I drive by a dog park every day I go into the office. Some days it sits empty. Other days, the canine ruckus is quite entertaining.
We have family members down the street who own two dogs. They’re sizeable; one is a labrador retriever, and the other is an Australian shepherd. Both enjoy running fast and furiously. There’s no fenced-in backyard to let them run as they please. A dog park is a great option.
It saves the kids having to give them a run.
When these two get crafty, they manage to escape without a leash. With people coming and going, not everyone is careful about ensuring the door is closed. Given a chance, freedom beckons.
And these two respond with gusto.
They’ve done better as they’ve gotten older. They’ve learned that staying home and waiting to go out is more rewarding than leaving on a whim. It’s a learning process, and dogs willingly respond to training.
We all respond to being trained in what is appropriate behavior. Our conduct can’t be judged by how well we do in a situation; it must be evaluated by our age, experience, and what we’ve successfully learned.
Kolly is almost six months old, and her training is geared toward her youth. She can’t speak, crawl, or do chores around the house. It’s not age-appropriate. But her parents are helping her learn how to self-soothe and sleep through the night. This is something she can do, and success will be a matter of her parents’ follow-through and how quickly she learns.
She would never be expected to do what she hasn’t yet learned or can’t learn yet. The older she gets, the more she’ll learn, and the more will be expected of her.
As adults, we’re continually learning, though there are those who believe they know all they need to know. Understanding how to live our best lives is an ongoing learning experience. Our actions hold consequences; we can’t do as we please because we live among others who must follow rules as well.
Paul shared how God deals with people as they make decisions on how to live.
“God will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But He will pour His anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.” Romans 2:6-8
Everyone wants to be sure they’re going to heaven, and the way to do that is to obey God and receive the gift of forgiveness He offers. We can’t obey the rules perfectly; we’re broken people. A perfect God can’t associate with imperfect people. So He sent Jesus to pay the price for our shattered lives.
We can all learn what He’s like and how He’s chosen to pursue us. We need to learn–consider–if that’s the path we want.
The dogs can be trained to be obedient, and they’re more content when they know what’s expected of them. It helps us to know what’s expected of us for the hope of heaven.
We don’t have to be perfect. We just need Jesus.