Hebrews 12:1-12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?[d] He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

Our family recently adopted a 4 year old chocolate lab named Maggie. She is the sweetest thing; loving, gentle and obedient- well…..most of the time! On our first outing with her, we quickly realized that she had not been trained to walk on a leash. There was no need, since her previous owners (who are good friends of ours) lived on a nice sized lot with a lake, so Maggie was content to stay within their property lines. Unfortunately, she has been adopted by city dwellers, so in order to venture out, she is going to have to learn to be leashed.

Yesterday, as the Bullard Pack endured a 3 mile walk with Maggie on a trail in Sanford, Doug and I chuckled as we discussed the similarities between our dog trying to walk us and how we often try to walk God.

When God reveals a glimpse of one of His promises for my future I often times become impatient for them to be made realized. In my attempt to reach the goal in record time, I sometimes tug at the leash urging Him to run a little faster. Then there are times when I have NO idea where He’s leading me and my “instinct” (fear) kicks in, once again compelling me to lunge forward and pull as hard as I can on the leash to make Him go where I want.

Both instances leave me with collar burns, sore muscles and my tongue panting in frustration. Yet, my Master is patient with me and lets me continue to wear myself out until finally, I stop, drop my tail between my legs, walk back to Him and sit down. Then, when He moves forward, I follow, knowing that He is in control -and He will lead me where I need to go.

After much training and discipline, Maggie is still learning how to surrender to her master and willingly submit to being leashed……and so am I.

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