“I always carry my leash outside, so my human doesn’t get lost” –Fido
Have you ever wondered where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? Who hasn’t had to shorten their dog’s lead to keep from walking in unintended and perhaps undesirable places?
Some may frown at this comparison but please walk with me. I’m thankful my Master keeps me on a short leash. I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be without my heavenly Father’s daily guidance and discipline.
Discipline. Simply hearing the word makes us squirm. Perhaps, we remember a time we were the ones disciplined. Who hasn’t tried to worm their way out of the consequences of disobedience? Hopefully, now looking back, you see the purpose behind the correction and that it wasn’t mean-spirited but for your good.
How does your dog respond when you try to rein him in? I dare say you’re pulled into a tug-of-war.
Sometimes God finds it necessary to discipline his “children,” those who call him Father. An earthly father isn’t responsible for the behavior of his neighbor’s kids but for those who live under his roof and put their feet under his table. Likewise, God’s discipline begins with his own household (1 Peter 4:7).
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT).
The Hebrew meaning of the word discipline in this Old Testament passage means “to instruct, correct, chastise, or rebuke.” It doesn’t mean punish or beat. Simply put, discipline is a means to an end, and its purpose is to foster moral integrity.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV).
Believers are to set an example for the rest of the world. When unbelievers see us jerking against our Father’s lead and challenging his authority, they see no reason to walk with Him.
God tugs on our heartstrings to bring us into alignment with his desire. He has a good path marked out for us, one of blessing and happiness. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
Which path have you chosen? Who is walking whom? If we want the hope and future the prophet Jeremiah spoke of, a place of joy and blessing, we must keep in step with our heavenly Father.
Happiness is a long walk with God. It’s good for our body, soul, and spirit. Follow His loving lead.
*** This article was first published in The Randolph Hub, July 27, 2022