Canine experts know the characteristics of each dog breed, such as personality, temperament, and trainability. I was curious about this after dealing with my very stubborn dog and was surprised to learn that her breed is not among those considered to be difficult. I have come to believe that my yellow lab is a Siberian Husky or Dachshund in disguise, which are the top breeds for being stubborn. Georgia has a mind of her own and she doesn’t mind letting you know that.
In her case, it is a simple lack of desire to be obedient. I know that her high intelligence means she understands when I tell her not to take my shoe out in the backyard in the rain, but her lack of desire to obey me overrides her thinking and I end up with a soggy sneaker.
Aren’t we all like that? Few among us are ignorant of the behavior our Lord expects of us, yet we struggle to comply when something better comes along and tempts us away from God’s will. When the choice between self-denial and self-indulgence is offered, most of us move toward gratification very quickly. We aren’t helpless to comply, but we choose disobedience.
Isaiah 53:7 (Common English Bible)
He was oppressed and tormented,
but didn’t open his mouth.
Like a lamb being brought to slaughter,
like a ewe silent before her shearers,
he didn’t open his mouth.
In our brief, one-verse lesson today, we see a reference about the Suffering Servant being brought to the slaughter like a lamb and not raising her voice in protest. Reading this through our New Testament glasses, we’re reminded of Mark 15:2-5. Jesus stood before Pilate and chose not to respond. Verse 5 states that “Jesus gave no more answers, so that Pilate marveled” (Mark 15:5, Common English Bible).
He was never helpless as he walked toward his beating, sham trial, excruciating crucifixion, and death, but he elected to be obedient to his Father, who had put him on earth for this very purpose. Why? So that you and I might be saved. Never without options, he willingly suffered in place of his sheep so that the sheep might be saved. Jesus chose to be a sacrificial lamb who was in control of everything that happened.
If this isn’t a call to obedience, I don’t know what is. God desires that we submit to the plan, the purpose, and the calling that each one of us has received in the Body of Christ. Sometimes that means saying yes to something so far out of our comfort zone, we can’t imagine God is actually asking us to do that thing. But it is often in those far reaches of callings that we find out who we are while being reminded of Whose we are. The old cliché is true: God often isn’t looking for our ability, but rather our availability. When we are obedient, we become equipped. Are you struggling to obey?