Get Out of the Kennel

LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Many years ago my family was blessed with the gift of a purebred Yellow Lab puppy. We chose the name Dakota Bigfoot for his registered name to celebrate our heritage and his massive paws. Dakota was the most rambunctious puppy of the litter. He could not be still, but needed to explore and investigate everything around him. And yet he longed to have people pay attention to him, so his running around brought him close enough for brief moments of snuggles.

When we got him home, I built a kennel into the workshop cabinets in the garage which I hoped would become his home during training. The first night in that cabinet, he destroyed it. When I came out to the garage in the morning he was running loose in the garage, making messes everywhere. I opened the garage door and he ran rampant around the yard and into the woods, exploring everything as quickly as was puppy possible. When he returned to me he settled into my arms as I sat on the ground. Ten seconds later he was off running again, returning frequently for a little lick-your-face time. It was obvious that his exploratory nature combined with his relational desires were powerful forces that would drive the remainder of his life.

Dakota’s nature was a picture of mine…and maybe yours. We want to explore life, yet we also want the security of relationships. But we have been deceived into believing that boundaries provide security. We have built kennels for ourselves and determined that certain explorations are off limits. Now before you misapply what I’m saying, I am NOT talking about sin. I am talking about personal choices we make based on what we believe will be best for us and accomplish our goal of personal security.

The boundaries we set for ourselves soon become bondage. This is especially true in our spiritual lives. The traditions of our religion restrict the liberties of God’s grace. The rules we establish to qualify our own value based on our obedience to them are a demonic blindness that affects us all. We have put ourselves into kennels, and every day we are seeking to destroy them because we recognize they are contrary the image of God in us.

Read carefully what Jesus said in John 10. Read His words in the context of the healing of the blind man and him being released from the bondage of legalism.

John 10:9-10  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

I will always have the picture of Dakota the puppy in my mind when I think about being set free and having abundant life. No more rules to obey to earn my relationship with Jesus. No more barriers to coming in and going out and finding pastures that satisfy my soul. No more kennels stealing life from me. In Christ I am free, and will live in freedom’s abundance.

How about you?

Pastor John

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