Summary: The basics of training a dog apply to training ourselves.
This morning I want to begin a short series on Christianity for Dummies. Now what inspired this was not what you might think.
I recently inherited a dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever. Those of you that know me, know that I am not a hunter and may wonder why I have a Retriever, there is really no logic behind it other than I think they are really pretty dogs and they are good natured and fun to play with.
I came about the dog because the previous owner didn’t have enough time and energy or the right place to raise a dog like this. Dogs like this one that is 16 months old have a lot of energy and can be a nuisance if not properly trained. Now I am no dog trainer, but I like to think of myself as one.
If you come to my house right now “Buddy” will jump on you, slobber on you and probably put a dirty paw print on your shirt or pants. We have had Buddy just two weeks and he has punctured two air mattresses and torn up one of my T-shirts and chewed up a completely good pool testing kit. Other than that he is absolutely great! lol
I tell you this, “and by the way don’t anyone get offended by today’s message title “Christianity for Dummies” because when it comes to living the Christian life, all of us fall short.
Now back to my dog. He is 16 months old and a juvenile delinquent dog. So one of the first purchases I made was this book called “Dog Training For Dummies.”
I really don’t know that much about training a dog to stay down, to get in the kennel, or to heel, so I bought the book. And the more I read the book the more the Lord began to teach me about myself and my faith. I felt that the Lord was really saying to me “You Need More Training Craig.”
THE FIRST THING I LEARNED ABOUT TRAINING THE DOG WAS, I WAS NOT TRAINING THE DOG. I WAS TRAINING MYSELF TO GET THE DOG TO DO WHAT I WANTED IT TO DO.
Remember I was the one reading the book “Dog Training for Dummies”. If I were to have taken that book to the back yard and opened it up for Buddy, he would drooled on it shredded it with his teeth and probably marked it with a little pee, because he likes doing that, but he would have never learned anything.
And so as Christians a lot of times we come into the faith and there we are trying our best to follow God, yet we have no training. We have no real obedience to God, we are in many ways juvenile delinquent Christians. Juvenile in that we haven’t grown up and delinquent in that we aren’t very obedient many times to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Folks God’s word is a word of promises, it is a book of hope, it is a book of direction, it represents and contains His love story about how much He loves us, but it is also a training book.
When we come to the Lord and are saved we are bright eyed and bushy tailed and then someone throws a Bible at us and says, “Hey read that.” We drool on it a lot because we fall asleep reading it and we may even chew it a little bit as we think on it. But really we rarely find use for it and application to our life, because we are focused on the promises, and never look at the requirements that precede the promises. There are always boundaries involved in training. That is where the training is.
People like to say: “The Bible says, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.” They forget that it says right before that, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you,” John 15:7-8
It’s in the remaining and having His words remaining in us that we never get. That’s where the training takes place. Get into God, stay and remain with Him. Remain comes from the Greek word men’o and it means to stay in relation to and with expectancy, it means to endure.
In other words, when things don’t go your way, you don’t quit, run off, stop going to church, get mad at God, Blame God. The difference between the juvenile Christian and the Trained Christian is where they are when bad things happen. The juvenile runs away, the trained stays under the shadow of God and remains and endures.
Do you know why today we are having so many problems with young people in our world. TRAINING.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)