made new...

We recently got a dog, a golden retriever mix. His name is Jacks. Jacks has a bit of a sock obsession, whether they are clean or dirty, in pairs or singles, he simply cannot resist any of them. Time and time again I have had to discipline him when I find one in his mouth. Despite our efforts to train him and try to keep them out of reach, he always finds a way to snag one which results in me constantly yelling, “Jaaaacks, let it go, NOW!” Even still, he refuses to release them without a bit of force. Now, by that time, it's the silent treatment for him - “do not even look at me”. I think that hurts him the most.

Interestingly, lately I have noticed a change in Jacks’ behavior. Whenever he is holding a sock in his mouth, he begins to whimper, like he is in pain. This reaction does not occur with any other object, just socks - the very thing I have been trying to dissuade him of.

As strange as it may sound, I could not help to draw a parallel to struggles I encountered in my walk with the Lord. In moments when I have found myself returning to my old sins, the shame and guilt that follows is unbearable. You see, when we are made new our mind is renewed and our heart is now bent toward His. It's painful to disobey Him, whether it is indulging in gossip, criticizing others, being lazy, feeling discontent, or even struggling with doubt. The list of temptations that we face can seem endless, but as believers, we are no longer slaves to things of the world. We have been set free and set apart to be a beacon of hope to others. To be honest, at times that little light of mine is making an SOS signal. Help!

greatest miracle...

Sometimes when I face trials, it can be tempting to return to my old ways and seek comfort in what is familiar, to wallow in self pity and play the victim in my own story. However, this mindset is far from the freedom that I now have in Christ. Often the strongest fight is not with others but with the very person staring back at me in the mirror. I have to remind myself that I have the power to say, “no” to me. The greatest miracle I have ever experienced is the transformation that God has made in my heart - from a heart of stone to one that is now flesh and sensitive to His. The Bible teaches us that we were once spiritually dead in our sins, enslaved to the desires and lusts of the flesh, and wanting only to satisfy the power of darkness. Though that was part of my story, it is no longer my identity and does not pertain to my future. I am made new. Praise God for the pain experienced in those moments when tempted to go back - often it stops me right in my tracks.

written on every page...

I am not perfect by any means and often I have failed Him, like Jacks you can find me whimpering when I have a sock in my mouth. Yet, everyday He gives us new mercies with the opportunity to confess and turn away from the sin which separates us from Him and hinders the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. His pursuit for us is unrelentless, a love story written on every page of The Bible, one that is not based on our own merit or worthiness, but on His steadfast love for us. How can it be that He loved a wretch like me? Before I was born, He knew me and chose me. When I was lost, He endured my behavior and followed me into pitfalls. And there, when all hope seemed lost, He lifted my eyes towards Him. With open arms He called me to Himself revealing to me that at every turn He was there - no greater love have I ever known. 

molding us...

This story was not just about a dog that loved socks, but about how God allowed me to see - using this moment and this dog with a random sock obsession, the battle we face with sin and temptation in our lives - in my life. God, in His love for us, disciplines us as a desire for our well being, forcing us to remember that through the power of Christ, we have the strength to resist temptation and live in freedom and joy. At every step of the way He is molding us into the people He created us to be; oftentimes it is a hurt-so-good type of pain. This was also a reminder of the unconditional love that our Heavenly Father has for us. Even in our moments of weakness and struggle His love for us is unchanging. So, I’m reminded to rely on Him, lean into His grace, and trust in His unfailing love.

As for Jacks? Well, I understand that he may continue to struggle with his sock obsession. He is a dog. However, I cannot help but love him even more deeply when I think of him hurting over the things that he knows causes me to GRRR! His sensitivity to my feelings and desire to please me, despite his struggles speaks to his loyalty and love for me. I think I’ll keep him. =P

scripture references...

Ephesians 4:22-24 - "to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."

Romans 6:6-7 - "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin."

1 Corinthians 10:13 - "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

1 Peter 2:9 - "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

Galatians 5:1 - "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Psalm 139:23-24 - "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"

Photos by Cate Autumn Photography. Headshot provided by Letty.


Letty is BDJ's Publisher and Editor in Chief. She is a wife, mother and Bible student who loves to read and write. Letty is passionate about facilitating and speaking to others about all things Bible. Her greatest desire is to grow in Christlikeness through the meditation of His Word and the practice of His commands. Letty desires all women and children to be filled with the knowledge of God, that we would all grown in spiritual maturity resulting in love for one another and together bring glory to our Lord.

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