Leave It

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21 (NIV)

My family attended a two-week training camp to learn to work with our new seizure response dog. The dogs were already trained and knew ninety commands. We were the ones who needed the training. Instructors worked with each family showing them how to make the dogs respond to verbal commands given.

One of the most important commands is “leave it.” Many hazards dogs encounter can cause harm if they do not obey this critical command. When we pass a puddle of antifreeze in a parking lot… “Leave it.” As we pass an “unfriendly” dog in the park… “Leave it.”

To teach this command, trainers placed something enticing in front of the dog such as a toy or treat. Then they simply said… “Leave it.” The dogs, of course, still wanted and sometimes went for the treat. If they did, the trainer redirected them with words or physical restraint. Over time, the dogs would leave a treat placed right in front of their nose, simply because the command “leave it” was given. Obeying the words of their master became more important than the “thing” they wanted.

As soon as the dog’s gaze broke contact with the desired object and became focused on the master’s face instead, a reward was given. Sometimes the dog received the reward treat and the object or treat they were after in the first place.

Isn’t this often like our relationship with our Master? We encounter so many enticing things that would ultimately cause us harm, and He simply says, “Leave it.” When we learn to obey that command and change our focus from what we desire to Him, He promises great rewards. And sometimes He still gives us what we desired in the first place.

Lord, help me to hear Your voice and obey Your commands each day. I know my focus should continually be on You and what you desire for me. Thank you for giving me my heart’s desire when it is in line with Your will. Help me to set an example for my children to obey me, by obeying You.

6 Responses to Leave It
  1. Carol
    August 18, 2008 | 1:42 pm

    Great analogy! I love this!

  2. Andrea
    August 18, 2008 | 3:22 pm

    Amy, I needed to hear this today. This week will I will be striving to do just this.

  3. Tiffanie
    August 18, 2008 | 3:29 pm

    Nice analogy. Thanks for the reminder to seek God’s commands each day and to value His commands more than the “treats” in front of me.

  4. genny
    August 18, 2008 | 8:27 pm

    So true. This was great. Thanks.

  5. Beth (A Mom's Life)
    August 20, 2008 | 7:02 am

    “Obeying the words of their master became more important than the “thing” they wanted.”

    What a great line. So important for us as humans but oh, so hard to learn!

    Sorry to read that Spencer is having more seizures. Will keep him in my prayers.

  6. Becoming Me
    August 20, 2008 | 12:08 pm

    Wonderfully written and I love that analogy…so very true