God’s Commands

“You are My friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14 NLT)

My wife and I have two dogs – a full-blooded Pug and a “Heinz 57” rescue. Zoe, our Pug, is very “food-oriented.” What does that mean? It means she lives to eat. She’ll do most anything I ask as long as I give her a treat. Whoever said “dogs love unconditionally” never owned a Pug. She loves food and getting her belly rubbed. My wife and I come in somewhere below that.

Scout, on the other hand, is very compliant and will do most anything we ask him to do whether we give him a treat or not. He’s easily frightened and can be very needy when he’s afraid, but all in all he’s a very good dog.

What does any of this have to do with God’s commands? Nothing, I just like to talk about my dogs – no, I’m just kidding. Quite a lot actually.

Scout and Zoe

As Christ followers we can be very bull-headed (like Zoe) or very compliant like Scout. We can “love” Jesus for what He’s done and is doing for us, or we can love Him because of who He is and because we depend on Him for our sustenance.

In a recent Turning Point devotional Dr. David Jeremiah wrote: “Dog trainers can teach their animals scores of tricks and commands, but most trainers say three commands are important enough to become lifesavers. The first is ‘Down, Stay.’ If a dog is running toward the road, for example, his life may depend on his instant obedience. The second vital command is ‘Drop It.’ Dogs put their teeth into all kinds of things. One of the greatest hazards for dogs in America is swallowing human prescription medication. A dog that understands ‘Drop It’ may live longer for it. The third command is ‘Come!’ A dog that runs away from its owner won’t last long.”

See any parallels? There’s a very good reason most “pet-friendly” places require that pets be on leashes. Because, like humans, dogs are very likely to chase after things that appeal to them. There’s also a very good reason Jesus connected “remaining in His love” with “obeying His commandments.” (John 15:9-10)

Most of us humans tend to want our own way. Whether our “trigger” is food, money, sex, or _______________, we want what we want, when we want it. It takes time for God to “break” us and “train” us to be sensitive to His voice and submissive to His commands. But, like dogs, we must be willing to be “taught.”

Our tendency is to chase after whatever Satan dangles in front of us, because, unfortunately, he knows what we like. God doesn’t tempt us with evil, He trains us with love, eventually, helping us to desire Him more than other things. If we can learn “Down, Stay” it can literally save our lives. “Drop it,” while hard at times, can prevent a lot of heartache and suffering. And “Come” can be, over time, the most satisfying command to obey.

God’s desire in “commanding” us, is to fill us with joy. The longer I walk with the Lord, the more satisfying our relationship becomes. The closer I draw to Him, the closer I want to be; the quieter His voice, the more attentive I want to be; the more obedient I am, the more submissive to His authority I want to be. Why?

Because His love is worth it. I understand I can’t earn or deserve His love. It’s not that my obedience “earns” anything. My obedience gives visibility to the fact I already have and enjoy the riches of His leadership in my life.

I’m beginning to finally understand what Jesus meant when He said: “Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Blessings, Ed 😊

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