Dogs can be our best friend and even feel like part of our family. They live with us and we take care of them. We let them go for rides in the car, just to be with us, and take them for walks or the park. In my case, I take my dog, Annie, for walks in the woods or to do chores around the farm. Her instinct is to be a dog. She herds the cattle, whether they need it or not. She chases the deer and turkeys that come close to the house. And she like smells.
While outdoors, she searches out every new or intriguing smell she can find. She isn’t happy to just leave the smell where it is found. No, she wants to smell the same way and bring her prized odor home. That is just what she did the other day. Annie may have been proud of herself but I wasn’t. She went straight to the bathtub, which made her very unhappy. She may have been doing what dogs naturally do, but if she wanted to live in my house with me she needed cleansing.
This may be the way God sees us; His cherished, adopted children. He loves us and wants us with Him. However, we can’t hang onto the habits which He cannot allow in His house. Much like Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (instinct*); to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” NIV
God accepts us the way we are, no matter how dirty or smelly. He guides us to clean up our lives as we grow closer to Him. When we fall back into old ways, we need to seek forgiveness. Annie didn’t like her bath, but it is what she needed to get what she wanted; to eat and sleep in the house. Sometimes God allows things we don’t like in order for us to end up with what is best for us. He has our best interest in mind which is often different that our own desires. Changing our habits may be as hard as Annie changing hers, but with God’s help we can do it.
What habits or desires do you have that get in your way of living the way God wants you to? How have you learned to deal with those natural instincts?