I’m a dog lover. Their relentless love for their master and others who love them astounds me.
If you’ve ever been around dogs, you understand their growth patterns. As puppies, dogs are playful and energetic. Puppies learn their name quickly and attach to their primary master.
As they develop, canines are quick to listen for their name and respond well to commands. Some even go the extra mile and learn tricks. As fully mature adults, these four-legged friends aren’t as easily swayed and are firm in their ways.
I can’t help but see a great example of what it means to be a disciple.
Disciples listen to their Master’s voice.
It takes some time to learn and confirm who their master is, but dogs know their master’s voice. Disciples know their Master’s voice, too.
Picture a puppy prancing in a fenced in backyard. The gate is left open and the puppy starts running toward that gate. The owner realizes it and yells the puppy’s name. It will perk up, maybe look at the owner and choose whether or not to continue darting toward the gate. Many puppies choose to still proceed through that gate, but the owner’s voice was heard. Isn’t it the same for new believers? Temptation is strong, but there’s that voice that’s there to protect and care for them.
“…His sheep follow Him because they know His voice” - John 10:4b
As a dog matures and learns new ways to live life, it develops skills and appreciation for what its master is teaching, like how to sit patiently or lay down and not beg.
As we mature in our faith, spending time in His Word and abiding in it as we talked about on Sunday, we can put into action obedience to our great God. His Word is there because He loves us and wants to protect us from the trap of sin.
“If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” - John 8:31.
Disciples make other disciples.
My parents first dog was a boy and peed like a girl (yes, that’s a thing if you’re a dog lover). Despite our best efforts to teach him to lift a leg, he didn’t pick up the habit until he spent time around mature dogs who demonstrated it for him.
Are we demonstrating our faith well to others? Can Jesus be seen in our actions and heard in our words? While it’s not always easy, sometimes that’s the simplest step to sharing Jesus. This opens doors to having a conversation about our faith and what makes us operate differently than others.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” - Romans 10:14-15