Galatians 5:7 – You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (NKJV)
Every day, I walk my dog, Sparky, down a long trail with woods on both sides. It's good exercise for both of us. He loves to sniff around and run back and forth while I just sort of plod along, all the while thanking God for the beauty around me.
When Sparky lags too far behind, I signal for him to come. There are foxes and coyotes lurking in the woods, and they could easily attack him if he went too far off the trail. He begins well, and runs swiftly in my direction. Then, suddenly, he stops and turns aside. He has scented something interesting, and he wants to leave his calling card.
I find this behaviour quite annoying, because I have spent a lot of time and money training him, so I expect him to obey. When he looks in my direction, I signal him once again, only to have the whole scenario repeated. I know that he will eventually come to me, and then I will reward him, hoping it will teach him that obedience has its rewards.
Continuing along the trail, it dawned on me how much I am like Sparky when it comes to obeying the instructions of my heavenly Father.
I usually begin well. When I hear the voice of my Father, I start out immediately with every intention of obeying. However, as an old maxim says, the only good intentions are good intentions followed through. Unfortunately, something all too often distracts me, and I turn aside to follow my own interests or ideas.
My Father waits patiently, then calls again. This time He says, "Eyes on Me." Because I love Him, I want to please Him, so I set out immediately to heed His voice. But somehow, all too often, I fall into the same foolish pattern of allowing myself to be sidetracked once more.
Perhaps we allow ourselves to get distracted in response to "the tyranny of the urgent", which, on the surface, may seem legitimate. It isn't as if these incidents that cause us to get off track are necessarily wrong in themselves. They may be very legitimate needs or interests, but it is still disobedience if we are not following the Lord's leading.
As a coyote lurks in the grass just waiting to snatch a small puppy that has wandered out of sight of its owner, so Satan stalks about "seeking whom he may devour". (1 Peter 5:8b NKJV) He knows that if we, who are walking with God, are straying off the path doing our own thing, he is just waiting to destroy us with his wicked plans.
Prayer: Lord, teach us not only to listen for Your voice, but also to be quick to obey immediately and not get sidetracked by the enemy of our souls. Amen.