“Blue socks, or black ones today?”
“A salad with supper, or steamed veggies?”
Of the thousands of decisions we make in an average day, many are quite mundane. Others carry more weight:
“Will I report the over-payment to my savings account, or wait to see if someone catches on?”
“Do I really need to make the kids buckle up? I’m just running to the Post Office.”
Certainly every decision we make is reflective of how closely we are trying to imitate Jesus. There are many in the world today who believe that living as a Christian means giving up all the fun stuff. The devil has been very crafty in perpetuating this lie. He wants humans to believe that the Christian life is confining and prison-like. He wants us to believe his way gives us freedom.
The Apostle Paul clearly says otherwise: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV
It is our sinfulness that binds us in captivity. God used a vivid and frightening incident in my life just two days ago to drive this point home.
Early in the morning, in the half-light just before sunrise, I bundled up to take the dogs outside. We have a five-year old Border Collie who is obedient in the extreme. We also have a small mutt that we recently adopted after finding him in our yard, badly injured. This little guy, who we named Tarzan, is quite another story.
On this very cold morning I decided to let Tarzan off his leash. His small size makes it difficult for him to keep warm unless he can run around. Unfortunately, Tarzan still has a good bit of puppy left in him, and he chooses to disobey me often. That was the case on this particular morning when he bolted down the driveway at top speed.
Within a few minutes, his tiny frame had disappeared in the scrub brush that surrounds our high-desert landscape. Although in no danger from cars, I feared he might lose his way – or worse.
I called and called for him to come back, but he ignored me. I could see him now and then, a few hundred yards away happily leaping in and out of bushes. No doubt he was hot on the scent of a jack rabbit at least twice his size.
Suddenly I heard sickening yelps and squeals from the distance, and I knew the unthinkable had happened – a coyote attack!
Fighting tears I jumped into the car and raced down the driveway, yelling and honking the horn as I went in an attempt to scare away the vicious beast. It worked, and I found my little dog mortally injured, but alive.
We rushed him to the vet, where we learned he had multiple puncture wounds – and one that had penetrated his lung. After two days of waiting and anxious prayer, we learned that Tarzan would be OK. We get to bring him home today.
The frightening images ran through my head repeatedly in the hours following the incident. As I pondered the experience, God turned it into a vivid picture of the disobedient life.
God’s commands are not meant to spoil our fun, as the devil would have us believe. Rather they are given to us for our good – to guide us, protect us, and lead us on a path of rich blessings.
The horror of this week’s events has been softened by God’s abundant mercy in caring for our beloved family pet. But I can honestly say that my ears will never hear the Apostle Peter’s warning to us, without recalling the awful reality of the devil’s ruthless schemes:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
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