|Photo by Gora Zoltan 2007|
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Beware of Dog
I dreamed that I was in the back of our house and was putting clothes away, carrying them from the bedroom and bathroom and hanging them in the closet or folding them to be placed in dresser drawers. I suddenly heard noises coming from our front door, so I rushed out to investigate.
To my dismay, the front door was wide open, and a woman in a blue business suit, high heels and horn-rimmed glasses was standing there with a clipboard, directing men in tan workers’ uniforms to move furniture and other items from our house into a large truck parked out front!
I demanded to know what was going on, but the workers ignored me, and the woman only replied cryptically, “We have prior authorization.”
In my shock I wondered whether I should argue with her, request to see the paperwork, or just immediately call my husband or 911. Then I noticed a very large, furry dog, all brown with black facial features, resembling a mastiff or St. Bernard, sleeping across the threshold of the front door.
Without even thinking about what I was doing, I reached down to pet the hairy beast. But it grabbed my right arm between its front paws and held me in a vice-like grip, from which I could not escape. Even worse, I suddenly realized I could neither move nor speak.
I awoke in a panic, then experienced great relief as I realized it was only a dream, perhaps warning me about the importance of being vigilant (1 Peter 5:8; 1 Timothy 3:2). In the dream I had been involved in routine chores, straightening up my house, but unaware of the major threat to my home and even to my safety that lurked outside.
How often do we get caught up in mundane activities and ignore what is far more important? In the dream, I was sorting out the minor details of my wardrobe, while unaware that my possessions and home were in great danger.
When going through trials in real life, I sometimes find it comforting to tidy up and organize, as it gives me the illusion of control. But in truth, it is God Who works all things together for the good of His children (Romans 8:28), and we can lay our burdens at the cross and trust Him completely (1 Peter 5:7).
Once we are saved by our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), He expects us to be good stewards over what He has entrusted to us (Luke 12:42-48; 1 Corinthians 4:2). If we are not faithful to tend the blessings, opportunities, and ministries He has provided, He will reapportion them to others who will use them wisely to His glory (Matthew 25:14-30), for He owns everything (Psalm 50:10).
To be good stewards, we must be faithful and share God’s priorities. Too often we get encumbered by physical tasks when He longs to feed us spiritually (Luke 10:38-42). Or we may become preoccupied with our physical appearance, which is of little importance to God (1 Samuel 16:7; 2 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Peter 3:4); and forget to cultivate our spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
If we do not hear His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12), we may lose those spiritual blessings, which are a far greater treasure than any material wealth (Matthew 6:20), until we are restored to fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9).
It amazes me that in the dream, while threatened by intruders invading my home and taking my possessions, that I could get distracted by petting a dog! Yet if we are not careful, Satan can divert our attention from ever-present spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-13) by engaging us in seemingly innocent pursuits. Before we know it, we can be trapped in a stronghold that prevents us from fulfilling our God-given purpose (2 Corinthians 10:2-6).
Our home is our abode, just as our body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, once we have been saved (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19). In real life, we would not likely surrender the contents of our home without putting up a fight. Even better, we would try to prevent a home invasion and its consequences in the first place by using house alarms, locking the doors, and being insured against losses.
In His mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16; 2 John 1:3), God has given us an effective security system that protects His holy temple within us. Our conscience is an alarm that warns us when we are in spiritual danger, yet our conscience can become seared (1 Timothy 4:2) if we quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). It is therefore vital that we hide His Word in our heart to avoid sinning against Him (Psalm 119:11).
Just as we lock our doors to protect what’s inside our house, we should guard our spirit by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18). Of the six pieces of spiritual armor Paul mentions, only one, the sword of the Spirit, is offensive and the others are all defensive, shielding us from Satan’s traps.
We insure our homes and their contents to avoid financial loss. But thankfully, it is God Himself Who insures our spirit. To be saved, we did nothing but trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9), and once He saves us, we can do nothing to lose our salvation (Romans 8:39). Jesus holds us firmly within His hand, which is held firmly in the grip of the Father (John 10:28-29), and this fortress is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13).
Although our spirit is eternally secure, we must constantly guard against the devil, who wants to lead us into sin. Unrepented sin can interrupt our fellowship with God (1 John 1:6-7), remove our physical and/or spiritual blessings, cause us to lose eternal rewards, and even destroy us physically, with potential consequences including pain, disease, and even death (Romans 6:23; James 1:15).
But the devil is a master liar and deceiver (John 8:44), and he disguises his temptations, just as he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). Do we trust those who seek to hurt, deceive or destroy us just because they are nicely dressed and have a professional demeanor?
Do we let our guard down around a creature seemingly as innocent as a sleeping pet, only to discover that it is a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), seeking whom he may devour? Don’t expect Satan to hang out a “Beware of Dog” sign!
I love dogs, grew up with dogs as pets, and have even been dubbed the “Dog Whisperer” by my son. But the Bible warns against dogs, using them as a symbol of Jews who think they can be saved by their religious works (Philippians 3:2), and of those who are impure because they have not received by faith the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:15).
May God grant us the spiritual discernment to beware dogs, or opportunities for Satan to grab hold of our life, and to set our spiritual house in order by following His priorities in all we do!
© 2017 Laurie Collett