It was a few years ago when Ross, our Labrador dog, came to us - fearful and deeply insecure, having been bred to a gun dog trainer who believed harsh discipline was the preferred way to get a dog’s obedience. When he arrived with us at 18 months old, it seemed that he was most secure when he was given commands. (His works were justifying the attention he was getting.) However, his tail remained firmly between his legs. He wasn’t happy.
We simply loved him. We would ask him to sit in front of us and we would gently play with his ears, stroke him and speak kind words to him. Initially, he would sit rigidly, very unsure of what was happening to him. Then slowly but surely, he responded and a relationship began.
Ross began to thrive in this new way of living. But with his liberation into a loving environment, Ross has also developed an ability to choose what he wants to hear! He now knows he can make choices and these choices have consequences. Obedience brings praise and rewards. Disobedience brings discipline and no rewards. Ross now responds to us, not out of fear, but out of relationship - a relationship built on love and trust. This brings joy and pleasure into our lives. We don’t want an unhappy dog, regardless of how obedient he may be.
It’s actually quite easy to be like Ross, finding our security in ‘doing the right thing’, but it’s not a happy, fulfilling place to live from. We’re willing for God to give us instructions and to follow them, but we can be reluctant and unsure of how to receive love if we haven’t ‘done’ anything to deserve it.
We can’t earn the love of our Father God through sacrifice. We should be motivated to obedience by His love for us and our love for Him. It’s in this love that we find the joy and freedom of obeying the One who displayed true obedience and sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional love for me. I ask You to help me stop trying to earn Your love through sacrifice and help me to sit at Your feet and accept Your love. From this place I offer my response of obedience to Your voice. Amen.
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