If you are a dog owner, then you know the highlight of your dog’s day is when they hear the sneakers go on and see the leash come out; aka, it’s time to go for a walk!
My boxer, Bailey, loves a walk. She has this uncanny ability to hear the moment I pull my Nike’s off the closet shelf and, subsequently, appears at my bedroom door with ears perked and head cocked to the side. If she had a conversation bubble above her head, it would read, “Walk?!”
On one of our recent walks, she was lagging behind “smelling the roses”, when her collar came sliding over her head and retracted back to the leash handle. In that moment we both froze, locked eyes, and I uttered a commanding, “Stay!”
In that moment my furry friend of eight years, my faithful greeter when I arrive home, my family’s beloved pet made a pivotal choice.
She chose obedience.
As I calmly and lovingly approached her and embraced her soft, droopy jaws, praising her for her willingness to stay, I noticed a sweet submission in her eyes and a sense of relief in her frame. She even leaned into the repositioning of her collar and our daily walk resumed with the assurance that all was well.
As I thought about this brief exchange with my canine child, I couldn’t help but imagine how our obedience warms the heart of God. As His children, our obedience becomes the sweet aroma of sacrificial living. An offering of obedience becomes your living sacrifice on the altar of Sovereign Grace (Romans 12:1). God’s chosen nation learned this lesson the hard way.
Israel chose disobedience.
Ezekiel 20:13a (NLT) says, “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life.”
God’s chosen people did not know how to handle their new found freedom in the wilderness. Misunderstood freedom leads to misinterpreted obedience. Israel thought she knew what could save her. She failed to wait for Who would save her.
Living on the resurrection side of the cross, we have a freedom in Christ that comes with the knowledge of Christ. We know Who saves us. We know Who gives us life.
Obedience gives us life in Christ.
Understood freedom leads to undeniable obedience. When God asks us to “stay” or wait for His timing, His answer, or His way, we can experience relief and even peace in the freedom of serving a Sovereign Master.
By choosing obedience, we choose life.
The Holy Spirit used an embrace with my boxer to remind me of the gift of sweet submission and even sweeter obedience to a loving Father. Similar to my dog’s relationship with me, when we believe our Master loves us, protects us, walks with us through life, provides all that sustains us, and will be there to greet us when He calls us home, we will choose obedience every time, even when we become “unleashed”.
I encourage you, like Bailey, to lean into the Master as he places on you not a collar of demands, but a robe of righteousness. As believers, we are clothed in Christ in Whom we can “put on” compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Above all we can “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)
Clothe yourself in Christ.
Experience His embrace.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Psalms 34:8).
Sweet submission leads to sweeter obedience.
Then you can continue your daily walk with the Lord knowing and trusting that all is well with your soul.