How personal and passionate is your love for God? We were designed to cling close to Him, believe in Him, rely upon Him and never, never leave His side.
We are all pound puppies: scraggly, sinful, smelly and in need of rescue. God looked down at our “waggeldy” tails, wet noses, and flea-filled fur. He released us from our captive cages, vaccinated us from sin with the blood of His own Son and adopted us into His family. Mutts no more! God even gave us pedigree papers to present at the Pearly Gates.
Here are five lessons we learn about loving God from our furry friends: loyalty, celebration, protection, affection and worship.
Loyalty. Dogs are known for their unwavering loyalty. Your dog sits at your feet, follows you everywhere and sleeps at the foot of your bed. Cats own people. People don’t own them. (Sorry guys, I’m a dog person).
Widowed Ruth, the Moabitess, chose to remain at the side of her grief-stricken mother-in-law. Naomi was bereft at the deaths of her precious sons, Mahlon and Killion (Ruth 1:3-5). Destitute Naomi prepared to make the arduous journey home to Bethlehem alone. Ruth refused to abandon her, and chose instead to leave her native country to care for Naomi.
“Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!” Ruth 1:16-17 The Message
God deserves no less from us.
Celebration. My pooch Penny practically leaps out of her skin when I come through the door. Every day I take two minutes to retrieve my mail. As soon as the front door closes, Penny moans and cries as if I have been gone for eons. She jubilantly jumps, gleefully licks my face, happily wriggles and barks upon my return.
An aging father joyously greeted his wayward boy when he returned home, broken and ashamed.
20-21 “When he (the wayward son) was still a long way off, his father saw him. His Father-heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ Luke 15: 20-24 The Message
Do you rejoice in God’s presence? Are you glad to spend time with Him? Celebrate your Heavenly Father with a grateful heart.
Protection. Even a Chihuahua vigilantly guards his Master; fiercely growling and howling at a potential intruder. The tiny canine has no idea that any child could squish his bony body with a sneaker. Most dogs zealously guard their owners. They patrol the yard, circling the perimeter, listening intently for the slightest unfamiliar sound. If a stranger approaches, they yap incessantly to keep danger at bay.
Jesus was zealous to protect the name and glory of His Father. Whip in hand, Christ drove out the moneychangers and charlatans from the Temple of the Lord.
13And Jesus said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:13 NKJV
Do you guard God’s Name and His holiness, or do you sit idly by and let a corrupt society continue to contaminate and defame His Name? Love Him enough to hate evil and uphold justice.
Affection. My mini-cocker spaniel is a lap dog. No, that is an understatement. Every time my bottom hits the chair, Penny takes a flying leap to my lap and snuggles down as closely as her fat, furry body can get. She licks my hand and strokes my leg with her paw, gazing at me with her adoring brown eyes. Just like cuddly Penny, worship is our deepest expression of affection toward God.
The most common word in the New Testament for “worship” is proskuneo. This word occurs 60 times in the New Testament, 57 of which are in the four gospels, Acts, and Revelation. It originally carried with it the idea of subjects falling down before a monarch to kiss the ground or kiss his feet. Worship, literally defined, means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to fawn or crouch to, homage (do reverence to, adore): worship.” The elders in heaven worship as God intended:
“The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Rev. 4:10). NLT
Lick God’s Hand in worship today. Lie in the lap of His presence without hurrying away.
Are you expressing your unbridled love for God today? Look to man’s best friend. Be loyal. Be protective of your time with God. Celebrate Him. Show your affection and bow before Him.
Give your pup an extra pet today. Learn to love God from your furry friend.
Kevin Cook: Greek Words for Worship.