“The man I’ll marry must be at least as good as my dog.” That is what the bumper sticker in front of me read.
It’s funny that someone would think that a dog could be the model for a good husband. That bumper sticker reveals two ideas: 1) Dogs are great, and 2) dealing with people can be very difficult.
Dogs give us so much love. I experienced this firsthand over the summer. My family and I welcomed Pudge, a black pug, into our home while his family was on vacation. Pudge became a loving and faithful companion. He integrated easily into our lives as we became his world. Maybe that’s why some people feel that dogs are better friends than humans: They give themselves completely to others.
Difficult relationships can make us feel that it’s impossible to truly walk in love, and we may lose hope. Yet Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). This presents us with a problem: We have a commandment to love, but it seems impossible to carry out.
What’s the solution?
First, we need to recognize that loving our neighbor requires faith. Andrew teaches in Living in the Balance between Grace and Faith that “personal relationships are the area of your life that will require the greatest faith.” Let’s think about that. A lot of people are learning to use their faith for finances, healing, salvation, etc. But at the same time, they are trying to love others through the arm of the flesh (their own personal effort). If we try to love through our own efforts, a dog’s love could surpass the love of a lot of people. We need God’s grace to love.
Grace is something God did for you prior to you having a need for it. It is faith in God’s grace that releases His power in a person. Everything [including the ability to love] is available by the grace of God, but there has to be a faith response on our part to receive what is available by grace. That’s how you enter into God’s rest, then you have ceased from your own efforts. It’s no longer you doing something to make God move. It’s you learning how to trust and rely on the grace God has given you.
This is great news! Realize that when you put your faith in God, it’s no longer you trying to love; it’s you relying on the truth that God has given you the grace to love, and you can receive that grace by faith. First Peter 1:22 says,“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (New International Version). Receive God’s grace to love others, and you will be blessed in your relationships—the dog will just be the icing on the cake!
Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching will help you to walk in love like never before. It’s available in many formats: CD series, DVD series, book, study guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has inspired you, please post a comment below.