Our dog, Jack, has matured into a — most of the time — obedient dog. Once in a while he slips back into his former nature which is barking and snarling at would be assailants. Such was the case earlier this week. There we were enjoying a gentle stroll around the neighborhood when another dog comes on the scene. This other dog is also on a leash. He is on the other side of the road. He is minding his own business of sniffing pursuits. What does Jack do? He turns into the hound of the baskervilles!
I have a good grip on the leash as I command him to, “stop Jack!” We walk on. The incident is over but not really. A now contrite Jack peeks back at me over his shoulder. He knows his transgression. His eyes speak volumes — Everything okay? I keep my face stern. He walks on and looks back again — Everything okay? I smile then, pet him, and assure him, “I love you, Jack.” He lifts his head and walks on happily, safe in the assurance of my love for him.
Aren’t we the same in our walks with God? Perhaps you have been working on a personal weakness, a stance against some temptation. You’ve matured into an obedient Christ follower — most of the time — but the dreaded moments come when you succumb to something you never wanted to do or think or say again. You walk on but gingerly peek at God — Everything okay? Someone else enters the scene. His name is Demon. He speaks lies. He tells you that God is not pleased with you; therefore, His love has diminished. You hang your head as you consider the lie. You are disgusted with yourself. Your reasoning tells you, if you’re repulsed by your own actions, your Heavenly Father must be ready to give up entirely.
Perhaps you sink into despair that goes from a day to a week to a month or more. The assault of demon lies never cease. You can’t breathe in peace anymore. It’s gone! But wait! Once more you peek at God. You hear Him say, “If you confess your sin, I’ll forgive you. I’ll wash you all over. I’ll make you clean again.”* His words are tender and loving. You know they are true. You receive it. A burden floats away. Peace comes again. You lift your head and walk on happily, safe in the assurance of Father’s love for you.
*(I John 1:9 – paraphrase mine)