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By LESLIE BECKER
The training of a puppy is critically important to support proper behavioral development. We start with very short lessons with basic commands and encouragement that won’t overwhelm the dog. If we present ourselves with a calm spirit, give gentle direction, and firm but loving correction the puppy begins to respond.
Why do we invest our time to sow these behavioral boundaries? Could it be that we naturally follow the direction from the Word of God in Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man regards the life of his animal.”?
Personally, it is my heart’s desire to train my dogs to work at their highest and best performance, and to assure proper boundaries are respected that protect their lives. Through consistent training, I am always amazed to see the animal advance far beyond what I thought possible.
Walking in personal relationship with the Lord Jesus can be similarly compared to the master-pet relationship. As the master leads, the pet learns to follow. Likewise, if we are willing to follow the Lord’s leading we will live in his protection, operate in his amazing blessings, growing far beyond what we can dare hope, ask, or imagine. The apostle Paul wrote about this very thing in Ephesians 3:20. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, I came to him as a new babe, much like a young puppy. I would clumsily bound into his presence hungry for love and attention. He faithfully fed my spirit with his mercy, love and grace, always standing by to lead me. The more I willingly sought his presence the more He lovingly guided or corrected me setting me back on his course of protection. Like a puppy, I continued to grow and quite often resisted His gentle leash. On many occasions I would plant myself firmly in rebellion, pull my head right out of the collar, and wander out at my own risk into danger. Without fail, my willful stubbornness and resistance always resulted with a bad end.
Thankfully, the Lord is always faithful, and He never leaves anyone. He does not get angry or give up and gently corrects our course and sets us back on His path of protection. Jesus beautifully conveys this message in Matthew 11: 29 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
For animals, or people, it takes time to build relationships, learn new things, and to understand that the boundaries of correction are beneficial. When we speak commands to our pets we are giving direction or guidance for protection. The same is true for Jesus! When we hear him say, “Sit and Stay” if we are willing to listen, we will come to appreciate it is always in our best interest to willingly obey!
© Pastor Leslie Becker, Ketchikan, Alaska. Pastor Leslie Becker is a member of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association and runs the web-based ministries at www.arkministry.org and www.scripturebypicture.com.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.