M o n k ’ s   M e s s a g e
Freedom Through Obedience

The Bible says that we are to lean not on our own understanding, but that we are to trust in the Lord. Well, the same is true for our dogs. When you point a champion dog into a given direction and say “back” he doesn’t question your motive or your judgment. He just obeys in joy and goes until you ask him to stop. This is often critical in a hunting situation because it is not uncommon for the dog to be looking in the wrong direction when the bird falls. In that situation you must be able to just point in any given direction and say “back” and your dog must be willing to go. It is not a natural thing for a dog to go out with confidence to retrieve something that he has not seen fall. It is such a joy to have a wonderful servant willing to put me first and I have often wondered if God looks at us the same way.

So, how do we train the dog to go away from us (in a straight line) and towards something that he doesn’t even know is there? Here is one way to do it. Start by placing a large number of white bumpers in a pile for him to retrieve. Place the bumpers next to a very large and visible white bucket. Then step back a few feet and tell him to fetch or just point to the bumpers and say “back”. When he gets one bumper and returns with it, get excited about his victory. Then just back up a few more yards and repeat the process. Each time the dog is rewarded for going away from you (in a straight line), finding a bumper and returning with it. Continue backing away from the bucket until you are satisfied with the distance. Repeat this drill as often as it takes until your dog realizes that when you say “back” there is something out there. Eventually, remove the white bucket, and even move the pile of bumpers to another location, and start over. It is amazing how far and straight they will run. Always remember the teaching cycle. Teach, train, and test with a smile.

So, why is this working? It works because you are slowly building your dog’s confidence in a TRUTH. A truth that says you (his master) know more, see more, and understand more than he does. You have a greater knowledge as to what is in the unknown. Why teach him this? So that when the real test in life comes, he will not lean on his own understanding but trust in the one that knows best; his master. Besides, in doing so he separates himself from all the other self serving dogs.

Our own lives are similar. We also must learn to not lean on our own understanding but to trust and obey the word of God. So here is my advice to you old friend. Stop and learn what you are teaching and just back go “back” from temptation in a straight line as fast as you can. It is only there in your faith that you will find what you cannot see. Perhaps it is not so strange that the Bible tells us IT IS FAITH that will set us free.

P.S. Monk says to tell you that, “The more he learned to stay, the more he got to go.”

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