I have a great dog. His name is Tucker. He's 5 years old and he's 1/2 Lab and 1/2 German Shepherd. Which means he's 85 lbs. of mixed blood fun and loyalty. Tucker loves riding in the truck and following me just about everywhere in the house or otherwise (and yes, I mean everywhere!). He is a very obedient dog and never causes problems. The only time he likes to be hard-headed and strong-willed is when it's time for me to leave the house. We live in the country. It's really hot right now and it's just better for him and us if he stays in the house. However, he's not going to miss the opportunity to ride in the truck, if one comes available.
So as I'm getting ready to leave the house, even if I tell him he's not going to ride (which he does understand), he still tries to dart through my legs and force the door open. Most of the time this ends with me getting in the car and him spending the day in the shade of the porch where it's only about 95 degrees as opposed to 100 in the scorching heat. But what I've noticed is when I'm leaving, if I can make him look me in the eyes and acknowledge me, he will stay when I tell him to "stay". You see, it was never about understanding what I wanted him to do. It was me forcing to acknowledge what I wanted him to do. And so this morning, instead of trying to cover the gap in the door with my legs, I got him to look at me with his big brown eyes and told him to "stay". And you know what? He did it! And then the clouds parted, light shown down from heaven, angel choirs were singing, and I could almost hear God say to me, "Now you know how I feel!"
Whether it is sin in which we continue to engage, or good things that we need to be doing but aren't, obedience to God starts with acknowledging who he is to us. Most of the time when I find myself not doing the things that God wants me to do, I find it's not that I don't know what he wants from me. It's that I choose to acknowledge his presence and place of authority in my life. When Tucker tries to dart out the door, it's not because he doesn't know what I want, it's because he hasn't been made to acknowledge who I am and what I want from him.
God has been known to get the attention of his people. From Moses and the burning bush, the calling of Samuel, Jonah's attempt to run from God, and even Paul on the road to Damascus, God has a way of forcing us to look up at him and say "You're God and I'm not." But one thing I've learned over the years is that life is much simpler when we acknowledge God before he has to get our attention in dramatic fashion. It's my hope and prayer that we will all see Him for who He is and not try to run out the door without giving him the respect he deserves.