Sometimes on Saturday mornings, we have a young man that comes downtown on the "green" in our little town and brings numerous dogs and their owners that he has been working with in obedience training. He also brings his own "personal" dogs with him and the things he gets these animals to do is just incredible! It doesn't matter what is going on around them, they are not distracted and their attention is directed solely on their master. Anything he commands them to do, they do it without hesitation and a lot of the commands are given without speaking a word - just by a hand signal. It is really amazing to watch!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Dog owners enroll their dogs in obedience training to teach their pet to listen and obey their master's voice, as well as to break them of unacceptable behaviors. Some of these "bad" behaviors might be - barking, biting, chewing, digging, running away, messing in the house, etc. (As I write this, I have a hole big enough to put a Volkswagen in in my backyard that my son's dog dug! lol)
As I thought about how amazing these animals were to watch, it reminded me that many times in God's Word He refers to us as His "sheep". "For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand..."
God demands obedience in His "sheep". When He calls us He wants us to obey Him. He tells us in His word that, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me". (Jn. 10:27)
This got me to thinking......If God has me in "obedience training", (and He does!) I wonder what behaviors He is trying to "break" me of in my life.
** Am I guilty of "biting" words?
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Ps. 19:14)
** Do I continue to "chew" on things that the Lord wants me to let Him handle?
"...do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matt. 6:25)
** Do I suffer from separation anxiety?
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)
** Have I been "digging" into things that I know are "off-limits" to me?
"Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith , love and peace.." (2 Tim. 2:22)
** Are some of my bad behaviors stemming from fear or lack of trust?
"And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee, for Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:10)
** Do I have a bad habit of "barking" that I can't seem to break?
"Do not talk out of both sides of your mouth. Avoid careless banter, white lies and gossip." (Prov. 4:24 The Message)
** Am I trying to listen to more than one master?
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other..." Matthew 6:24
When these animals are in obedience training, they attend classes with their master. Their ONLY master. They learn to recognize their master's voice and his commands. They don't concern themselves with anyone or anything else around them. They are totally devoted to their owner/master.
To teach obedience or break bad habits, some pet owners resort to various means of teaching their animals, i.e. invisible fencing, choke collars, electric shock collars, etc.
What if God used some of those same tactics with His "sheep"?
What if every time we exhibited one of these "bad" behaviors we got a choking sensation around our neck?
If every time we "ran away" to some place that we knew we shouldn't go, we got shocked?
If every time we "barked", or "bit" someone with our words, we got "zapped"?
God has given us a wonderful way that we can become more obedient to His voice - by spending more time in His Word - listening to His voice, becoming more familiar with His voice, hiding His word in our hearts. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." - (Psalm 119:11)
We are continually in God's School of Obedience Training. Thank You, Lord that You never give up on us!
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."