Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: DOG (08/09/18)
- TITLE: Trained Up!
By Karen Vlantis
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I do, however, understand the concept, that to one person, life would be empty without their adorable, cuddly pooch - truly their best friend.
But, perhaps this very same pooch, unless disciplined, becomes the neighbor’s worst nightmare: as it yaps, barks and whines, abandoned by its owner perhaps out shopping with “another best friend”.
The status of a dog, as man's best friend, fluctuates: dependent on which side of the fence one sits. In contrast, Jesus is man’s best friend regardless of where one is situated in life.
Who else would go to the extreme lengths of obedience and sacrifice to fix the shattered bond between mankind and a deity? None other than our beloved Jesus Christ - crucified on the cross: the requirement needed to wipe out every sin for all of mankind. This incredible gesture, which crushed the heart of God, opened the way for restored fellowship between Almighty God and man as originally intended before that fruit-chomping, death-defining, moment in the Garden of Eden.
And in return for this magnanimous deed that goes far beyond what we deserve – what is required of us? Not much: other than to believe God’s compassionate intent and accept this beautiful, incredible, splendid gift of reconciliation.
No amount of trying to be goody two shoes would ever make us pure enough to enter into the presence of a Holy God. Rather, God’s gift to us, to be received by faith (believing), miraculously enrobes us with the righteousness of Christ: this assigned right-standing with God, grants us the freedom to step into the presence of the God of Glory and call Him “Dad”.
And the good gifts don’t end there; we are lavished with another: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, invited to dwell within our hearts will comfort, guide and help negotiate our way through the harsh, rocky terrain of life.
In my thinking, the supreme God of Love: the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; is man’s best friend.
However, as a pilgrim penned in this upside-down world, I am aware that aside from the instinct for a pup to wag its tail and delight its owner, a hound functions at its optimum potential and benefits man if it is trained: An intelligent Beagle sniffs out the faintest whiff of drugs in an airport pungent with odors from un-washed long-haul travelers. A courageous German Shepard is an exceptional addition to the police force trained to apprehend evil doers. An energetic Border Collie, rounds up and funnels sheep as required. A gentle Labrador Retriever becomes the eyes, and life blood of a blind person. The loyal Malamute sledges passengers and cargo across unrelenting, iced terrain. The watchful St Bernard rescues victims trapped under snow avalanches and revitalizes them with a tot of Brandy.
Hours of focused training, away from the public eye facilitate these dogs to excel in their performance and achieve success.
So too could we become our best selves, fit for effective service in God’s Kingdom, if we took Paul's words to heart - and trained ourselves in Godliness: not to secure our salvation, nor to get a pat on the head, nor to manipulate God to respond in a certain manner; but rather for us to get to know and trust our heavenly Father, as revealed through His Word, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit to respond appropriately, when faced with different situations.
To discipline ourselves to habitually meditate on the Word of God benefits us: We become transformed as we continually think thoughts that are true and good and right and pure and lovely.
Trained and equipped to wield the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word), we become victorious in battle; this benefits God’s Kingdom: Like the Beagle we can discern evil. Like the German Shepherd we can combat that which seeks to rob and destroy. Like the Border Collie, we can guide others. Like the Labrador Retriever we can help others to see. Like the Malamute we can lighten the load and help others. Like the St Bernard we can find the lost and dispense living water.
As a mutt is faithful, ready to protect and is a good friend. How much more is God faithful? Is Jesus your protector? Is the Holy Spirit ever present to comfort and guide?
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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