Thursday, October 2, 2014

God's Love And The Love Of A Dog

I was in our pastor's Bible study at our church a couple of weeks ago and we were studying Paul's letter to the Colossians, Chapter 2. We were talking about how God loves us always, no matter what we do, no matter kind of day we might be having.

Our pastor, Dr. Marr, gave us the analogy of "Suppose you get up tomorrow morning and you're feeling great. You slept well and woke up early. You have some extra time to spend reading your Bible and praying before your work day begins. You have a great day at work and when you're home in the evening you finish everything you need to do and still have time to pray before going to sleep." 

"Now suppose that night you don't really sleep well. You toss and turn all night, wake up late, don't have time to read your Bible or even pray before you run out the door. You have a lousy day, get home late and have no time for God before you fall into bed, exhausted."

"On which day do you think God loves you more?"

Of course, many will say that on your good day God loved you more and felt you closer to Him. Some will say that on your bad day, when you needed Him, he loved you more. But the truth is God loves you the same regardless of how your day goes. He wants you to talk to Him and study His word every day but His love for you doesn't change if you have a bad day and don't do that.

Dr. Marr explained it using our own children as examples. He reminded us of how we love our own children even when they have a bad day. Parents love their children even if those children don't live up to the expectations of the parents. They love their children if they do something wrong. Some parents even have children who are in prison yet they still love those children and try to spend time with them. These examples are certainly true but as he was speaking I thought of another, very simple example, particularly for those who do not have children.

Those of you who have a dog know that no matter what you do to that dog, whether you have a bad day or a good day, No matter how you treat him/her, once you've earned the love and favor of that animal he/she loves you no matter what you do. You can starve that dog, even mistreat him and he or she will come back and lick your hand, letting you know that you are loved regardless.

Now before anyone believes I'm being blasphemous - there certainly are definite differences. First - God is not going to lick your hand. Second - the dog is not the master in most households. And third (and most importantly) we don't have to earn the love and favor of God. We are His children and He loves us no matter what we do. He grants us favor in the blessings He gives us daily. Certainly, accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and living a life of obedience to Him leads to greater favor than when we move away from Him. But God bestows blessings on everyone now and then. And He'll love you regardless. 

Like a dog, God's love is unconditional. Salvation and eternal life have conditions. God's love for you does not. So the next time your dog comes up and demonstrates his love for you - remember who else loves you unconditionally and thank Him for it. After all - He doesn't have to love you. He chooses to.

Note: I sent this to a friend and brother who is also a pastor in another state. He sent me back a lengthy narrative (a very informed and well written narrative I might add) explaining to me why my own narrative was far too simple when it comes to God's love. We chatted back and forth for a few minutes before he came to the understanding that it was meant to be simple. I'm not a pastor. I'm merely a Christian man striving to be a better Christian man, learning as much as I can and comparing it to daily life. Either way - thanks for your input, Mark. Love ya, my brother. :)

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