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How to Walk with God

How to Walk with God

To say I am a dog lover is huge understatement. I have dreamed of getting a puppy much like young girls dream of having a family someday. Last fall my dream came true and my husband and I brought home a sixteen pound, eight week old golden retriever puppy. Since that day our lives and our home have not stopped revolving around him. He has definitely been a handful at times, but he has brought an indescribable amount of joy into our lives. And now, almost eight months later, I can say this bounding ball of fur has taught me more than I ever would have dreamed about God and the relationship he wants to have with me.

Since the day we brought Westen home, we have done our best to establish routines for his exercise, training, eating, and play. One of these routines is a morning walk. Of all the purchases we’ve made for our pup, the best investment has been the Gentle Leader. It is a harmless leading collar used to train dogs to walk by their owner’s side without pulling. I absolutely swear by this thing! Especially for walking a large dog that weighs almost as much as its owner!

On many of our morning walks, I have contemplated an analogy seen several times throughout the Bible—“walking with God.” In many ways, God is the “Gentle Leader” in my life. Even though the Gentle Leader collar is harmless to a dog, it is often uncomfortable if He tries to pull while wearing it. God in the same way desires to cause us no harm, but when we pull against His will, we often feel the tension and discomfort of God reining us back to Him. God wants us to walk directly by His side, allowing Him to lead the way.

The reason I want Westen to walk next to me is because it makes for a much more enjoyable and safe walk. There is nothing worse than being manhandled by an eighty pound golden retriever; he is strong enough to pull us both out into the street! But I’ve noticed something interesting happening. When Westen walks directly by my side, a bond is formed. I can sense the trust and loyalty flowing between us. It’s a moment when the phrase “man’s best friend” becomes a reality in my life. There is a primal bond awakened. I believe this is the reason God calls us to walk beside Him. Our safety and protection are definitely on God’s mind, but I think He has something even more amazing that He wants us to experience.

While the Gentle Leader is a wonderful tool, it is not meant to be a permanent solution. The dog’s owner should be able to eventually wean the dog off the Gentle Leader to a less restricting collar and eventually to eliminate the leash all together. Eventually, the connection between an owner and its dog should become so strong that it becomes the leash that bonds the two together. God is the same way. As we first start walking with Him, He guides us more closely; He pulls back on the leash when we step outside His will. Eventually, we pull less and follow more. We keep in step with God and stay close to His side. God blesses us and gives us more freedom, releasing us from our leash, knowing that our bond with Him is stronger than any cord. It’s at this point that God knows, even if we do wander off a bit, we will always return to His side. After all, He is our Master.