Recently during an evening of family bible time we were discussing various ways one could increase in their desire for greater holiness. Many wonderful ideas were put forth, but one particular idea was discussed at length and then given as a challenge by the husband to each family member. It went something like this:
Day in and day out we see a million things with our physical eyes. Some things get casual glances while others demand long stares. What about using those everyday things and framing them with a spiritual or biblical application in order to help us be more spiritually minded? For example, we have an artificial tree adorned with white lights in our den. We see that tree everyday. But had anyone ever thought of coupling a spiritual connection with it? Not really. But once we stopped and thought about it it didn't take long to conceive of something biblical about it—the tree in the garden of Eden, the tree that held our Savior, the tree that awaits us in heaven. Easy.
So the leader of our home picked an object for each of us and challenged us to apply something biblical to said object. Guess what he picked for me? Our dog. What?! Those who know me know that while I do think Johnson is a good dog and that I even think he is pretty cute, sometimes I just kinda don't like him. He sheds....a lot. And, yes, sometimes he even gets sick, in our house, on the floor, and it's gross. Yeah. But the challenge was made. So to my trusty Bible app I went since nothing appropriate seemed to come to mind.
There are several passages in Scripture that mention dogs. God told Elijah to tell King Ahab that dogs were going to not only lick up his blood but they were also going to eat the body of Queen Jezebel, along with whoever else belonged to King Ahab (I Kings 21). Dogs licked the sores of Lazarus in Luke 16. Dogs are even likened to the assembly of the wicked in the Messianic prophecies of Psalm 22.
But none of these sufficed until I scrolled across Proverbs 26:11, "As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." Perfect! Especially since I've actually seen this happen. Yuck! So I shared this little gem with my family and very quickly our youngest asked, "But Mom, what's this verse mean for your life?" Good question son. I proceeded to explain that it means for me what it meant for Peter when he quoted it in II Peter 2:22. In regards to the false teachers who escaped the pollution of this world only to become entangled and overcome by it once again (verse 21), Peter says that it would have been better for them not to have ever known the way of righteousness because now they are like dogs returning to their vomit and like washed pigs wallowing once again in the mire.
Therefore, "beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked" (I Peter 3:17). That's what it means for my life. If I allow myself to get led away by false doctrine and fall, I am like a dog who returns to its vomit. Yuck!
So thank you Johnson. Though you oftentimes annoy me with your never ending supply of white dog hair and your occasional "gifts" left on our floor, you have helped impress a significant spiritual truth to our family: to return again to the pollution of this world is to be likened to your kind. And even though we think you're pretty cute and very smart, I prayerfully desire that no one in my family (physical and spiritual) will ever be like you, but that we would instead "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:18).