Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. Job 5:17
“No! You must NOT go out onto the road! You must NOT chase cars!” I hollered at Laddie, our purebred Border Collie. His genes told him that he must live in perpetual motion. He played fetch with a Frisbee without ever being coached to bring the toy back when it was thrown for him. He also chased rocks as he caused them to roll down a steep hillside, or dirt when it was tossed by shovelfuls into our raised-bed garden, waves as they crashed on the lakeshore, or children on bicycles. It was pure ecstasy for him and no amount of scolding or punishment would keep him from what he loved best. Of course some of these activities were innocent and safe, while others were purely dangerous.
Laddie had his good side, too. When our daughter was just two years old, she quietly slipped through the front door to play outside. Laddie knew something wasn’t right with that scene so he gently put his mouth around her little arm and led her back onto the porch. She came in crying, “Mommy! Laddie bit me!” Of course it wasn’t Laddie’s intent to harm “his” little girl—only to lead her to safety. Since he didn’t leave any marks on her skin, he was affectionately praised for looking out for her.
And, he really put up a fuss when he saw our cats up in the rafters of the wood shed. That really didn’t look right to him, apparently. We assured Laddie that the cats were just fine, and would be able to find their way down again, which satisfied his anxious barking.
One day, a day our family has permanently seared in their memories, the inevitable happened. Laddie lost his race with a vehicle. There was no rushing him to the vet. It was too late for that. We lost our precious friend, our Laddie dog. How many times we have shed a tear, reminiscing about our faithful dog who refused our correction, who loved chasing cars. His cherished bad behavior became his demise. And we are reminded that we too can cherish sins. Maybe it is just a “little” sin. But that “little” sin grows and becomes a habit, and forms a character, which changes a destiny. It’s time to be serious with God, with our life, and our eternal destiny.
“And let none flatter themselves that sins cherished for a time can easily be given up by and by. This is not so. Every sin cherished weakens the character and strengthens habit; and physical, mental, and moral depravity is the result. You may repent of the wrong you have done, and set your feet in right paths; but the mold of your mind and your familiarity with evil will make it difficult for you to distinguish between right and wrong. Through the wrong habits formed, Satan will assail you again and again.” Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 281.
“The righteousness of Christ will not cover one cherished sin. A man may be a law-breaker in heart; yet if he commits no outward act of transgression, he may be regarded by the world as possessing great integrity. But God's law looks into the secrets of the heart. Every act is judged by the motives that prompt it. Only that which is in accord with the principles of God's law will stand in the judgment.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 316.
Do you have a surrender that you need to make? Why not do it today?
Let me pray with you. Dear Heavenly Father, How thankful I am that You love your children even more that we loved our Laddie and that You offer victory over every sin, if we will surrender our hearts to You, and claim the victory that You have already won. Help us to spend time in Your Word, the Bible, every single day, getting to know You better. I am thankful that there is nothing too big, too small, too messy, or too private to talk to You about. You are not wearied with our requests, and in fact you enjoying hearing from us. So I am asking that You would help us to surrender our hearts, forgive us where we have gone wrong, and I ask that You would make our hearts clean. In Jesus’ name, Amen