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Obedience Training

I love animals . . . so long as they are not in my house, that is. But to watch animals either in the wild, at a zoo, or on TV has always amazed me. I am especially intrigued by animals that have been trained to do incredible tricks. I lived in Orlando for almost nine years and my favorite theme park was Seaworld. If you’ve ever seen any of the shows at Seaworld, you cannot help but be awed by the collaboration between man and marine life: a human riding on the nose of a killer whale; a dolphin sailing out of the water like a rocket through a hula hoop. I even saw a show at Seaworld once that featured a bunch of rescued animals (including birds and cats) performing a massive variety of stage tricks. It was truly amazing.

And then there are the plethora of talk shows which feature amazing pet tricks—like a Jack Russell terrier that jumps rope, a goldfish that can score soccer goals, and a mini pig that plays the xylophone! Don’t believe me? The videos are all on YouTube. And lest you feel inclined to dismiss these amazing feats, let me ask you how many cool tricks your pet can perform. I’d personally be pleased if I could teach my dog not to destroy every object upon which she can get her teeth.

I often wonder how many hours of training it takes to get to that level. Even more curious is the process involved and the discipline it must take on behalf of the trainers to teach these obedience tricks to animals. Hours upon hours of patient instruction. Makes you wonder how God must feel as He continues to work with us, probably wondering why such simple acts of obedience sometimes seem so difficult for us to grasp.

Is there a particular command or principle in Scripture that seems to continuously give you problems? Do you ever feel that maybe God loses patience with you concerning this issue? Obedience is both a foundational and, sometimes, elusive concept in Christianity. If you need some inspiration, take a look at the Old Testament story of Ruth—a story of both courage and obedience under trying circumstances. I know for myself, any insight I can gain is always helpful.

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