Bucky, the Cernek's newest addition!
(Image courtesy of Jordan Cernek, 2015.)
My wife and I did something rather foolish a few weeks ago: we went to the animal shelter to look at puppies.  Now, we have a fourteen week old, black lab mix.  Needless to say, he is both cute and a chore.

From the moment we first saw this little puppy in his cage at the shelter, we knew
we were going to get him.  We went through the paperwork and within a few days were the owners of a puppy.  Very quickly, the reality of what we had just done set in.

However, I believe God is using this puppy to prepare us for the next season of life: children.  It is a great joy to play with this puppy, but he has also been teaching us patience, consistency, and what it means to "train up a child (or puppy in this case) in the way he should go."  If there is one thing we desire more for this puppy than anything it is steadfastness.  We want this puppy to learn obedience so that he will be a steady dog someday.

But it is a patient task to train a puppy.

There is nothing more maddening than when I let Bucky (our puppy) off the leash to play or go to the bathroom and he takes off.  What is even more maddening is when I call his name and he stops, turns around, looks straight at me, and then runs farther away.  This is not an obedient puppy.

A few days ago this exact scenario happened.  What made it worse was that it had just rained several inches the night before, leaving puddles all over the yard.  This only sent Bucky into an excited, wild frenzy as he ran from puddle to puddle and sprinted around trees in figure-eight patterns like a wild cheetah.  Trying to get his attention was like trying to talk to a neighbor in the middle of an air strike.  When I finally got him to stop, he did the exact same thing I just described: he looked straight at me and then took off.  He thought it was rather amusing, but when he came back a few minutes later, I let him know I didn't find it funny by giving him a swift, curt swat and putting him back on the leash.

It is amazing the correlations our spiritual lives have with our physical lives.  What we desire for our puppy is the exact same thing our God desires from us: steadfastness, trusted assurance that we will act obediently faithful.

2 Peter 1:5-7 says, "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."  God desires that we not be satisfied solely with our faith in God through Jesus, but that we add to this fountain.  We are to build up our faith with virtue which leads us to deeper knowledge, which leads us to control over our desires, which leads us to being steady, which leads us to god-likeness, which leads us to loving people and ultimately loving God.  This is God's desire for our lives.

On the other hand, in chapter 2, Peter speaks of false teachers that will "entice unsteady souls."  As a Christian, we must be set apart for God, that means to be steady in our beliefs, not chasing after what sounds good at the time - for many are the false teachers today that entice us with good feelings and things our ears want to hear.  But to the one who remains steadfast, to him will be granted life.

King David praised God for His steadfastness time and time again in the Psalms.  "For Your steadfast love is ever before my eyes..." (Psalm 26:3).  "Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love..." (Psalm 25:6).  "He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord" (Psalm 33:5).  To be steadfast is to be Godly.  In the end, it will produce love - the love of God which conquers all.

Just as we are training Bucky to be steadfast in his obedience, so must each of us Christians train ourselves to be steadfast (unwavering) in our beliefs through the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.

O Christian, do not waver from the truth.  Remain steadfast, as a solid mountain in a hurricane.