We have two dogs; a brittany and a labrador. Living on a 160 acre farm allows them all sorts of room to explore, smell, run, and play. Unfortunately, it also allows a lot of wildlife to do the same. In the past year our dogs have been sprayed by skunks six times. Often just before bed or first thing in the morning.
Because of these run-ins we have put the dogs on a leash when we take them outside once it is dark. It can be inconvient to take them outside when it is raining, windy or cold, but it is more inconvient to have to wash freshly sprayed dogs.
Dogs are a lot like humans. We forget to come when we are called, and even run away when we should come home. We have a tendency to go after something that looks good, smells good, or seems interesting, often with disastrous results. We do not stay by our Master.
As a believer, I need to learn to stay near to God. Just like the sheep that recognize their master’s voice and follow only him (see John 10: 14-16), I will stay out of unnecessary trouble if I remain near my Heavenly Shepherd.
My dogs know my voice when I call them. It may take a couple of minutes for them to leave where they are and return to me, but they do. I want to give them the freedom to explore, but I want to train them to come when I call.
The same can be said of God. He came to give us life abundantly (see John 10:10). We are not bound and prevented from enjoying the world He made, but we must recognize that He knows more than we do and He wants to keep us safe from harm.
I am choosing to stay near my Master. He knows what is best for me.