Obedience to God–Do you need a leash?

Obedience to God...I want to follow and obey God easily, willingly, and immediately...to be the type of person that does what I need to without a bridle or leash or tether to keep me in check or to make me go where I need to be.

Obedience to God–Do you need a leash?

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”” Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT)

When it comes to obedience to God, do you need a leash?

Lately, we’ve been doing some obedience training with our two dogs, Lucy and Daisy. One of the areas where we’ve been working with them is keeping them within safe boundaries, more specifically our front deck. We’re trying to teach them to stay on the deck and not get off without our permission. Most of the time they do a great job. However, this is still a work in progress.

Unfortunately, I discovered that they may not have been as fully and completely trained as I had thought. Several weeks ago, I decided to take the dogs out onto the front deck with me in the morning. This wasn’t unusual since we’d been training them to stay on the deck for quite some time now. They had been enjoying coming out with me in the mornings as I did my quiet time outside.

I had been spoiling the dogs a bit allowing them to come out more often than usual because the kids were away at their grandparents for the week, and the dogs were missing them. They had been very good and obedient…up to this point. On this particular morning I noticed Lucy perked up immediately and started staring out into the front yard. I turned my gaze to where she was staring. Instant panic struck as soon as I saw the object of Lucy’s attention. It was a bunny rabbit.

So what’s wrong with a bunny?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “What’s so scary about a bunny being in your front yard?” Well, did I mention that Lucy is a beagle? All obedience training goes out the window when that crazy dog sees small game—especially rabbits. We usually have a leash, tether, or an e-collar on her for just this reason…but not today. With a human-like squeal Lucy leaped off the deck and went speeding through the yard after the bunny. Disregarding and ignoring all of my commands (and screams), within a matter of seconds she disappeared into the thick woods beside our house.

Quickly, I put Daisy inside—thankfully she hadn’t chased after Lucy. I frantically started searching for Lucy and calling her name. The whole time I was chastising myself… “I should have never let her out without a leash or her e-collar!” “Stupid dog. I should’ve known she would do that!” “What am I going to tell the kids? What if I can’t find her or if she doesn’t come back? We’re supposed to be leaving for Colorado, and now I’ve gone and lost their dog while they were gone. And we’re not even going to be here if she comes back!”

The good news is that she did come back, pretty quickly actually. Funny enough it was right after I had taken the time to take a short break from my panic attack to stop and pray. Imagine that. I made up my mind though that that dog couldn’t be trusted to obey without her leash or e-collar.

Obedience without a leash

Recently though, she proved me wrong. Slowly she’s being allowed back on the front porch to resume her obedience training. Just the other day Eric and the kids let her out without her leash (against my advisement). She completely obeyed each of Eric’s verbal commands. She stayed right beside Eric and never left the deck. Honestly, I had forgotten she was even there until it was time to go in, and Eric got up to walk inside. I turned and noticed Lucy, who had apparently been laying down beside him, get up too and follow Eric without even being told. She stayed right beside Eric’s side and followed him inside the front door.

Just that morning I had read Psalm 32:8-9 and had written in my journal that I want to follow and obey God like this verse said—without bit or bridle to keep me under control.

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”” Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT)

Watching Lucy follow Eric like that brought that verse back to mind. She’s following and obeying without a leash.

Insight into this practical example of obedience

This is how I want to obey God. I want to be like this with God—following alongside Him without a leash, or tether, or bridle—following Him wherever He goes, even without being told. When God does give me direction, I want to get up and obey immediately without Him having to repeat His instructions to me.

I don’t want to be like Jonah who ran in the opposite direction.

“The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.”Jonah 1:1-3 (NLT)

I don’t want to be like Lucy who ran after an enticing distraction, disregarding all commands.

Even though they both came back and God made the best of a bad situation, I don’t want God to have to clean up messes I may cause from my disobedience. God shouldn’t have to chase me to obtain my obedience to Him. I shouldn’t be like a senseless horse that needs a bit and bridle to control it or like a crazy, rabbit-chasing dog that needs a leash to make her obey.

I want to do what we teach our kids to do–saying, “I obey right away! Slow obey is NO obey!” I want to always remember that delayed obedience is still disobedience. 

I want to follow and obey God easily, willingly, and immediately…to be the type of person that does what I need to without a bridle or leash or tether to keep me in check or to make me go where I need to be.

What about you?

Take Some Practical Steps to Sustain Obedience to God:

  • First, take inventory—Thoughtfully answer the following questions.

    • Do you obey the first time that God asks or tells you to do something?
    • Do you hesitate or delay obedience to God?
    • Do you stay within the safe boundaries that God sets for you?
    • Do you find yourself running from God at times?
    • Do you hear God calling you and chasing after you but continue to ignore Him as you chase your “rabbit”?
    • Do you fully trust God to do what He says in Psalm 32:8—to guide you along the best pathway for your life and to advise you and watch over you?
    • Do you need a leash or a bridle to stay in obedience to God?
  • Next, come back quickly.

If you are in disobedience to God, have been running from Him, or have been ignoring him, it’s not too late to turn around. Do like Lucy and Jonah both did and turn your disobedience into obedience. It’s never too late to turn to God…AND He can fix anything you’ve messed up. He’s the master of turning things around! (See some examples of how He did it for Jonah here or how He turned around other situations NOT caused by disobedience here.)

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:1-2 (NLT)

“Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God–I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34 (NIV)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

  • Then, use a “leash” if necessary.

Stay in the Word!! (aka…read your Bible daily!) Psalm 119:11 (NLT) says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Consistent Bible reading and study will help to keep you in obedience. God’s Word will correct you (like a leash or e-collar!) when you step out of line. Also consider finding an accountability partner to help you.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 (NLT)

  • Finally, as soon as God gives you a step, an instruction, or a command follow easily, willingly, and immediately.

Use this positive affirmation: “I obey right away. Slow obey is no obey”. Remember that delayed obedience is still disobedience.

“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15 (NLT)

“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60 (NLT)

Have there been times where your obedience to God could’ve used a leash? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.

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