MAN'S VEST FRIEND.
The New York City Police Department uses trained dogs to search buildings before police officers enter. Special video cameras are strapped to the dogs so that police can see if any dangerous people are inside a building before they go in.
But the dogs sometimes get shot. So not long ago someone in the police department came up with an idea. Thirteen police dogs were outfitted with bulletproof vests similar to the vests the police officers wear-except these vests were designed for dogs. Each vest weighs between six and seven pounds. The vests can be very warm and heavy for a dog, but the police officers who train and use the dogs hope the new vests will save the lives of their four-footed friends.
Do you think they might be wondering, Why do I have to put up with this burden? [pant, pant] None of my doggie friends have to wear heavy, hot vests.
Do you think the dogs might want to say, Why are you humans always trying to make things harder for us dogs? [pant, pant, pant] Why can't we just do what we want? Why do you weigh us down with tight, restrictive things?
Who knows? Maybe that's what the dogs are thinking. But, of course, we know that those bulletproof vests are very light burdens compared to the protection they offer. If those dogs could possibly know that wearing those heavy vests could save their lives, they would certainly choose the vest.
Sometimes Christian kids feel like those dogs. That doesn't mean you pant like a dog or smell like a dog (no matter what your older sister says). It just means that sometimes we feel like God's commands are burdensome. We might think that it would be nicer if we just didn't have to worry about making right choices.
But just as those police officers put heavy, confining vests on their dogs for a reason, God has given his commands for a reason. His commands are given to protect us, not to weigh us down. God's commands work like a bulletproof vest; the good they do far outweighs the effort they require. (See Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:17.)
So if you ever feel like God's commands are sort of a burden, remember that his commands protect you like a bulletproof vest. They will not only protect you from many injuries, they may even save your life.
REFLECT: Do you ever feel like God's commands are a burden? Do you ever think it might be nicer if you didn't have to worry about making right choices? Why or why not? According to today's Bible reading, what would your sinful nature result in if you didn't obey God's commands? What will turning from your sinful nature and its evil deeds get you? Which choice do you think is better?
PRAY: "Father, sometimes it does seem hard to follow your commands. But please help me to always remember that whatever I may go through now is nothing compared to the blessings of following you."