“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
We have welcomed a new member to the Fountain family. He is cute as a button and thank God sleeps through the night now. He likes his Winnie the Pooh toy and is still a baby in many ways--except this baby likes to chew his rawhide bone and nip at my son’s pants’ leg.
Our new family member is of the four-legged canine variety and the last few weeks have been devoted to training our puppy. I have read booklets and online guides on everything from housetraining your puppy to teaching him how to follow commands, walk on a leash or go to his bathroom spot and go in an expeditious manner (which will really come in handy when these warm summer days turn into cold winter ones).
One thing that keeps coming across is that consistency and repetition are key to training a puppy. You have to say the same command and expect him to do the same thing every time. The puppy has to know that you’re the boss, the Alpha dog, the one that’s in charge. He has to learn your voice and your command and follow your directions every single time. And then you have to reward the puppy for the correct behavior, whether that reward be praise or an actual treat to eat. He has to know your voice. He has to learn that there is a reward in obedience.
We also have to know our master’s voice. We have to do exactly what he tells us to do every time. God is in charge. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The Holy Spirit is our guide and leash, teaching and leading us to truth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. He is the boss.
What is the result of repeatedly doing what God tells us to do? A disciplined life. A life that is pleasing to our master. When we do what God tells us to do, we’ll have fewer accidents that our master will have to clean up. We won’t keep going back to our same old stinky messes. We won’t bite at those who are trying to love us and snap at strangers. We won’t destroy what is valuable.
His commands are easy to hear. Just read the bible. They’re right there in black and white. They are also easy to understand. Most of them are summed up in this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” It will take some practice and a lifetime of repetition. And just like the commands I’m teaching our puppy, some are a little harder to learn than others. “Sit” was relatively easy to teach him. But “stay” and “come” are a little harder. Isn’t it the same with us? We want to go our own way. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
When my precious puppy knows how to act in my house, I won’t have to worry about accidents stinking up the place. I won’t have to worry about him tearing up the house and destroying my shoes or furniture. He will be socialized and won’t snap at or bite people. When I can trust my puppy, I will give him more reign over the house. He will be able to be free because he’s been trained.
We are also being trained to reign one day.
“Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
If we endure,
we will also reign with him.”
2 Timothy 2:11-12a
Listen to God's voice and follow his commands. One day you will hear the praise, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” There’s definitely a blessing in obedience.
Note: This is not a photo of our puppy, but he does look a whole lot like this puppy who I have just used for illustration purposes.