“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself,.”Matthew 22:36-39, ESV.
I am impressed with my neighbor. Actually, we are very blessed to have good neighbors all along the street where we live, but one in particular impressed me with her dog-training abilities. You see, her dog will walk with her without a leash. Ava and I are not even able to attempt that feat yet. Our neighbor has a cute, rambunctious terrier, but the moment they set out the door, her dog walks by her side. If her dog gets distracted, she simply says, “Distraction. No, come here,” and her dog trots right back to follow at her heels.
I have tried to do that with Ava, within the boundaries of our own backyard. I let her off the leash to play fetch with a ball one day. She chased every leaf that blew and every bird that fluttered by. My hopeless calls for her to heel and to come were totally unheeded. She was determined to enjoy every distraction possible, and she ran as far from me as our backyard would allow. She ran through the bushes by the house, along the fence line behind the swing set, under the slide and around the trees. I cannot imagine how she would behave if I didn’t keep a leash on her when we go out to walk! The great big world would be one massive distraction that she would not be able to resist, and she would take off in a heartbeat and either be harmed on the roadway, or lost from us forever.
Oh, but how I wish Ava would be like our neighbor’s dog! To be able to trust her to stay with me, walk with me, follow my lead. To be able to free her from the leash and know she would not run away—what a feeling that would be for her, and for me. What if God could trust us to walk with Him? What if we could shirk off the leash of limitations and rules and follow God with all of our hearts and be in such good communication with Him that a simple word from His heart to ours would bring us back into step with Him? Jesus said the greatest commandment is love, not a law. How freeing would it be to make the choice to walk with God each moment?
God is good, and He knows when we need a leash, and when He can trust us to walk with Him. Let’s love to make that spiritual leash come off sooner than later, and enjoy walking by His side and listening to His still, small voice–because of love!
Thought-provoker: What spiritual leash do you need to keep you from wandering away from God? What would it take for you to choose to stay by His side and listen to His voice? What does love for God look like in your life?
Lord, please help me to become a mature, wise, loving child who will stay by Your side and listen to Your voice! Amen.