As I interact with my dog and observe her behavior, it occurs to me that I could learn a lot from the way she interacts with me (her Master) and apply that to the way I interact with my Master… As I read Scripture, I see parallels in how she treats me and how our God wants us to treat Him and others.
Sometimes, I wish I had faith, trust and love like my dog because…
She completely relies on me to supply all her needs. If I didn’t supply her with food and water and shelter, she wouldn’t have them. She doesn’t go out and try to hunt for her food – she knows her father loves her and will provide it. (See Matthew 6:25-34) In fact, when she goes outside, hunting is the farthest thing from her mind – she’s more interested in sunning:
Whether I’m sitting at the computer working or sitting on the couch watching TV, she wants to be with me (See Luke 24:28-29). She’s the definition of a lap dog…
She just wants to be in close contact with me and if she can’t be in contact with me, then she’ll just stare at me (See Hebrews 12:2):
waiting patiently on me (see Lamentations 3:24-26, Psalm 27:14;37:7).
She loves me and longs for “my appearing” (see 2 Timothy 4:8b, 1 Corinthians 2:9). When I leave the house, I’m told that she goes into the front room and waits on top of the couch looking at all the cars that go by until I come home (see Psalm 130:6).
She loves me with all her heart, soul, mind and strength (see Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37).
When I come in the door after being away, she always greets me with tail wagging, getting up on her hind legs and licking my hands. She’s often so excited she’s “tinkling” on the floor…
My wife and I represent her complete life. Whether it is us petting her or playing with her:
or feeding her, all enjoyment she gets in her life comes from us. We are not just a part of her life, we are the main thing (see Philippians 1:21, Luke 9:24, Colossians 3:4). Without us, she would have no life. She looks to us for everything: all needs, all enjoyment, when she’s scared, whatever it is, we are her life. (See Psalm 141:8, John 14:1).
She both fears me (see 1 Samuel 12:24, Luke 12:4-5) and loves me. My dog has an unusual habit – it must be specific to her breed. Whenever I walk up to her, she lies on her back and gets in a totally submissive posture (see James 4:7):
If you didn’t know better, you’d think that I beat her. Yet, I’ve found out over time that she’s not afraid, but I think she’s just showing respect and acknowledging my dominance (see 2 Chronicles 19:7). Seeing her in this submissive position makes me want to have compassion for her (see Psalm 103:13-14).
When she does wrong, she knows it and is quick to repent and seek to restore the relationship (see 1 John 1:9, Joel 2:12-13, Acts 2:38;3:19;20:21, Revelation 2:5).
She doesn’t harbor grudges and will quickly forgive any bad moods I have – she’s got a very short memory (see Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35, Mark 11:25).
She puts family first, before other worldly concerns. She honors us, her father and mother (see Exodus 20:12), and listens to us (see Proverbs 6:20-21; 23:22).
Once her Master approves of someone, even though she was acting aggressive toward that person, now she accepts the person because her Master has approved and accepted him/her.
She’s happy walking with me even though she has to be on a leash:
The leash is there to protect her from running away, getting hit by a car etc. In the same way, I should be happy walking with God, even though he has commandments in place for my protection. I shouldn’t view those commandments as unnecessary restrictions put in place by a cosmic kill-joy but rather thoughtful protections put in place by my Father in heaven who loves me.
When she goes out of the house she has to wear a collar with the tag on it identifying who she is and who she belongs to. In the same way, I wear a cross that identifies both who I am and Who’s I am.
She even prays!
I must not have been the first person to notice these characteristics of dogs. Certainly all analogies break down at some point. For starters, I’m not the all-powerful Creator of the universe and my dog Peanut does not have the same mental capacity as I do, nor the same challenges in living this life. None-the-less, I really think we can learn something from the faith, trust, and love of our dogs.