No. 128
From Wendy Howard [Editor of Despatch magazine], Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia.
Access Online

Getting to know God together.


My dog Dolly is a smart girl! She loves to learn new things, as long as SHE decides what she will do in the end. She knows she shouldn’t jump on the visitors, but she wants to, so she does! She wants to say “hello” and lick any skin she can find. Like their necks, or their arms, or their faces if she can get close enough. Visitors don’t often like those “kisses.” Dolly knows how to keep her feet off our car when we come home. But she doesn’t want to keep them off, so she is always getting a whack with a rolled up newspaper. Otherwise she would make a lot of scratches on the shiny duco.
Dolly knows exactly what we mean when we say, “get away from that dog!” But she doesn’t always do it, because she likes to bite other dogs and throw them down on the ground. So she keeps on fighting even if we yell.

Dolly can understand lots of things that we tell her. I have just taught her to bark when I say, “speak!”  She wants to do this, because she thinks it is exciting to make a loud noise when I say “speak”, and then run madly around being important. She knows what I mean when we say, “get on your bed, Dolly.” She always does that, because her bed is plump and soft, and she likes to sleep there near the heater. She always obeys when we say, “call your dog!” She runs away to the other person in the house, because she thinks that means “go to the other one!” She is wrong about that, though, still she can’t really understand English.  She likes to go to the other person because she gets a pat from them. So she obeys.

Have you noticed that Dolly has got what we call “a free will”?
She is not like a robot dog that can be wound up and made to perform. She has a will of her own, and she uses it. She is a living creature and wants certain things her own way.  Yes, she will obey when there is something in it for her, but often won’t when there isn’t. But one thing Dolly does often is “submit” to us, we are her bosses really. She honours us! Well, she has such large, strong teeth that she could bite us up and make us very scared - if she wanted to. But she “submits” or gives in to human beings who are her owners. She doesn’t bite them up, in fact she tries to look after us and wants to frighten anyone away who might harm us. Why does she do that, when she could be like a wild wolf in the forest? Free as a bird. She does it because she is “tame” and loves us. She is not a wild animal.

People have “free wills” too. God has made us with free wills so that we can choose to love and serve Him, because we want to. When we obey God just because He is the boss we show that are “sub-mitted” to Him. It is not really being obedient if you only obey God when there is something in it for yourself, and the rest of the time you “do your own thing.”  Most people in our world don’t obey God, they are like the wild beasts in the forest, they are not beautifully changed and “tame.” Christian believers must be different. God is Love, and if we love Him back then we will want to obey His Word and please Him in everything. Why doesn’t God just Zap us so we have no “free wills?”  If He did so we would be like robot dogs, just like a machines. Robots can’t love and serve God just because they love Him, can they?
“Dear Lord God, help me to love You and obey You. I can know what You want me to do, because Your Word tells me. I need to understand more about this, and then learn to let You be boss in everything.  Amen.”
Read I John 3:18-19.

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