At fourteen months, I guess it’s normal for Molly to have a little trouble with discipline. Like all human children, she also has a mind of her own.

The problem, though, is that she doesn’t know what is good for her. If she had her way, she’d chew every old bone, or bit of discarded food she finds on the pavement when we take our daily walk or, worse still, she’d sample every bit of rubbish that smells “good” to her, no matter whether it is harmful or not.

Fortunately for her (and for my peace of mind, I might add), our home is inside a walled garden from which there is no escape. She is never allowed outside the property except when she is securely under my control with harness and leash.

She sometimes obeys my commands like, “Sit,” when there is a treat being offered or, “Take your bone to your bed,” when I am on my way out and she gets a bone to chew while I am away. However, like a young child, she still falls short on obedience most of the time.

Why is it so important for her to learn to obey? An unruly puppy, like an unruly child, is a danger to herself. If I allowed her to do as she pleases, she would not last long in this world. For example, small as she is, it is her ambition to take on every dog in the neighbourhood, big or small, Fortunately for her, apart from my control, they are either behind a high wall and a strong gate or held securely on a leash by their owners.

Humans, from birth, have an inbred capacity to destroy ourselves. It all began with Adam. Lured by the promise of being “like God”, regardless of what God had instructed him, he fell for the lie that doing his own thing was good for him… and our world as it is today, is the result.

Believe it or not, God knows far better than we do what is good for us. Since He is our Creator and He loves us with a passion we will never understand, the whole world of us, good or bad, He has set the boundaries within which we can live in peace, safety and happiness. However, like self-willed puppies and toddlers, we test those boundaries because we neither love Him more than ourselves nor trust His love for us.

Discipline… obedience… trust… these are closely linked together. The writer to the Hebrews encourages his readers to trust the Father enough to submit to His discipline because, not only does He want to save us from ourselves but in doing so, He is slowly transforming us from wayward and unruly brats into sons and daughters who resemble Him and are fit to live in His presence


…Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His 

children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children.Whoever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?

… Since we respected our earthly father who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. (Hebrews 12:5-7; 9-10) 

In all animal society, there are boundaries that each generation must learn in order to survive in the wild. Molly is only a dog. She knows nothing of God and His love for her but, like all creatures, she must submit to my discipline if she is to live with me in peace.

I you and I are members of God’s family, we are serving our apprenticeship on earth for an eternal home with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. How important it is for us to submit to the hardships that are part of daily life and trust the Father to work in all things for our good so that He can prepare us to live with Him forever.


Luella Campbell

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