Yesterday I did something I swore I would never do... I took my dog to obedience training. All in all he is a good dog and we enjoy him as a family, but lately he has been testing the waters by trying to be at the very top of the family pyramid as boss. So off the five of us headed for not group lessons, but private. All in all it went very well and we've already figured out a few things that are helping already, but I couldn't help but take away a few spiritual lessons from the day.
First, I can be a lot like my dog with God. Even though I know He is to be master and Lord of my life, I often find myself through my words and deeds trying to climb the hill of independence and be the boss of my life. When I take these steps, I am in essence telling God that He can take the back seat as I set up self as the primary ruler of my heart.
Secondly, disobedience leaves me feeling unsettled. My dog is at his craziest when he is trying to rule the roost. It leaves him feeling unsettled, nervous and more out of control than when he is submitting to his master. This is true for me as well. Even though trying to be the boss of my own life sounds like a great idea with incredible freedom, life gets most out of control when I forget who the master of my heart really is.
Finally, I am most at peace and content when walking in obedience to my God. Our dog is a joy to be around when we have the pecking order right and he is living in obedience to his master. This is true in the Christ followers life as well. Even though we live in a culture that states personal independence trumps all authority in our lives, the greatest peace, contentment and joy comes when we live in submission and obedience to God and His Word.
I guess both my dog and I need to prepare ourselves for a lifetime of obedience training. It just goes better for all involved when we both obey our different masters.