Have you ever had a new puppy? A new six-week, just taken from his mother puppy? If you haven’t, let me tell you they are a lot of work. If you have, then you will know what I’m talking about.
Up until this point in his life, his mother has taken care of all his needs. She’s fed him when he was hungry, carried him about and cleaned him up when nature called, and snuggled him close when he was tired and he slept blissfully next to the warmth of her body and sound of her heartbeat. Most times she even provided him entertainment—brothers and sisters to rub against and nip at while exploring their new world together.
Then one day he was taken away from his mother and brought into a new situation. A situation that is completely foreign to him and he is left bereft of the guidance and protection of his mother. There is no heartbeat and warm body to snuggle against for comfort, no siblings to explore and play with, and food is not there whenever you want it Everything is different and he is in unfamiliar territory.
As you can probably tell, I was recently blessed with a new puppy for Christmas. He is adorable—especially when he is sleeping snuggled up against me or near me. But he inevitably wakes up and I must figure out his needs. And he must figure out how to tell me what he needs. Bathroom break? Water? Food? Snuggles? Not only that, but he must learn who his new parent is—my voice, my touch, my smell. Add to that the fact that I have “human” rules he must learn to live by as opposed to living on his “animal” instincts. This is going to be a learning process for both of us.
It is quite entertaining watching him learn about his world. He trips over his own feet when he gets in too big of a hurry to go somewhere, he turns around in circles and even backs up when he’s exploring new things (leaves, bugs, plants, etc.), though he quickly learned where his food and water bowls were so as soon as he comes in from outside he hightails it to them to fill his belly. The problem is that his curiosity gets him in trouble sometimes. The cats do not like him pouncing on them. He gets underfoot quite frequently and stepped on because he’s too close. He doesn’t want to sleep on a schedule. The “entertainment” gives way to irritation when the learning process takes longer than it seems it should.
Imagine what God must see when He watches us. We, too, trip over our own feet (figuratively if not literally) when we get in a hurry and run ahead of Him. When we don’t seek His guidance, or listen to the Spirit’s urgings, we often end up going around in circles and backing up rather than making any forward progress in our Christian walk. We, too, must learn the sound of our Master’s voice; we must learn to depend on Him to meet our needs—spiritual, physical, and emotional. Our learning process will not be a quick and easy task. It will take a long time, a lifetime really because it won’t be complete until we reach eternity.
How can we prevent ourselves from running ahead of God, lagging behind, or remaining stagnant in our Christian walk? How can we grow from “puppy-hood” into mature Christians status?
- Learn who the Master is. Study His word. Learn that He is our Creator, Almighty Father, Redeemer, the Great Physician, our Confidante, and so much more. He is everything and everyone we need. As we read and study His word, we come to know who He is, how much He loves us, and all He has done for us.
For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Hebrews 3:4 (NLT)
O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. Isaiah 25:1 (NLT)
But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)
- Learn the sound of the Master’s voice. This will take time with Him. Uninterrupted time. Time focused only on Him. It doesn’t matter when—morning, mid-day, nighttime, or even the middle of the night. Whenever you can devote your whole self into being with Him, take the time to learn who He is. Remember, we make time for what is important to us. Make this important!
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NLT)
- Listen for the Master’s voice. Once you learn the Master’s voice, you must remember to listen to what He is saying. When spending time with Him, don’t do all the talking. Leave moments for Him to answer. In a conversation with another person, it is difficult to hear what the other person is saying if you are both talking at once. For it to be a conversation, you must take turns listening and talking to each other.
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)
Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)
- Follow the Master in Obedience. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left those of us who believe in Him a Counselor and a Comforter who lives within us—The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us, leads us, and urges us to do what the Master is calling us to do. He will not lead us to do anything that goes against God’s word. Therefore, we must learn what God’s word says so that we will not be confused or doubtful when the Spirit tells us what we are to do.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26 (NLT)
These are just a few of the verses from God’s word that speaks to who He is and how we might learn to hear Him in our own daily walk. I encourage you to delve deeper into His word and find out more ways to “walk with the Master” in your own life.