Simon’s discovering his story on the pages of my book, Life Lessons from a Rescue Dog. I’m not sure he understands all the Kingdom principles, but he’s enjoying the pictures! My friends say he’s famous, but to look at him you’d never know it. He certainly doesn’t act like a celebrity.
Writing a book about someone’s life, even if it is a dog’s, has me thinking about my own life. If someone were to write a book about me, what would they say? Who am I—really? Who are you? Do our lives point folks toward Jesus or away from Him? Do we live to please ourselves or others, or to please the One?
Those questions define how we live our lives. They also matter because someone is always watching. You see, it’s easy to say, “Praise the Lord!” and look good at church. We can be all smiles when we’re on top of the mountain and all is going well, or we can put on our “Christian face” for an hour on Sunday. However, it’s how we act when we think no one’s watching that tells others who we REALLY are. Heart attitudes cannot be concealed indefinitely. Sooner or later they rise to the surface.
Solomon says it this way, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” When I’m hurt, am I quick to forgive? When I’m frustrated, am I quick to give grace? Do I carry a grudge? Do I brood over my problems? Am I one who encourages others or one who tears them down? Do people see Jesus in me, or something else? And just as importantly, am I the same in private as I am in public?
We’re all familiar with people who present themselves as having it all together in public. Facebook is filled with posts of good times: gourmet meals, exciting vacations, and smiling faces. I’ve never seen a personal post of someone’s cranky kids or the snippy words spoken over dinner (unless they’re posts about OTHER people). It’s the position of our hearts that truly speaks of who we are.
God wants to clean us from the inside out. If the inside is in balance, the outside will follow. Starting to clean up our act on the outside first will never succeed. Simply going to church (without having a relationship with God) will never change us.
Behavior doesn’t change our hearts. Our hearts change our behaviors. Without a heart change, our behavior can never be permanently modified. Being a Christ-follower is WHO I am. Once that’s established, everything I do (with the help of the Holy Spirit) will begin to flow from that foundation and be a reflection of the One I’m following.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not! Are you? No. Do we slip and fall? Of course. But if our hearts are right, when we get up and dust ourselves off, we’ll turn right back to the One Who loves us. We’re grounded and stable because we know to Whom we belong.
Simon doesn’t have a public and a private side. He has only one side: dog. He doesn’t pretend to be able to read or put on “airs” for company. He knows who he is and whose he is. He doesn’t care about what others think. He simply enjoys looking at the pictures.