This will be my first attempt at taking one of my Bible studies that I taught in jail and putting it on the blog. My classes are 2 hours long, with a solid hour of teaching material, so I will be condensing and breaking it into several bite sized pieces. This is also my first study to feature video clips of my “ministry dog” Tillie!
I believe God put the idea in my heart to use a dog to teach His truth and demonstrate willing obedience in a way that would be memorable. I prayed and asked God to lead me to find just the right dog, and I prayed He would use her for His glory. I also spent time researching breeds and reading and studying dog training. After all, you don’t pray for something and then just sit on the couch and wait for it to happen!
In December 2013, I found my puppy – a miniature Australian Shepherd from a young Christian couple. We named her Tillie, short for Waltzing Matilda. And I began working with her, and it was very apparent that God answered my prayers! In this study, I’m going to use some video clips of Tillie that I pray will help you see willing obedience. These clips were taken when she was between 8 and 10 months old.
So what is obedience?
To be obedient is to be submissive to authority, to yield in compliance with commands, to perform what is required, and to abstain from (not do) what is forbidden.
Biblically, to be obedient is to hear God’s Word and act accordingly, willingly submitting to God’s authority. It is a choice of the will. Christian obedience also carries the idea of love and trust. Sincere, willing obedience flows from a heart that loves and trusts its Master.
John 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments. [Jesus]
Jesus taught that our love FOR God should be our main motivation to obey Him as Lord and Master. Our obedience is the evidence of our love for Him. That also means our disobedience is the evidence of our lack of love for Him.
As you watch this first video clip of Tillie, I encourage you to reflect on your own relationship with Jesus Christ. Are you willing to listen to your Master and obey His commands? Where is your focus most of the time? Can you be obedient, even when it is hard and you would rather do your own thing? Where do you struggle being obedient to your Master?
You will see one spot in this video where Tillie has a hard time obeying my command to “drop it”. She LOVES to play tug. It is a huge reward for her, and one of her favorite games. And she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES for me to drag her around by the tug toy! I have NO idea why that is so much fun for her, but it is! I can literally drag her all through the house! So when I ask her to “drop it” (let go) after I drug her around a little bit, it is very hard for her because she would much rather keep playing. You can see her struggle. I can SO relate to this in my own walk with God. It is hard to let go of things we love. But I just softly repeat my command, and then she is able to obey and do what I ask. I didn’t show it in the clip… but her reward was one more round of tug and dragging.
Note: Click on the link for the “speaker’s notes” version of the Obedience – Why Does It Matter? study.