Lessons From My Dog: Always Joyful!

May 19, 2009 — Leave a comment

anniecropI was on a business trip last week and, in addition to the souvenirs I got for Karen (I never come home empty-handed), I came home with severe allergies.  I stayed home from work Monday and, as I sat in my chair, clogged up, napping, and watching TV, our dog Annie caught my eye – totally resting, relaxed, content, looking at me. She always sits so that she can tell if Karen or I move, because that may mean one of two things: play time or a COOKIE! As I looked back at her, it dawned on me – she is always happy, tail wagging, ready to please.  She can be totally out of breath from play, she can be hobbling with a hurt leg, she can be just about to eat her supper, …she can be just about anything: but she is always happy, tail wagging, ready to please.

It got me thinking about one of the Profiles of the Obsessed in Francis Chan’s Crazy Love Chapter 8, which was this past week’s Sunday school lesson:

The Dedicated Someone obsessed with Christ is more concerned with character than comfort.  Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment – it is a gift that comes from God.

How often my joy is contingent on my comfort, safety, and overall happiness.  How often my joy is circumstance-driven.  Unlike Annie, if I am tired, sick, things aren’t working the way I planned, or whatever the opposite of what I think “good” is – my default reaction is not joy.  At times, it’s quite the opposite.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:4 –  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

James writes in chapter one of his book:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Of course, the JOY in these verses is beyond worldly or earthly happiness we typically associate with the word.  Its really the spiritual, enduring, fulfilled joy in the Lord who is sovereign over all things (including trials) and everlasting and never changing (unlike my circumstances).  If I believe the truth of God’s word, the good times as well as the tough times make me mature and complete.

Knowing this, I must go through life with the attitude of Annie: “OK, I’m tired, but what’s next!” or “I’m hurting, but I’m ready to please or serve!” or “God, things aren’t working as I planned, but You’re in control so I will be joyful!”

One of my favorite verses is Romans 12:1 –

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

How often I forget about the preceding two verses – at times forgetting the “Therefore”!

Romans 11:35-36 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen.

It puts the “THEREFORE” of 12:1 in a completely different light!

I’m sure there are many other lessons I could learn from Annie; but for now, its: Always be Joyful!

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s