. She seemed to smile, then ran toward me. I thanked God for her decision to obey.
I was so thankful for the strong bond between us. I would have a story to tell to her mistress, but I was glad it was a happy one.
Keep the leash on
This stressful incident reminded me of some important truths about God:
God is good and worthy to be praised! He is not a harsh master. His “leash” protects, directs, and leads us homeward. His “leash” is never burdensome, but is an act of love helping me to lead a good life. He receives the repentant one with joy and gladness. Relief comes from being on God’s “leash,” under His authority and leadership. His Word serves as a guide to how to live a righteous life. The power of the Holy Spirit brings understanding. His direction is always trustworthy. Happiness comes from being under submission on His leash!
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