Molly has developed a skin condition which the vet and I are still trying to identify and treat. She has an allergic reaction to something, but the question is….what? It could be from the environment or from her food. When it’s really bad, the poor little thing scratches and licks continually and she breaks out in a nasty rash. She has been treated with cortisone twice that has temporarily relieved her problem, but I am looking for a permanent solution.
Now….the big problem is that Molly is spoilt! Yes, I know it’s my fault. Like all dogs, she adores treats. Biltong (dried meat) is her all-time favourite with chicken coming in a close second. Now that she’s on a strict diet of pellets made of duck and rice, she thinks her world has come an end. She gazes mournfully and hopefully at me when I eat what she used to share with me. She is thoroughly convinced that I no longer love her. If only I could get her to understand that it’s because I love her that I withhold everything that could trigger her allergy again.
Isn’t that just like our interaction with God? He knows far better than we do what is good for us and what is not good for us. We beg and plead, and sulk when we can’t get our way, complaining that God doesn’t love us while, in the meantime, He is protecting us from the very things that will destroy us.
Take, for example, His laws about adultery, fornication, theft, murder etc. Although we may never do these things in real life, what about the times when we do them in our hearts, wishing fervently that God would turn His head away for a moment? Even if we are not tempted by the grosser sins in life, there are many things we do that are destructive to ourselves and to those we love: greed, jealousy, anger, resentment, bitterness, and so on.
Jesus offered us the kind of rest that frees us from shame and guilt if we would just live in union with Him. Indulging in the appetites of our flesh, like Molly would love to do if I gave in to her, does nothing but trigger spiritual “allergies” which are uncomfortable and irritating.
Let’s heed Jesus’ invitation to learn from Him so that we can live free from habits and practices that harm us and produce rifts between us and our Father and us and our fellow men.