As spirit beings, how do we learn?
Think of how we train our pet dogs. For safety sake, we don’t let them out the door to run through the neighborhood at will, so we put up a fence. But if all they know is to run around outside in a fenced back yard, are they learning to control themselves, rein in their instincts, or hear and respond to their master’s commands? Most of us are not satisfied with that kind of relationship with our pets, so we train them and take them for walks to teach them to respond to our voice and commands. But we still rely on the collar and leash to restrain their behavior. For most this is good enough. But others want an even closer connection, they want their pet to trust them and respond to a whisper or gesture. Through obedience training, both the dog and the master learn how to relate and trust, and the outcome is a bond where neither leash nor fence is needed. This takes time and effort and diligence, but the relationship is enduring and satisfying to both.
How does this translate to our relationship with God? We’re not dogs, but think about what it is you are relying on for safety and security when it comes to what’s important to you. Do you expect God, or your church, to take care of you because you attend and are involved? Do you expect God to answer your prayers because you read your Bible or tithe regularly? Is God obligated to protect you because of your ministry, what you’ve done for Him? Or are you putting in the effort, diligence and time to have a truly personal relationship with God, in which you hear and respond to the slightest whisper or gesture and know you are safe because He loves you?
We may think that the fence or walls we have constructed keep us safe. But maybe all they do is give our soul license to remain unyielding to God.
Lord, bring to my awareness any area where I rely on something other than You to keep me safe and protected, and make clear how to cooperate with you to make that change.