In this picture it's pretty obvious what my dog, Dooley, wanted. Dooley and I went through an obedience class together. The collar* we used was unusual - it did not go around his neck. It rested over his nose and under his chin. With a gentle tug on it, his nose and head had to follow me. With a conventional collar a dog is free to still turn his head and strain and even choke himself.
Here is the full text of today's scripture:
"Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him."
Dooley obeyed very well when he was on a leash. But he was only fair when he was off the leash.
What made the difference? It's the word 'cleave' which means to cling to, or follow closely. When Dooley was on the leash, he was forced to stay with me, to follow where I led. Off of the leash he could take detours and make his own decisions, especially when it came to garbage.
It's the same thing for us when it comes to knowing God's plans. When we distance ourselves from God (off-leash), we distance ourselves from closely following his plans for us. (Like trying to take a road trip to an exciting vacation spot while sitting in your recliner.) When we are following him closely (cleaving to him) then we won't miss a turn, or step. But when we fail to cleave, we take our own detours - most of which, for me, wind up being a garbage route.
So what will help us to cleave to God and know his plans for us?
- Get rid of the Garbage that tempts you. Is it TV-cell phone-computer-games, anger, a broken relationship, unforgiveness, or bad habits? (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
- Reading the Bible-Get your 'nose' in the book so you know his Word so intimately, you come to know His mind. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
- Praying - which is a 2-way connection. Remember to let God speak to you. (1 Peter 3:12, James 4:8)
- Being in church - which reminds us of who we are (a Christian), what we believe, and how we should behave. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Obeying God's commandments (Deuteronomy 10:12, John 15:10)
- Sharing his love - he asks all of us to love one another and to share the Gospel. (John 13:34-35, Mark 16:15)
Laura *the brand name of the collar is Halti and I highly recommend it.